Is this faux chicken or the real deal? New motto: if a carnivore can’t tell, then I’m not telling. (Well, of course I’ll tell you… )
My sister-in-law, Trish, is my new hero! She’s been trying to incorporate a few vegetarian meals into her family’s weekly lineup, but according to Trish, her husband is “harder to please than John since he’s not very open-minded.” Faced with this dilemma, Trish resorted to an ingenious deception: without telling her family, she used Trader Joe’s “Beefless Beef” in their taco dinner. Much to our mutual shock, it escaped detection! Holy guacamole, these are Philly cheesesteak eaters! And they didn’t notice a thing!
That got me to wondering: do carnivores freak out about fake meat because of their preconceived notions about it? The only way to test this theory was to try it out on my carnisaur. So off I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up their “Chicken-less Strips” and sneak them into a saucy dish in which John normally has real chicken.
Since I’m still trying to ease him into this whole veg thing without freaking him out (or worse: risk him declaring an “all-meat diet”), every four days or so I make him a meal with chicken. Last night was his chicken night and he was really looking forward to it. So tricking him with he Chicken-less strips made me very nervous because if he figured out that I’d swapped in a fake, much bitching would ensue and he’d poke at every future meal and forevermore ask “are you trying to slip me some weird tofu thing?” That fate must be avoided at all costs, so yeah, my hands were shaking a bit.
But then a miracle happened: before I had a chance to put the “Chicken-less Strips” in the sauce, our cat Mango jumped up on the counter (bad kitty!) and started snacking on the fake chicken (good kitty!) I couldn’t believe my eyes. Right then and there I knew that this boded very well for my impending deception. I mean, c’mon, cats are genetically hardwired to be carnivorous and they have a sense of smell that’s infinitely more acute than humans, and Mango couldn’t tell that this was faux chicken! Well hallelujah! And so I tossed it in the sauce without a second thought and tossed out all my nervous concerns (well, except the one about whether or not I mistakenly tossed in the strip that Mango had just licked.) But I did double-check the package to make sure that it was indeed fake chicken, and yep, it is! It’s quite healthy too, with 20 grams of protein in just nine little strips and it’s made from real and recognizable ingredients.
The verdict: John didn’t realize he ate fake chicken! He even said: “Awesome dinner, baby. Thanks for my chicken!”
Thanks for the inspiration, Trish!