Quorn Sucks Ass

(first world vegetarian problems?)

Yes, I am a vegetarian, and have been for a staggering eight days now; I didn’t want to declare it on the first of January because I think this is an important lifestyle choice, one defined by action (or inaction, as in the case of not eating meat) rather than declaration. While it’s easy to label yourself a fan of Bowling For Soup without liking their songs beyond Girl All The Bad Guys Want, Punk Rock 101 and High School Never ends, as I do, pretentious ethical bullshit like this is rather more important; I’m a vegetarian because I am, not because I claim to be. But this hasn’t helped my parents who, with me still not having moved back to uni, are now cooking for two pretentious idealists in the house (my sister has also taken up vegetarianism), which kinda ruins their plans of them and us eating each other’s leftovers when they’re eating meat most days.

So the solution has been Quorn, a brand of supposedly chicken-flavoured cubes that include no meat, which have the interesting characteristic of tasting of nothing yet being awfully unpleasant, and have managed to ruin an otherwise lovely stir-fry.

But it’s not their taste that annoys me the most – life is full of things that aren’t perfect, so get over it – it’s more the concept. Firstly, the idea that vegetarianism is an absence, a wilful method of self-restraint and denial, which it might be on a practical level, but isn’t (for me anyway) on an ideological level – I’m not a vegetarian because I want to limit myself or because I’m a Puritan or some frakking thing. So the implication of vegetarian meat products is that vegetarians are poor, deprived creatures, that instead of approaching their decision as a stimulant to learn to cook with and eat different things (peppers and chilli on cheese toast is wonderful), they are approaching it as a form of deprivation, a loss of chicken that can only be made up for by (apparently) more chicken.

My other problem is that the existence of non-meat meat products (because even the name of these things makes no sense) suggests that life requires the consumption of meat on some intrinsic level, and if a few Rise Against fans and Lisa Simpson admirers want to deviate from that it’s fine, as long as there’s an easy route back to mainstream meat-consumption, one that doesn’t even interfere with their crappy beliefs! Personally, I didn’t think tonight’s stir-fry needed the Quorn – the peppers, garlic, ginger, rice and sweet & sour sauce was enough for me – but it was thrown in anyway, because there are certain things humans can’t be doing without, whatever their silly opinions about them. That stir-fry was even made by a former vegetarian, suggesting that the whole ‘meat is the norm’ thing is hardwired into us, or is at least marketed at us so relentlessly in Christmas adverts that we can’t conceive of an alternative.

Obviously, humans are biologically omnivorous (why I’ve not started the vegetarian thing until now), so there must be a certain part of us that is predisposed to eating meat – I don’t refuse to go to Subway or McDonald’s because of being a vegetarian, for instance, I just get cookies and fries – but the fact that vegetarianism exists as a thing means that predisposition can’t be powerful enough to override conscious choices made on the subject; I’ll eat meat if my life depended on it, but that fallback position doesn’t mean I want to eat a whole cow every day.

So screw you, Quorn; you’re not needed, you’re audacious to assume you’re needed, and you taste like shit anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go eat a carrot, or whatever else vegetarians ‘do’.

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12 thoughts on “Quorn Sucks Ass

  1. I am not a vegetarian but I love a lot of meals that don’t have meat or non-meat in them. I think it’s silly that we assume that all meals must include some sort of “meat” even if said meat is a processed counterfeit that is neither healthy nor appetizing.

    1. When I moved out I realised the standard template for meals my parents had been using – a carb like rice alongside a protein like meat – wasn’t, like, the only way of making food. I don’t think my parents have realised this, so they’re just putting Quorn nonsense into the ‘meat’ slot which is rather unhelpful – it’s good to know someone else gets this (I was afraid I was assuming my life is representative of all humanity. Again).

      1. My sister is a vegan who doesn’t eat fake meat outside of the occasional tempeh (because it’s delicious) and I’m an omnivore that mainly eats at home, doesn’t cook meat and never eats fake meat outside of tempeh (I love it).

        I eat things like lentil soup, spicy beans and rice, egg salad on crackers, veggie stir-fry, omelettes and fried plantains with guacamole. It’s just normal in my life at this point. My dad on the other hand is exactly like your parents.

        1. Is tempeh a Tunja thing then? I’ve not heard of it :/

          And tbf my parents did live in post-student poverty for like twenty years and didn’t eat for any of that time, so I don’t blame them for being relatively rigid with meals – it’s better than nothing. Also baked beans and melted cheese is the best thing a human can eat, I have found.

          1. Tempeh is a fermented soy product that I cannot seem to find here. Maybe it’s just an American vegetarian/vegan thing. I’m not sure. Knowing us, it probably comes from another culture.

            Also, I spent a week in Wales/England and their idea of a baked potato changed my world. Stuffing a baked potato with baked beans is brilliant.

            1. I was never a fan of jacket potatoes, but now that I appreciate the wonder of baked beans and cheese I can only imagine what wonders there will be if a spud is added to the mix.

              And Americans stealing from another culture? Pff, when has that ever happened?

            2. I also make twice baked potatoes that have cheese, mushrooms and onions in them. So wonderful and cheap (which is a must with my budget).

              Us stealing from other people? It’s not like our whole country is based on that or something.

            3. That happens to me too, so I logically try to write essays and stories whenever that happens. They often come out cynical and poorly-structured, but there are always a few weird, redeeming points somewhere or other.

              Meanwhile I have ten weeks’ experience!

  2. Please explain to me how to make a vegatarian chilli without Quorn mince, or Bolegnese… People throw the “you shouldn’t want pretend chciken/mince/sausages if you don’t eat meat” thing at me all the time, and it’s so dumb. I like sausages. My only problem with sausages is that something had to die for me to eat them. If that problem is removed… then I go back to eating sausages.

    1. I think that’s a fairly fundamental characteristic of sausages, dude. And yes, that argument sucks – my parents stopped being vegetarians because they liked bacon too much, not because they suddenly had an ethical change of heart.

      The chili thing involves no ‘making’ btw. I meant an actual chili pepper, lobbed haphazardly in the general direction of a stir-fry. That’s the extent of my cooking ability.

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