One of my doctors recently told me to reduce the amount of meat in my diet. At least, I think that’s what she said. I was too busy laughing and speed-dialing Morton’s. (Table for one, Porterhouse for two) I wonder if I have a hearing problem instead. I may not listen to people with medical degrees or the impending, irregular beat of my heart, but if there’s anything I pay heed to, it’s good packaging, which explains why, at 12:35 in the afternoon, clad in nary but a windbreaker and a pair of Lycra shorts, I intentionally sought out and purchased an entire package of Upton’s Naturals Chorizo Seitan.Pause for a moment. Breathe.
Yup, it’s seitan. But the joke was on me. While I was going ga-ga over moustachioed packaging and earth tones, I forgot to do my research- any research, actually, because if I had, I would have known that seitan is gluten disguised as meat. Oops. Five naps and one long-term relationship with a bottle of Tums later, I emerged victorious and pleased with textured vegetable protein, despite its Sleeping Beauty effect. This is one of the better examples I’ve had- erring toward dry rather than overly mushy imitations of fat, and dosed with a clever hand of spices, ranging from ground guajillo pepper to Mexican oregano.I prepared it in two ways- one dry, over a fried egg and some diced plantain alongside beans, and one wet, doused with a little bit of chicken broth, hot sauce, and tomato paste over a sliced avocado. It wasn’t bad. It lacked the unctuous chew of real chorizo, tasting more like heavily seasoned ground beef or chicken cooked to oblivion, but it passed to the extent that any vegetable protein does. For me, the convenience and quality doesn’t outweight the health irritation it brings, but I imagine it would have a welcome home in any vegetarian or meat loving hipster’s refrigerator. For me, it’ll be next to the brie, two shelves down from the turkey bacon. Tant pis, live large.This post is dedicated to the late, great Clarissa “I would have no objection eating badgers,” Dickson Wright, who would have likely detested seitan. What a gal.