Editor’s note: Check out the Fall 2020 Update
So I love burgers. I really love burgers. I love trying new places that are known for burgers. I love making burgers. I’ve loved them for as long as I’ve been eating. not only do they taste good, but the trigger a powerful sense of nostalgia. There’s probably some kind dopamine release involed as well becasue eating a good burger really does make me happy.
The problem is that they aren’t exactly healthy. They aren’t bad for you the way cotton candy is. We aren’t talking about empty calories or nutritionless fat and sugar. But as someone who is managing cholesterol and bad fat intake, hamburger alternatives is something I tinker with.
After some experiementation I’ve notice that it doesn’t have to be a real burger (as in ground beef and cheese) to trigger nostalgia and happiness. A good fish burger and even the best veggie burgers work! A lousy veggie burger doesn’t though (as in cheap stuff in the frozen foods aisle)
Aside from fish burgers, my favorite non-meat burger options (update: in 2018) are the Impossible burger (limited geographic distribution currently) and Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger. Both use plant based magic to get well into the delicious, nostalgic happy zone for me.
Unlike a beef/pork/lamb based ground burger, I don’t have to worry about my cholesterol. Products like these really make me feel like I’m living in the future.
You can roughly devide plant burgers into two styles:
Veggie patties are usually based on black beans, beets or even grains. They are intended to mimic the shape, but not necessarily the taste or flavor or texture of meat.
Meat Imitation burgers are relatively new (as in 2010s). They are intended to actually be as close to meat as possible, as in close your eyes or do blind taste test and you can’t tell the difference. They usually come about by analyzing the chemical and flavor components of ground beef and replicating that with plant based alternatives.
This post was originally drafted as a twitter thread.