People are creatures of habit. We simply do not like change. McDonald’s was the first chain restaurant to popularize hamburgers, and nothing much has changed after their first store opening in 1955. Nothing has changed because who doesn’t like a beef patty perfectly cooked and charred right off your home grill? I like cheese too, but I digress. Yes, there have been some imitations of a beef hamburger, but veggie hamburgers have not come close to satisfying meat lovers. Most veggie hamburgers taste like…. blah. Well, blah may turn into mmm after recent discoveries at Impossible Foods.
Patrick Brown of Impossible Foods is a biochemist at Stanford who set out on a mission to change the environmental impact of meat production by creating a meatless hamburger. Beef production has raised some concern about its long term sustainability and harmful environmental impact. Estimates show that it takes 7.5 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef. That’s a lot of grain. Producing large amounts of grain is taxing on soil and the water supply. There is more to the sustainability of beef, but let’s refocus on Dr. Brown’s potentially ground breaking meatless hamburger.
Brown and select chefs set out to create a hamburger made without beef. This is certainly a tall task as many veggie burgers have come and gone. Thus the challenge was to make a hamburger that would satisfy beef lovers, not just vegans.
The Impossible Foods hamburger needed to match many of the components of a beef burger. Beef patties when cooked correctly form a nice crust on the outside while also being juicy. The texture and the smell of the hamburger had to mimic the beef patty. The biggest obstacle was to create the beef hamburger’s umani flavor. Umani (oo-mam-ee) is the unique flavor you get from beef. Brown was able to create umani from a plant based heme which delivers oxygen to red blood cells and gives blood it’s red coloring. After many years, Brown has debuted his meatless hamburger to the public.
Early reviews are positive. People say the Impossible Burger tastes and smells like a regular beef patty, but it’s slightly different. Reviews can be read here and here. Unfortunately the Impossible Burger is only available in select cities, but I’ll be sure to try it out once it travels down south. Here is a video of the Impossible Burger in action.
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