Bulk Organic Coconut Date Rolls from Whole Foods Market
Submitted by Sylvia Irizarry

Now that I’m basically 30 (in 1.8 years, give or take) I’ve started to do things that I would never normally do but know I should do, like wash my face and actually buy toothbrushes instead of waiting for my mom to visit. I also made and (for the most part) kept a diet resolution. Yeah, I’m talking about the dreaded that which shall not be named. The one that lasts 30 days and you eat a whole lot of bologna, except not actually because there is no way that bologna is compliant. Or is it? Anyway, my taste buds may or may not have been recalibrated.

Having said that, the coconut date rolls from Whole Foods are probably, no definitely, the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. Sure they look like turds that took a tumble on your aunt’s white shag carpet, but they evoke the same divine euphoria as a chocolate caramel tart that melts in your mouth at all of the right moments. That is if I am correctly remembering what a chocolate caramel tart feels like. It’s been so long. Maybe I’m thinking of something else?

The date rolls are a bit on the mushy side, but it’s a type of mush I’ve learned to savor. Pre-diet me abhorred the sensation of coconut flakes, but 2018 me is here for that papery texture. One is typically more than enough, but if you’re feeling a bit on the wild side and, let’s say, take a yogalates class even though you’ve never worked out in your life and said class takes your legs out of commission for two days, go ahead and grab one more date roll. After all, it won’t kill you.

Oh, and I checked: some bologna is, in fact, compliant — happy feasting!

- - -

Wahlburgers’ Impossible Burger
Submitted by JoJo Franzen

Nature, red in tooth and claw and leghemoglobin, a genetically modified soy protein grown in yeast and said to be the meatiest of meat alternatives. As Lord Tennyson pondered the violence of Darwin’s theory of natural selection, I ponder the Impossible Burger.

The Impossible Burger is a plant-derived burger containing the secret ingredient “heme” — that’s hip corporate slang for yeast-grown leghemoglobin — meant to mimic the experience of eating a burger. Specifically, a standard beef burger: ground from dead cow flesh and formed into patties. But the Impossible Burger is not merely evocative of the disc shape of a beef burger, like your bean-based veggie burgers or your marinated portabella caps. The “heme”-filled burger exists to satisfy those of us who want to taste and feel blood and power — and lower our carbon footprint.

I had the Impossible Burger at a Wahlburgers on the Las Vegas Strip. I first realized that Wahlburgers was a project of the Wahlberg brothers when a man wearing St. Patrick’s Day novelty attire at 1:00 p.m. on a Wednesday (weeks before St. Patrick’s Day) shouted outside the restaurant, “Is Marky Mark there? Where’s Mark?” He continued down the Strip before finding out that Mark was absent.

When I ordered the Impossible Burger, the server asked how I wanted it cooked. No one asks that when you order a bean burger. I had it cooked medium because I wanted to see the pink inside — to find out if I could trick my reptilian brain into believing that I was feeding it the flesh that it still equates with power (despite my attempts to try to tell it otherwise). With the Impossible Burger, I hoped I could keep my shrunken dino brain happy and avoid the guilt of methane-emitting cow farts, big brown calf eyes, and a Sarah McLachlan soundtrack.

The Impossible Burger was, in fact, meatier than any non-meat product I had ever eaten. The edges were crispy, the inside was juicy, and the flavor was a tasty umami. But, despite its fleshiness, the “heme” didn’t quite satisfy my bloodlust.

Maybe a beef burger is satisfying because it is the culinary signal of not giving a fuck about global warming, animal welfare, saturated fat, and the gender norms that would have me order salad. And I can’t feel the power of not giving a fuck, if the blood isn’t blood, but rather yeast-grown leghemoglobin. Eating an Impossible Burger is shouting from the rooftops I care a lot about a lot of things and I’m willing to pay almost $20 because I care so much!

And why is the Impossible Burger served at Wahlburgers? It seems a bit off-brand for a restaurant that serves a triple-decker burger made of a proprietary blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck. The Impossible Burger is not a creation of Mark Wahlberg (or Paul or Donnie), and it is served in restaurants other than Wahlburgers. But I think the Wahlbergs, or at least Mark’s abs circa 1992, understand how to profit from our human desire for flesh. The Impossible Burger is an attempt at a new way.

I enjoyed my Impossible Burger (served with Wahl sauce). But for me, flesh still demands blood.