Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Went to dinner last Friday night with a Vegan friend. Went to one of her favorite Vegan restaurants.

I enjoy the trips. The food is always very good and totally affordable.

We had this dish with fake "chicken" in it. It was good, and the "chicken" was certainly pretty passable, for flavor and consistency. It was like 80% of the real chicken experience. For not being real chicken, I was impressed.

My friend explained it's an ancient Buddhist art, perfected over centuries, of creating fake meat from wheat gluten. Or some other plant-derived substance that sounds technical and bland.

I wondered: How do the Buddhist monks know they've done a good job? How do they know their technique is improving? Who does quality control?

Head monk: Ah, very good, grasshopper. This tastes very much how I imagine chicken would taste.

Do you get non-Buddhist carnivores to test it for you? Do you meditate and try to develop compassion for the chicken, and thus come to know what it would taste like?

Monk: Having meditated on the nature of what it is to be a chicken, I know that I would be most delicious with garlic and rosemary, and then slow roasted. Or fried and crispy.

I think I could be a vegetarian. But I like cheese too much to be vegan. And I need milk on my cereal. And I like eggs. And bacon.