I’ve always been a healthy eater of dead animals. There is just a satisfaction you get from eating a chicken or a pig that makes me happy. It’s probably why I’ve always had a problem with my weight, and it’s certainly why I was resistant to give up my usual habits for a month and try living a healthier lifestyle at the behest of my Cooking Comrade. She and her Husband are both vegans!
She asked me a very simple question at the beginning of the experience, “Is there any food that you love that you’d like me to try and veganize?”
I love Fried Chicken. I mean… for a period of about 2 years, it was probably the only food I ate. I’ve probably consumed more of those little birds than all of the coyotes of North America, combined. I told her such.
It was after a couple of weeks of cheating my way through the trial diet that she announced that she was preparing some friend chicken-ish food for dinner. Do not underestimate the amount of skeptical I was. I knew that she could get the flavors down pretty well. After all a week or so before we had some Buffalo Tofu that hit the flavors perfectly, but the textures were a little off.
She wasn’t making tofu this time, though, she was making something STRANGE and EXCITING. To this moment, my best description of it is still, food playdough. What I’m talking about is apparently a miracle of kitchen engineering called Seitan.
Seitan (Prounounced SAY-tahn, like a southerner pronouncing Belial) is basically wheat gluten. We can thank our Chinese friends for its existence, since it was invented by ancient Bhuddist monks under a direct edict from some sort of divine dragon spirit, or something. They call it Kofo, meaning, “It can turn into anything, so eat this and be able to enter bullet time.”
In the US, we should probably refer to this as McSubstance, but its usually called Wheat Meat.
She mixed the flavors and rolled the seitan into rolls and stuck it in the oven. I cackled with glee that we’d soon be eating playdough, something I swear I never ever tried as a child…. ever, and waited. The smells wafting through the kitchen sure smelled like chicken, and peering through the little light in the stove, it was beginning to look like chicken.
As my stomach began to make gurgle noises and my moth began to salivate more than Hooch, it was finally ready.
Served up and delivered on a plate, along with the disclaimer, “Bare with me, I’m not very experienced with seitan yet, it might not have the texture just right,” it was pretty awesome. I devoured it. Then, I devoured a couple more… and the next day, I devoured the left overs and remorsed that there was none left.
It tasted like baked chicken. It had the texture of baked chicken. If I hand’t held the food playdough in my hands, I’m not sure I could have told that it wasn’t baked chicken. Of course, it wasn’t fried, but I’m not really supposed to be eating fried food anyway, but it satisfied me.
And now, my body betrays me. I crave vegetarian foods. I had the chance today to go and get some lunch at Wendy’s. Spicy chicken nuggets for a dollar, gotta love that! I was on my way, and instead went home. I didn’t know it until I got there, but what my body was craving, was spinach, hummus, and some chopped up tiny red bell peppers wrapped in a tortilla.
Stupid body, betraying me to hippism.
I don’t think I could ever fully give up meat, dairy, or eggs, but, I know that I can eat some of my favorite foods in a way that is a lot healthier, now. That’s a step towards a healthier, better me.
Plus, it can be shaped like anything…. I’m already plotting out what accessories to eat on my seitan head. 🙂