The quiet pleasures of a meatless Labor Day
A year ago, we had considered the feasts of Labor Day, particularly those outdoor ones that sizzle and pop, getting your nose twitching with hope, and your innards in anticipation. We run it anew, since there’s nothing fresher than a lovely memory resurrected:
Does anything beat the juicy grilled burger for a Labor Day end-of-summer repast? The classic, medium rare patty with all the fixin’s. A nice fresh piece of lettuce, Romaine ideally. End-of-August tomatoes, in all their red, ripe deliciousness. A really good bun — maybe a buttery brioche roll, an English muffin, or a chunky ciabatta square, with its crevices and crannies jammed with a multitude of condiments. I’m not really a fan of ketchup, so I’ll put spicy mustard on whatever roll I get. And a good Kosher pickle… Nothing says Party! quite like a crunchy spear of pickle. We’ve put lamb burgers on the menu, and bison. But no, not for Labor Day. Then it’s beef.
Two weeks ago a group of us were out to dinner at a lovely café on a lakeside marina in Westchester county, New York. The menu was a nice blend of choices, though one choice stood out – the Chef’s Special: The Marina Impossible Burger. I sank my teeth into it — and was I shocked.
If you haven’t already tried the Beyond Beef or Impossible burgers, I strongly recommend them. Not the Impossible Whopper or White Castle version, but the homemade kind of burger, the kind of burger you would whip up for your best friends. Get a couple of pounds of perfectly handsome beef substitute, season it up and grill it up for family and friends. Those friends of yours — who always bring a good bottle of wine and a knockout salad and a little dessert something-or-other treat — they deserve to try the new meat substitutes with you.
Experience them for yourself — with your besties there to weigh in. Find out what the future of protein consumption might look like. We all know the toll beef production takes on the planet, and what consuming too much beef does to our bodies.
Do a taste test with those in your close circle. Mull the wealth of positive choices available — as you also savor them.
Given how the year has been so sorely disrupted, it will perhaps be by Labor Day 2021 that a lot of grills in this country will be making room for something very different to go with their buns and favorite condiments. I’ll still be saying, ‘Hold the ketchup.’
And I might be saying, ‘hold the meat.’