By Staff Writer Eric Sousa
As I waited in the drive through at Burger King, I could see the Wendy’s sign across the street. It felt as if Wendy was looking at me judgmentally, like I was cheating on her. “How could you?” Her giant, freckled expression started towards me accusingly. “How could you ruin the beautiful thing we had?”
I turned my attention, and my heart, back to the King. I was not here for personal preference Today, I was here for science. Today I would go where I’ve never gone before; to get a fast food version of a fully vegan hamburger. Today, in the name of discovery and carnivorous perspective, I took on the Impossible Burger.
I have been delaying the Impossible Burger for a very long time. The recent culinary phenomenon of fully vegetarian beef, from the company Impossible Foods, has been sweeping taste buds for a while now. It made the claim to taste, cook, even sear like your standard from-the-cow beef.
The magical ingredient that separates these burger doppelgängers from their real-meat alternatives is a special iron-containing molecule called heme. This ‘heme’ is something any meat eater has consumed a thousand times before; the redness and blood from red meat is attributed to heme. This key protein can be created from sources apart from beef; this particular one is derived from the majestic legume. (We owe you one, legumes) The inclusion of this key ingredient into the major protein supposedly makes all the difference in the world.
The protein that makes up the Impossible Whopper is leghemoglobin, derived from soybeans. Under a microscope, you would have a hard time telling them apart… even if you know what to look for. With the inclusion of heme, which is responsible for the other meat qualities not normally found in soybean, the protein is molecularly similar to beef. But the real question is does the protein Taste similar to beef?
Like any proper scientist would tell you, the first thing you should do with a Whopper is to separate the layers and display them like test samples. This is hard to do on your passenger seat, but scientists make do with what they have. But really, this was just to scrutinize the Impossible Burger. It seemed… I mean, it seemed like a beef patty. It did not have the texture of a veggie burger, but of a standard, juicy, fresh off the grill burger. Hell, it even had desirable char marks.
However, there is no test like the taste test. I reconstructed the Whopper to its original specifications. If anything, I rearranged it better; your welcome, Burger King. Next time don’t put the pickle precariously on the edge of the bun. It’s not, like, a (italics) big deal (/italics) , but it’s just reckless.
Anyways, I took a bite. I have to say, the first impressions of the burger-taste went over very well. It tasted nearly identical to the Whoppers I’ve had in my past. This came as a relief; I’m not normally a big fan of veggie burgers, but my editor is. I didn’t want to disappoint him with bad news. (Let the record show that section editor James Mellen is a huge baby who will cry if Eric gives the burger a bad review).
So here’s the good news; it definitely walks the walk and talks the talk of a burger. Is it the best burger I’ve ever had? No. If I had to have a criticism, I’d say it had the texture of a patty that was mildly over handled. But considering the fact they pulled the biggest burger heist off in history, I’d call that nitpicking.
The Impossible Burger has experienced a dramatic rise in popularity. As of August 8th, full-veggie full-real burger has been available at Burger Kings nation-wide. It only costs a dollar more than the real-meat burger, so it’s not even really priced lucratively. It is, for all intents and purposes, a decent burger.
So if you’re a vegetarian and you want to feel that classic American shame of eating a burger way too late at night, the King is ready for you to have it your way.