I have a lot of mixed feelings about this product. I first found out about it from a friend. She told me that Grant Street Grocery carried it. Honestly, I was in disbelief. I decided to go check it out, and sure enough, they had it. I knew that I had to try it, just to see what it was like. I also knew I would get a ton of questions about it.
First of all, I think that it’s important to know a little background about the Impossible Burger. The burger is made from a combination of wheat protein, potato protein, and coconut oil. The main flavor comes from heme. It is a molecule that makes meat have the distinct flavor that it does. Heme is found in plants, but not in as high quantities. The people at Impossible Foods figured out that if they mix a heme-containing protein from the roots of soy plants with an engineered yeast, it produces an abundance of heme. There was a lot of research that went into this product, which made me feel like I was eating more of a science experiment than a vegan burger. It is also really controversial among vegans because in the initial stages, the product was tested on animals. That meaty flavor heme was tested on lab rats. That being said, the burger is certified 100% vegan, but it is not cruelty free. That isn’t necessarily an issue for people who are vegan for health and environment reasons, but as an ethical vegan, eating it made me extremely uncomfortable.
While I was at Grant Street Grocery, I was kind of confused because they patties were in the meat case (disgusting), and just the label “IMPOSSIBLE” was showing. I didn’t see any of the burgers until I asked. I just got two and they vacuum sealed them for me. I was kind of freaked out since the raw burger itself was pretty bloody looking. I had worked with the Beyond Burger before and it also made me incredibly nervous. Just having a product that is so similar to meat really freaked me out.
When I was ready to cook the burgers, I opened up the package and tried to smell them, halfway through my first sniff, I had to stop. It smelled so bad, I didn’t think that I’d be able to handle it. It smelled incredibly realistic to me, but I haven’t intentionally smelled raw meat in over eight years. Regardless, it grossed me out. I didn’t really touch the patty because I was afraid to. I slapped the burger patties in the pan using the paper, since I was too grossed out to touch them. I cooked them for an extra long time on each side because I was also afraid to eat them with a little pink in the middle. The process of cooking the burger, made my kitchen smell terrible. The scent lingered and smelled very meaty. The outer part got really brown and crispy, which was nice. I decided to top my burger with a piece of Follow Your Heart cheese, mustard, tomatoes, and spinach.
After cutting the burger in half to make sure it was cooked, it was time for the taste test. As I explained in the preparation of the burger there was a lot of fear going into the taste test. I tried a little of the crispy bit off of the edge. It wasn’t too bad so I decided it was alright to try. It was really meaty. I haven’t had meat in years, but from what I remember, I felt like it tasted very realistic. I cooked it pretty dry, so it wasn’t too juicy, which helped me. Once I got to the middle, I got a bite that was really juicy. The texture of the less cooked (probably medium-well???) part was so disgusting. It was too much for me. Honestly, it made me gag and instantly nauseous. I had a super hard time finishing the burger after that point. I think I’m still in shock about it. It was too juicy and meaty smelling for me.
This product is definitely more geared towards the person trying to eat less meat who eats a lot of meat, or the new vegan. I would definitely prefer a good bean and mushroom burger over this. Between the flavor, texture, and background testing, I just don’t think that I will have this burger again. It was worth a try, and it is definitely in high demand. It has become very popular across the country, but it just isn’t for me.