Mock Up

Neat, a natural meat alternative, was created two years ago by Phil and Laura Lapp, who were looking for a healthy, animal-free protein to satisfy their two vegetarian daughters. | Photo courtesy neat

Local companies produce fresh, responsibly made meat substitutes

The average American consumes nearly 200 pounds of meat in a year. While we can’t say for certain that vegetarians put away an equal amount of tofu and seitan, the meat-eschewing set is still eating an impressive amount of animal-free proteins on an annual basis: in 2011, sales of tofu reached $255 million and sales of meat alternatives totaled $622 million, reports the Soyfoods Association of North America.

We frequently tout the importance of locally and responsibly raised meats, but what about mock meat? Are vegetarians and vegans doomed to buying blocks of tofu shipped across the continent? As it turns out, there are a number of companies in the region producing fresh, cruelty-free and responsibly made meat substitutes.

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Food: Minus the Moo - Fire up the Weber, it's burger season

Though i’m not a vegetarian, summertime piques my partiality for grill-ready burgers created from beans (or lentils), grains and vegetables. The trick to a homemade veggie burger that won’t fall to pieces on the barbecue is a simple three-step process: cook, chill and grill. This means that the night (or morning) before, you make the burger mix, brown the patties in a skillet and then chill to set. These can also be made in larger batches and frozen—handy for spontaneous types. Since bean burgers appreciate a bit of sauce for extra flavor and moisture, whip up two of my favorite toppers to really gild this legume lily.

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A Farewell to Pork... and Beef… and Chicken…


The last time was a pork sandwich, with greens, from the local pizza shop. The sandwich arrived soggy with grease; the pork, a glum gray; the broccoli rabe limp and lifeless. It was, for all intents, a waste of my 10 bucks. That was a Friday. April 8. I’d come home from work feeling tired, hungry and very out of shape. My girlfriend was having drinks with some friends, so I collapsed on the couch, flipped on Netflix, picked up the phone … and ordered the sandwich.

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Review: Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer has flirted with vegetarianism his entire life. Despite questioning the morality and cultural history of eating meat since childhood, the 32-year-old author of the popular novels Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close wavered between omnivore and vegetarian for years until he became a father.
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Bánh-ding Experience: Grid traverses the city, sampling the vegetarian take on a Vietnamese staple

I should start this piece by disclosing some bias: I have Fu-Wah’s number saved in my cell phone. I use it for ordering takeout tofu hoagies—the timing is perfect if I dial right as I’m leaving my apartment. I have eaten at least a hundred from the beloved corner market in West Philly, and loved every one of them.
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