My school offers no vegetarian options and never has. Vegetarian kids just don't eat lunch, as being from very low socioeconomic families most can't bring their own food. Some get the pizza, drooling with grease, and peel off the circles of pig meat before eating it. (One girl a few years back got the burger every day, pealed off the patty and went around to everyone in my open classroom asking each kid, "want some flesh? want some flesh?" until someone would finally accept it -- every single school day of that year.)
But earlier this year, our vegetarian valedictorian bought a packaged burrito from the student store. "Mr. Solomon, I read the ingredients and there isn't any meat, but I'd swear there's meat in here." Looking at the ingredients with him I found TVP and explained what that was. It wasn't sold as a veggie burrito, they just used TVP instead of meat because it was readily available. And just yesterday, they served veggie chick'n stips in the cafeteria. Again, it wasn't served as a vegetarian choice, but rather because it was readily available. I'm not sure if it was vegan, but my students insisted I taste it, and it was pretty darn good.
Because there are more and more vegetarians and vegans, these products are being mass produced in greater and greater numbers. They are making their way into the mainstream food supply and pushing us ever closer to that all important tipping point.
And finally, a special shout-out to Lauren, VO's unbelievable designer / researcher!
(An explanation of this image is in the 1998 entry of the VO History.)