(Ben Green) #1

38 Time December 2–9, 2019

meant being stuck with vegetables
and rice.
During World War I, it was even seen
as patriotic. A 1918 article from the Chi-
cago Daily Tribune, headlined Have
You ever DineD upon THe mock
TurkeY, highlighted the alternative
meat options of the day, as the Council
of National Defense promoted vegetari-
anism as a means of rationing meat.

Today, meaTless dieTs are far
from radical. Senator Cory Booker, a
Democratic presidential candidate, is
a proud vegan. Dunkin’ Donuts and
Burger King feature meatless sausages
and burgers. The wide availability and
improving taste of meat alternatives,
especially Impossible Foods and
Beyond Meat products, make going
much easier.
But Americans
may not be ready
to skip meat at
since the holiday
and turkey are
so intertwined.
Alexander Hamilton
reportedly once
said, “No citizen
of the U.S. shall
refrain from turkey
on Thanksgiving
Day,” and every
year, the U.S.
President marks
that tradition by
pardoning a turkey
on the White House
lawn. “It’s part of
us, it’s part of our
culture, it’s imbued within who we are
as Americans,” says Shprintzen.
Indeed, only 5% of Americans say
they are full vegetarians, according to
Gallup polling data. But Darren Seifer,
an analyst at market research firm NPD,
predicts more vegetarian options will
appear on holiday tables this year, as
NPD data shows 18% of adults in the
U.S. are trying to eat more plant-based
foods. And for vegetarian home chefs
like Dutton who are making the effort
this year, the tide feels like it’s turn-
ing just a bit—as long as her guests like
the stuffing. □

Becoming a vegeTarian wasn’T THaT HarD for Harper
Dutton. The 26-year-old doesn’t really love the taste of meat
anyway. So this summer, to help the environment, she quit.
What’s been more difficult is preparing to host Thanks-
giving dinner. Weeks before the holiday, Dutton was practic-
ing making stuffing without bacon or lard at her home in an
Atlanta suburb. “It is proving to be extremely challenging,”
she says.
As evidence grows that eating less meat can help curb the
effects of climate change, more and more Americans are pre-
paring meat-free holiday meals for the first time. According to
a Nielsen poll taken in December 2018, 61% of Americans are
willing to reduce meat consumption to help offset livestock’s
environmental impacts. Sales of plant-based meat replace-
ments in the U.S. have grown
31% over the past two years, ac-
cording to a report by the data-
technology company Spins
commissioned by plant-based-
food interest organizations.
Tofurky, an alt-meat brand
famous for its eponymous tofu-
based turkey replacement, has
barely been able to keep up
with the increased demand.
In February, the company had
to bring in a $7 million private
investment to meet production
needs for 2019. “We were not
ready for what seems to have
been the tipping point being
met,” says Jaime Athos, the
CEO. “Honestly, we didn’t
expect it to happen so fast.”
Evolving attitudes toward
vegetarianism in the U.S. have
contributed greatly to the
plant-based industry’s growth, says Adam Shprintzen, author
of The Vegetarian Crusade and an assistant professor of history
at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. Though some ad-
opted vegetarianism in the 19th century simply because meat
was so expensive, the practice was historically associated with
movements like women’s rights, abolitionism and economic
justice, casting the choice to avoid meat as a statement.
“Before 1900, generally speaking, vegetarianism is seen
as kind of a radical social- reform movement tied to any
number of social- reform movements in the U.S.,” Shprint-
zen says. “Vegetarianism as a movement undergoes a pretty
significant transformation in the U.S. kind of neatly at the
turn of the 20th century.” As the notion that a meatless diet
could improve personal health gained traction, more meat
alternatives became available. Being vegetarian no longer


hold the turkey

By Rachel E. Greenspan


TheView Food

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