Gizzards, Kidneys and Balls…For Vegans

I’m not entirely vegetarian. I still eat seafood regularly and poultry occasionally. And I’m not one of those judgmental asshats that sits at a table with carnivores and silently judges them or does the whole, “Do you even know what you’re eating?!” thing. If you’re vegan, good for you. If you’re a carnivore, go for it. I get it. Bacon is delicious. What I find puzzling is the whole fake-meat-disguised-as-meat phenomenon. It’s like fat free butter or fake fur – it just feels weird. Why would anyone who has omitted animals from their diet have any desire to consume tofu shaped into an animal?

OK, I’ll be entirely honest — the realistic turkey — I have a compulsion to buy one the next time I’m home (it’s from a restaurant/tofu manufacturer in LA called Vinh Loi), just out of morbid curiosity. So I started poking around and came across a whole world of fake meat that I never even knew existed. Vegetarian offal:

Like vegetarian gizzards.

(Photo:Vegetarian World Foods)

Vegetarian intestines!


Or kidneys.

And my personal favorite, swallow balls. While looking for pictures of swallow balls, I saw things that I can never, ever un-see.

Maybe it’s because I don’t find actual offal appealing – but faux intestines just do not get my mouth watering. In any case a little more digging suggested that the non-meat-masquerading-as-meat situation was a result of ancient Buddhist tradition. I have no idea if this is true. But I’m still having a hard time with the picture of the intestines on the plate on the front of the veggie intestines bag – I keep coming back to the intestines. How is that appealing?! “Here – have a plate of intestines! With some wine!”

So the next time you need vegetarian offal to complete that vegetarian recipe you’re cooking up, you’re covered. And if you make swallow balls anytime soon, please – save me some.

(Ttop Photo: Quarry Girl)

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  • erica December 12, 2011  

    ok, personally, i don’t need anything shaped like meat, and the more meat-like it is, the less likely i am to touch it. as if real meat weren’t unappetizing enough (for some of us), beans and gluten shaped into replicas of it are infinitely more disgusting to behold. however, there are many vegetarians that love meat and miss it, and we do eat with our eyes, so this stuff is for those guys. um, and gals.

  • I don’t mind faux meat so much as faux intestines, that I would NEVER EVER consume! I do eat veggie meat occasionally, like when I am at a carnivore’s house and they wanted to make the same thing for me but without the meat. It’s usually easier for them to just change one ingredient in a dish. It’s not that I don’t like meat, it’s that I don’t find it ethically right to kill a living creature when there’s no need to. Therefore, I would try this tofu turkey, but since it does look realistic, it’s a little off putting. boca burgers, I’m more comfortable around 😉

  • Nicky December 12, 2011  

    The “turkey” photo just makes me laugh. There’s something so odd about it. Being s vegetarian for 15+ years I can honestly say it’s not something I have even considered trying. Vegetarian options can be much more flavorful when they aren’t being masked as meat options minus the meat.

  • Ali Macaluso December 13, 2011  

    for the love of god I will never understand this either!! Should we shape broccoli and spinach into a T-bone for those anti veggie people now?

  • Sarah November 16, 2015  

    you’re right about the buddhist thing. tibetan monks etc eat lots of super realistic simulated meat, often made of gluten – look up ‘mock duck’ and stuff. Realistic simulated meat products are common in asian (chinese) shops – not sure why, i think its something to do with the importance of food in eastern culture. the offal and stuff is the same – we asians love weird bits of animal, and food is such a big deal in the culture that even if you’re a vegetarian monk, you ain’t gonna miss out on your intestines mister!

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