Thursday, September 04, 2008

In which we discuss fake cheese

What is the raison d'etre of fake cheese? Last Sunday, I started a new detoxifying diet. Oprah's detoxifying diet! It is meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free, and alcohol-free, for maximum suffering.
Q: But Patience, isn't it foolish to start a meat-free, dairy-and-egg-free, gluten-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free, high-suffering diet when the new semester of nursing school has just started?

A: Yes! But when have I not done something simply because it was stupid?

I had to make a special trip to Whole Foods to procure gluten-free, meat-free products, dairy-free products. One food I needed was soy cheese, only I couldn't find soy cheese at Whole Foods, which is odd, because you'd think Whole Foods would be the soy cheese Mecca. What I did find was “Gluten-free Cheddar-flavored rice slices.” Fast forward to lunch in which I cooked myself a tofu burger and topped it with a cheddar-flavored rice slice, which, as soon as it started to melt, smelled so bad I gagged. To actually eat something that foul was unthinkable, although I took a tiny bite for research purposes and learned that it tastes as bad as it smells.

Which brings me to my question about the very existence of fake cheese. People become vegans for a variety of reasons, but all of them can be placed into one of two categories, as far as cheese is concerned:

     1.People who love cheese
  1. People who are indifferent to, or dislike cheese.

Would cheese lovers be satisfied with a product as disgusting as cheddar-flavored rice slices? Because there is no way this “food” could ever, in a million years, pass for cheese. No true cheese lover would find it acceptable. True cheese lovers are serious about cheese. My brother told me an amusing anecdote about how his wife, while at a fancy grocery store in NY, witnessed a couple who were tasting the cheeses and discussing the cheeses, and deliberating over the cheeses with great solemnity and it turns out they didn't even need to buy any cheese until the following week. In other words, they went out and researched cheese, giving themselves a full week to make a decision. What do you think these people would think of Cheddar-flavored Rice Slices?

As for the people who don't feel that cheese is an important part of their lives, why would they bother with fake cheese anyway, if they never felt much desire to eat real cheese, especially since it tastes so bad? For the extra calories? For that popular toxic rotting garbage smell? The only purpose I can see for fake cheese is to deceive unsuspecting people like me, who are either Vegan novices, or are starting strange detoxifying Oprah diets. Because I can't imagine anyone ever taking a second bite of a cheddar-flavored rice slice.
I wonder what the French do when they go Vegan.


  1. That's just nasty.

    I simply cannot imagine giving up cheese. (Says the woman who put a really nice Parrano on her salad today...)

  2. What the...? This diet sounds like pure torture. Are you left with basically fruit and vegetables?

    My tombstone will be carved out of cheese. It's my favorite food EVER.

    Having said that, I'm off to Taco Bell to try the new Volcano Taco with "cheez" sauce. Heh.

  3. "meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free, and alcohol-free"

    What does that leave?? Zucchini, I guess.

    I will think of you today as I exercise my God-given right as an American to eat real cheese.

  4. I know the Galaxy Rice Cheese well. My husband eats it because our household is gluten-free and soy-free and he can't have a whole lot of dairy.

    I'm amused that fake cheese would be acceptable on a detox diet. It's pretty much all additives and fillers, no matter what brand you buy.

  5. Okay, I love cheese and I'm against the fake stuff--it's on my wisconsin citizenship card or something;)
    But really, I applaud you for trying something new. Even if hell would freeze over before I'd do it:)

  6. Oh, gross. Kudos for sticking to a diet that sounds suspiciously close to being food-free.

  7. A food-free diet! HAHAHA! Maybe that will be Oprah's next thing.

  8. hmmm, why not just fast? "i'm fasting" is easier than saying "meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free, and alcohol-free" :)

    i think rebecca's has a pretty good section of gluten-free/vegan items.

    soy cheese tends to be better than rice cheese, but that any of it is even called cheese, is baffling to me!

  9. I'm just catching up with blogs after a week of computer-sharing with my husband.

    They'll have to pry my cheese out of my cold, dead, rigor mortis hands.

    I won't even eat the pretend plastic cheese that comes wrapped in sheets of plastic that my Mom insists on buying


    A couple years ago, when my son was diagnosed with autism, my husband went a little nutso and tried to put him on the gluten-free/casein-free diet. Okay, gluten is one thing. I guess we could live without gluten if we absolutely, positively had to. But no casein=no cheese, and my children all LOVE cheese. I knew just by looking at the vegan "cheese" that it was never going to do. No, never. Unfortunately, my husband made me taste it. He made all of us taste it. Your rotting garbage description is apt. You can probably guess that we didn't last long on the GF/CF diet. I think everyone in the family would rather be autistic than give up cheese, and certainly before they would agree to put vegan cheese in their mouths again.

    I think most vegans have forgotten how food tastes. That's my theory.

    Good luck with your diet.