Fake Meat Fridays

The young miss adheres to a strict vegan diet. Perhaps not the strictest, as she occasionally cooks with fake meat, a vegetable product that has the texture and flavor of meat. I asked her once if this is viewed by some vegans as a violation of their ethics, eating something reminiscent of meat.

She said some do see it that way. If I were a vegan, I would tend to see it that way. I like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and pulses. I also know about protein sources outside of the animal kingdom. If I were avoiding animal products for moral reasons, I think I would shy away from things that look like meatballs, chicken nuggets, and burgers.

Then there’s jackfruit, the plant that produces something that actually looks and feels like shredded meat, but that’s another story.

I’ve seen social media discussions the past few days about eating fake meat on Fridays. Why not roll up to your enlightened fast food service microphone and ask for an impossible burger? I’ve tasted them. They are yummy, like a lot of processed foods.

One priest pontificated that sure, you can eat fake meat on a Lenten Friday, but that violates the “spirit” of the season. Another person said likewise to lobster bisque.

My sense of abstinence would be to turn the experience into a positive. Just breakfast on whole grains with nut milk, lunch on rice and beans and a simple salad, snack on fruit, and sip a cup of vegetable soup for dinner. No animals. Minimal to no dairy. Small portions. No excuses when dining out. Maybe excise alcohol from the drink list too. That’s a real challenge on Fridays, I would bet.

The point of Lent seems less to shift from steak to salmon, or wings to cheese pizza, but to make a thoughtful decision to unite oneself to the person of Christ. Diet isn’t the only way to do it. But it can be one way.

Thinking positive about a Lenten observance might help. Climbing stairs instead of using an elevator. Walking to a colleague’s desk instead of e-mailing from the other side of the building. Parking some empty spaces from s storefront or mall entrance. Letting someone cut in line on the road.

However, if a cooked mini-globe of soy is a big comedown from a greasy burger, go for it.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Fake Meat Fridays

  1. Liam says:

    To me, this is an illustration of how human nature abhors a vacuum. Pace popular imagination, the Roman church’s current canonical laws on fasting and abstinence are minimalist, with a fair degree of latitude, and considerable concession for need.

    Great Lakes region Friday fish fries can comply with the letter of that law easily, and they are merely descendants of centuries of human culture turning ascetic practices into something that can be loved (behold Eastern Christian Lenten recipe books for another example of that). While it took centuries for the Roman church to build Lenten discipline up, particularly within the arena (deliberate word choice there) of monasteries, one might say that most of the Second Millennium was an exercise in paring back monastic athletic rules for application to laity in the world.

    My late parents in their 80s to early 90s dearly looked forward to Wendy’s Lenten fish sandwich (only available during Western Lent), the best in the nationwide fast food business by far, and it was a delight to procure it for them if I visited on a Lenten Friday; a very fond memory, along with having mushroom pizza for Christmas Eve when I was growing up.

    A certain birthday of mine having transpired this past weekend, I am no longer bound canonically to fasting as such. The Lenten practice I’ve gradually adopted in the past 5-10 years has grown on me because its sufficiently boring and mundane that it wouldn’t invite anyone else’s interest. (Like feasting, fasting ought to be done *together* and without a lot of discussion because the culture would just be passed down, but when that is not feasible, one has to adapt to the situation on the ground.)

  2. Pingback: Fake Meat Fridays — Catholic Sensibility – yazım'yazgısı (typography)

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