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How To Dupe A Meat-eater

Can meat-eaters be tricked into liking vegan sausage? Maybe! Megan McArdle passes along some intriguing evidence:

The clever experiment went like this: a large group of people were given a "human values" test which seeks to measure fifty six different values (loyalty, ambition, social order, etc.) Then, the subjects were asked to rate a variety of sausages. People who scored high on "social authority" - they believed it was important to support people in power - tended to label the "vegetarian" sausage as inferior, even when the vegetarian sausage was actually from a cow.

Likewise, people who scored low on "social power values" tended to score the vegan sausage much higher than the beef sausage, even when they were actually eating meat. Instead of judging the food product on its merits, they ended up preferring the product that more closely conformed to their value system. …

This research conforms to a growing body of evidence suggesting that our gustatory preferences are an incredibly subjective thing.

I'll swear by the ever-so-masculine Boca bratwurst, myself. Alas, not all vegan meats are created equal: It seems that you can't fool many carnivores with a soy hot dog, which, based on experience, seems about right—those things are awful and a cruel aberration in the otherwise quite-pleasant world of fake meats.

P.S. Okay, this random post seems as good a spot as any to link to Bacon Salt, which can apparently make anything taste like bacon (even vegan bacon—or, hell, broccoli). On its endorsements page I note that the National Review calls bacon salt an "epoch shattering invention," and, while no one at TNR has yet tried it, I'm sure some sort of bipartisan agreement can be worked out here.

--Bradford Plumer