For the most part, I have not missed industrial meats, not even bacon or that amazing Columbia salami we buy in bulk at Costco. I owe my success largely to the abundance of Hood Canal beaches. It’s hard to feel deprived while enjoying some of the world’s finest oysters and clams, not to mention the killer steelhead from the Kalama. I mean, I’m not starving, or eating road kill, or trapping squirrels. Although, I’ve thought about the squirrel as stew after reading an article recommended by writer friend, Kathleen Alcala.
The truth is, I don’t need the squirrel or the road kills because the shoreline provides my very favorite proteins. But I will admit, I’m getting a little too comfortable with all the digging and harvesting. It sounds horrible, but I'm looking forward to upping the tension of the kiling spree.
Food events, like the Super Bowl, do pose some problems. Our community football feasts have always been meat heavy, and this year was no exception. Chicken wings, sausages, little smokies, burgers, and pork ribs are mainstays. Chips, guacamole and salsa are welcome, but no one brings the veggie tray.
The good news is that there are so many vegetarian options to take the place of traditional meat fare. Veggie burgers, tofu dogs, veggie corn dogs, faux chicki-nuggets, and even texturized-vegetable protein hot wings may be found in the frozen food section and sometimes the produce isle. The bad news is that these substitutions taste nothing like the meat item they are supposed to replace. The secret to enjoying these replacements is to NOT think of them as a replacement. Do not think of a hamburger while eating a veggie burger. Do not envision a bratwurst while chomping into a spongy tofu dog. You’ll be deeply disappointed.
As kind of a joke, my husband picked me up a package of pretend hot wings. I’ll admit to being a skeptic. Soy protein shaped into flat drumsticks soaked in hot sauce barely resembled true hot wings. The color was right, as was the smell, but the shape was silly. Not wanting to be the laughing stock of the party, I left my wings at home for a little post-game celebration.
After the game, I fried the drummettes in a pan as directed, cracked a beer, and enjoyed. They tasted nothing like chicken wings, and nothing like chicken nuggets. In fact, there is nothing chickeny about texturized-vegetable protein. It tastes like soy, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Soy protein, buffalo sauce, and beer tasted pretty damn good together. I'll eat them again, but what I really need to do is hunt small game. I wonder what buffalo squirrel tastes like...