Thursday, November 10, 2011

Give People What They Want

I have tried a few fake-meat and also fake-dairy products and they all were terrible! I hate to waste my money on something that goes in the trash, so I was wondering if you could share the product brands that you like best and actually taste good. I know everyone is different, but you may have tried a lot of different brands over the years and determined which you like best.

Thanks for writing!

Unfortunately, a lot of vegan products are concerned first and foremost with being what someone considers to be optimally "healthy," which leads them to taste lousy (especially to someone used to the standard American diet). But a problem I have with judging new products is that I went vegan over 20 years ago; so for decades, I've judged products not against meat and dairy, but against older vegan products.

So it isn't surprising that I've heard from new vegans who hate products I love, and love products I've always thought were terrible.

First, I'd probably suggest Gimme Lean, both sausage and ground beef. I know people who have fed their meat-eating family GL without telling them (e.g., as tacos), and they never knew the difference. And my very non-vegetarian Dad will buy the sausage for himself, which is really saying something!

Another universal winner, in my experience, are Tofurky Deli Slices. I haven't had all flavors, but I haven't met anyone who disliked them. Not as widely tested but also almost universally loved are Field Roast sausages, especially Apple-Sage flavor. (The only person who doesn't like those is Anne, because they are too meat-like for her; she prefers Tofurky Italian Sausages.) Other Field Roast products are generally considered very good.

I have made many holiday meals with homemade seitan and gravy (using the seitan recipe on our site) that have pleased many meat-eaters (and been judged better than the Tofurky holiday roast).

Gardein products are generally, but not universally, loved. We've eaten many, many, many Boca burgers here, and find Gardein's Ultimate Beefless Burger to be well above it (but not as cheap, especially if you get Boca from Costco).

We eat loads of meals with Trader Joe's Chicken-less and Beef-less strips -- enchiladas, teriyaki stir-fry, curries, etc. That is probably the single item we eat the most.

As for non-dairy, we generally get whatever almond milk is on sale at the grocery store, and Silk chocolate soy milk for Anne's coffee. I think Silk's soy milk is very good, too. There's a huge variety, sweetened and not, "regular" and vanilla, etc. (I can't say I'm all that "up" on the latest non-dairy drinks.)

See this page too. Hope this helps!