Making Vegan Big Macs / “Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism.”
Celebrate some baffling American-style food ideals this holiday weekend: Eating large quantities of poor quality, industrially processed food!
All sarcasm aside, war was the catalyst for a shift and food manufacturing in the United States. One of our first processed foods was created in 1941 to help soldiers enjoy candy without getting their fingers sticky (M&M’s, of course). General Mills’ Maxwell House instant coffee had been first shipped to soldiers for many years before being made available to the general public in 1945. And it was Big Brother himself that created new guidelines for fortifying foods to offset nutritional deficits in 1943. A move that continues to confuse those who presume a box of fortified Lucky Charms truly is as healthful as a whole food source of the same vitamins and minerals.
From there, automation and bulk output meant a lot of product to sell, on the cheap. And boom, a basic human need tuns into Big Business. And good ol’ American capitalism warps the definition of food so drastically that a world of pain and systematic slaughter is nothing compared to the comforts, the normalcy of that food—the food of our youth, the food of our family, the food of our country. But at what cost? With the masses’ indelible allegiance to not knowing or caring about what they eat, disgusting processes perpetuate that kill billions of animals annually. And human animals die from diet-related illness (Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, to name just a few). And yet, still, within new, hopeful shifts of consumer demand, people continue to be more discerning about the shoes on their feet than the food that becomes part of their body. And I’m the weirdo.
I understand the power of food nostalgia. Resisting the food ideals instilled early in my life is a daily process. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult. You just have to care… and continue to remember that you care. And in that caring you seek and find ways to honor where you came from while keeping your values. And that feels really good. Then, later, you stomach hurts. Like when I made these vegan Big Macs.
• 2 patties per Big Mac: store-bought or homemade. I chose the latter as the characteristics of good patties are ripe in my mind from my Burger Battle.) Criticisms on my patty: not enough seasoning, should have pan-fried it than grilled it as it needed a good dosing of fat. I like making things myself. But maybe you want to try them ridiculous beet juice blood-oozing Beyond Meat burgers that recently caused an uproar on the interwebs.
• Special sauce: I made mayo from scratch, which is so darn easy I wonder why anyone would buy a jar of vegan mayo in the store. I mixed that with equal parts natural ketchup. Perfecto!
• Iceberg lettuce: chopped well, Big Mac style
• Chao Cheese: I didn’t add this, but would understand it if you did.
• Dill pickles: I used Woodstock Kosher sliced dill pickles
• White onion, diced finely and sauteed till translucent
• Arnold Select Sandwich Rolls with Sesame Seeds.
For some odd reason, this product does does not appear on the list of Arnold’s products on their website. Though PeTa‘s website calls the packaged bread “accidentally” vegan, other sources claim that most Monoglycerides in processed food have animal origin. But then the Vegetarian Resource Guide calls it “typically vegan.” This is what is so frustrating about how bad our industrialized food system is. Ingredients are such a darn mystery! Anyway, this unnaturally soft bun is confusing if you’re used to real bread. But this is a Big Mac we’re making. Remember to add a inner bun using the bottom of a second set.
Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Reduced Iron, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Soybean Oil, Sesame Seeds, Salt, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Grain Vinegar, Monoglycerides, Calcium Sulfate, DATEM and/or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Iodate, Soy Flour.
The end result is a freakin’ Big Mac. With no need to stand in line for hours in Toronto. The poor quality food you crave, now in your kitchen.
And there’s my mayo.