Yesterday, I was bopping around the internet, reading about foods like I do, when an article on "avoiding fake food" caught my eye. The piece, it turns out, was not about shunning Velveeta but about how to avoid paying for "red snapper" that is actually some other, cheaper fish.
It was an interesting article, and you should go read it, but it got me thinking about the words "fake" and "real" as they apply to food. "Eat real food" is popular diet advice, with "real" being code for "unprocessed." However, I know of a lot of unprocessed food that I consider to be "fake." Take the zoodle, for instance. Zucchini, no matter what its shape, is not pasta, and it never will be. Zoodles are fake noodles, but apparently "real food." It's all very confusing.
I like a lot of "fake" food, and it's all fake in different ways. Just because something is pretending to be something else doesn't mean it's any less delicious.
When I was a child, my mother was very concerned about my sisters and me "getting enough protein." Well, I've always been a bit of a carnivore, so I wasn't the main focus, but one of my sisters went through a phase during which she pretty much refused to eat anything but fruit, and it really stressed my mom out.
Anyway, in order to keep her children protein'd-up, my mom kept a lot of "convenient" meats around, like lunch meat and krab. I loved both of those things, and I still love that fake crab. It's pretty good in a rice bowl with some seaweed salad mixed in.
I'm talking about pasteurized cheese products and spreads. I'm talking about Kraft Singles and blocks of Velveeta. I'm talking about bright orange stuff that comes in an aerosol can, and I love it all.
Different Fake Cheese
In what scientists are calling "very surprising," I am in love with an expensive vegan cheese substitute made with fermented cashews. It is savory. It is creamy. It is slightly funky and totally addicting.
Whatever the Heck Soy Curls Are
I don't really know how to describe soy curls; I just know that I love them in my burrito. I'm sure they're supposed to be a kind of fake meat of some kind, but I don't know which one. I guess I don't care.
Have you heard the good news about soyrizo? Like soy curls above, it makes a damn good burrito, and Trader Joe's sells a pretty good one.
Sour Patch Kids
Not actually made out of children.
That Fake Banana Ice Cream
Some would argue that the Pinterest sensation known as "banana ice cream" that swept the nation is more "real" (a.k.a. "less processed/healthier") than actual ice cream, but that would be splitting some very annoying hairs. That being said, I actually love this chocolatey frozen banana puree, even though it is a lie masquerading as the world's most perfect food.
Fake Food That Isn't Edible Even a Little
In addition to actual food, I have been known to enjoy food-shaped things that are not actually edible. I have a little stuffed doughnut that hangs out in my office, and I really want a purse shaped like french fries.
What are your favorite "fake" foods, and how do you define "fakeness"? Where do you stand on fake cheese? Sub-question: Have you ever had "mock apple pie"? I haven't, but I am intrigued.