Plant-based alternatives aren’t impossible

Kristin Boyles, Asst. Op/Ed

After a recent push in promoting the consumption of plant-based proteins, Burger King released the Impossible Whopper which – they claim – tastes exactly like the original.
As someone who certainly isn’t a vegetarian, but also hasn’t eaten beef in years, I’ll admit, I was intrigued by this new sandwich when I first saw the commercials. How could “a patty made from plants” taste like beef? I didn’t understand. So I took the liberty of Googling some facts about the Impossible Whopper.

In fact, it’s not some sort of plant or soy that supposedly make the taste similar to that of beef – it is a chemical.
I didn’t really bother to do much more reading than that. It’s not like it really matters: fast food is fried and processed garbage, but most people eat it anyway.
Regardless of that, I’ve always preferred the taste of turkey or veggie patties over beef.
Beef in any form – ground, patty, in a lasagna, meatball, steak – has always tasted like it is . . . metal-y.
And not to mention, the texture freaked me out, especially in regards to ground beef.
It is mealy and has a strange grit that I did not enjoy. I could barely choke it down when my mother forced me to eat it as a young teenager.
Why am I saying all of this? Because supposedly the Impossible Whopper tastes like beef, but I wanted to find out for myself. Finally, I took the initiative.
I’ll admit, when my Impossible Whopper arrived in this strikingly colorful, turquoise-and-white striped wrapper, I thought it was just too cute.
It looked like something that was going to taste better than what I had been imagining.
When I pulled out the sandwich, it looked as smooshed and grim as any other fast food item. I was determined, though.
I needed to try this sandwich. The first bite was better than I expected.
The Impossible Whopper comes with mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. I opted to add cheese.
When I first bit into this sandwich, I wasn’t transported back to my childhood where I spent hours at the dinner table, sulking as I tried to shove beef down my throat.
Although plenty of people have insisted that the Impossible Whopper is nearly indistinguishable from the original Whopper, I found this to be a bit of a stretch.
At first, I maybe thought the taste resembled that of beef, but I quickly cast this initial judgment aside.
Check one for me. Anything that doesn’t taste beefy is something I’m willing to try.
As I continued to eat, my next thought was about texture. Did this patty resemble that of the typical ground-beef? Again, I’d say no.
While yes, the signature charred/burned edges of the patty resembled what a beef patty is like, I’d say that the Impossible had a similar texture to any other non-beef patty, such as a veggie or turkey burger.
Honestly, I was not repulsed by this sandwich. Granted, I haven’t eaten beef in probably five or more years, so maybe I just forgot what it tastes like. But I don’t think I have.
I’m pretty sure that the Impossible Whopper tastes less like beef than one might imagine. Unless the condiments somehow masked the beefy taste so many others swear-by.
When I tried this sandwich, two of my family members also ordered their own. Each said that it tasted extremely similar to the regular sandwich.
One even said that she wouldn’t have known the difference if no one told her.
None of this makes sense to me. How can they think that this sandwich tastes exactly like beef, while I think it doesn’t? I have no idea, although I think perspective has a little to do with it.
If you go in expecting the taste of beef, that’s probably what you’ll find.
Is this sandwich worth the money? I’d say yes. Not because I particularly enjoy fast food, because I don’t.
Rather, I think that plant-based alternatives are something we absolutely need to support. The meat industry has a hold over our consumption, and it’s about time that hold came to an end.
If Burger King and Impossible Foods can somehow play a part in that, then by all means, head to your local BK, order an Impossible Whopper with all the fixin’s, and relish in a taste that is just as good as any other burger.

Kristin is a junior English major and is the Assistant Opinions editor for The Voice.