August 25, 2009
Lightlife Smart Ground, first try
The first product I tested was Lightlife Smart Ground. I was using it to make tacos, which is slightly cheating, because one would assume that the boldness of the taco seasoning would overwhelm any weird flavors in the fake meat. This was desirable for my first attempt. Plus, tacos are awesome.
To prepare the fake meat, I tossed it in a skillet, broke up the big blob of ... product. I have to admit, I was a little trepidatious. This was the test run for the actual taco date with the pescetarians, so I wanted it to go well. This stuff looked weird. Once I got it broken up into crumbles, though, it did kind of look like meat. I applied heat, and got it all warm. (no actual cooking required - a bonus for some people) I sprinkled on the taco seasoning, and stirred in however much water it called for, 2/3 cup maybe? It thickened immediately. It was freakishly fast, probably because it was already hot. I had one other thing to finish up before the tacos were ready to eat, so I let the seasoned fake meat sit on the heat for a little while to let the flavors meld. That was a mistake. When I came back to it maybe a minute or two later, it was burned. Oops. We used it anyway, since it was only burned a little bit on the bottom - I quickly scraped it out of the hot pan and into a bowl to prevent any further burning.
Texture - distressingly mushy
Flavor - despite the taco seasoning, there was a pervasive sweetness that was pretty unpleasant
My roommate ate it, not knowing it was fake meat, and when the deceit was revealed to him afterward, he said he thought it tasted funny. I thought it was kind of awful, and made plans to change my technique for taco date night a few days hence.
Interesting note: over the next couple days, as I ate the leftovers, the texture (and to some extent, the flavor) of the fake meat improved. This gave me hope for future attempts.
Final grade for this attempt: C