Meatless Meat? I tried the Impossible Burger.

Image via Impossible Foods

A few weeks ago I started seeing ads for Impossible Foods on Hulu. I’m deep into a binge of Lost (you know I love binging tv series – here are 9 TV shows to binge watch now) so it felt like every episode for days I was seeing this same colorful ad, featuring cheeseburgers. It was making me crave a cheeseburger. If you’ve seen this ad, very few details are provided for what Impossible Foods actually was. Something with cheeseburgers apparently.

Eventually I got curious and googled them. Turns out Impossible Foods is the company that makes the Impossible Burger, a burger made entirely of plant products but that allegedly looks and tastes like meat. I was instantly intrigued.

I did not become a vegetarian because I hate cheeseburgers (here’s why I became a vegetarian and here are 6 reasons why I am still a vegetarian). In fact, they’re probably the food I miss the most (here are the foods I eat when I really miss meat).

So a burger that tastes exactly like beef but isn’t? Well I wanted to get my hands on that. Impossible Foods site features a locator that allows you to find restaurants that sell the Impossible Burger. It’s sold at two locations in center city Philadelphia – Village Whiskey and Bareburger. It was not hard to convince N that we needed to go to a burger place for dinner.

Since we have a baby, we rolled in to Bareburger for a nice 4:30pm dinner. I’m always worried we’ll be the jerks with a screaming baby in a restaurant and won’t be able to get out fast enough. I didn’t want to be those people.

Cut to our burgers being served. Mine looked so much like beef that I worried N and I had gotten our burgers switched. That’s the thing about the Impossible Burger – it makes you distrust your waitress. Careful examination led us to believe that I did in fact have the correct burger. So I took a bite.

Impossible Burger from Bareburger

It tasted shockingly like meat. So much so that I put it down and attempted to confirm again that our waitress didn’t switch our burgers. It tasted so much like meat that I was suspicious. I pretty much remained suspicious throughout the entire meal. It’s like your brain doesn’t want to believe it. The vegetarian in me was like “Stop! Stop! It’s meat!”

N, a meat eater, tried a bite. He thought it tasted somewhat like meat but not exactly. After years of no meat, most fake meats taste like meat to me. It’s like your palette loses the ability to tell the difference. The only giveaway to me was that the texture was slightly spongier than ground beef. Aside from that, it looked, smelled, and tasted like meat. Crazy stuff.

I did a little reading once I got home and found that the Impossible Burger is a bit controversial and has sparked concerns that food producers have found a way to bypass the FDA when adding new ingredients to food items. The Impossible Burger contains soy Leghemoglobin, an ingredient that the FDA has not confirmed is safe. The burger is a product of genetically modified ingredients. If you want to learn more about the controversy about the Impossible Burger and it’s ingredients, check out this article by the New York Times or this one from Wired.

Naturally, I didn’t read any of this controversy until after I’d eaten it. Oh well. I probably would have tried it either way. Is it weird to eat a remarkably engineered food? Yes. It makes you wonder what food will look like, where it will come from, in the future. But did it totally hit the spot and quell that cheeseburger craving? Absolutely.

So I won’t be eating an Impossible Burger every day but I’ll definitely enjoy one here and there, as cravings strike.

Have you heard about or tried the Impossible Burger? What do you think?

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