The Public Eye

printed 12/10/2021

What people eat, or whatever diet they choose to follow is their business, as far as I’m concerned. If someone believes that it’s good for them and the planet to eat a bowl of sugar-free pine cones, topped with a sprinkling of moss scraped off the side of a Mongolian outhouse, or believes that roadkill ‘possum is best if lightly sauteed with just a hint of rosemary, I’m fine with that.

But don’t confuse me with all this faux food that’s making its way onto our grocery store shelves in packages that say it’s one thing when it isn’t that at all.

And in that regard, I give you “Plant-Based Chicken Pot Pie” in a grocery store near you. Let me be clear: there is no such thing as “plant-based chicken.” Nor, as it happens, is there any such thing as “Plant-Based Beef Pot Pie,” which I also saw on the frozen food shelf in a grocery store near me.

The only thing I wanted when I went into this store was a regular, flaky-crust-on-top, pop-it-in-the-microwave, brown-in-oven-if-desired chicken pot pie. But no.

All I could find was two stacks of “Plant-Based Chicken Pot Pies” (and faux beef pot pies) lying in wait for some unsuspecting shopper like me to scoop one up, take it home, heat it up and say, “Hey, where’s the *&!@)_$# chicken?”

And then rummage through the trash for the container it came in only to discover after the fact that I had been hosed by the “chicken not pie” industry.

Look, I get it that the vegan set, with whom I have no quarrel, want things that taste like food they used to eat, but won’t eat now for one reason or another. But let’s straighten out this naming business.

I know, for instance, that the dairy industry continues to protest the label “Almond Milk” on the grounds that milk is a dairy product and nuts aren’t properly equipped for delivering that sort of thing.

They’re wrong, of course, as there is coconut milk, not to mention milkweed, which these days could refer to milk drawn from cows that wandered into the wrong field in Colorado or some other marijuana-legal state and refused to leave because they were especially contented.

Regardless, there’s no getting around the subterfuge perpetrated on society by the marketers who insist that plant-based chicken is a thing, although if it is, it’s probably the same sort of chicken that laid the non-eggs that are contained in “Egg-Free Eggnog.”

That’s on the shelves too these days, although it is clearly a contradiction in terms. To put it more bluntly, if it ain’t got eggs, it can’t be egg nog. It’s just nog. Or they could call it Not-Nog, or Egg-less Nog, but not “Egg-free Eggnog.”

All I can say is that I support truth in labeling so I know what I’m getting. In the meantime, I’m urging Congress to write some kind of law that makes clear that a poultry plant is not what chickens are made of.

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