Junior Emma Boersma bites into the Impossible Burger, which she ordered from Mendocino Farms. Although it's made from plants, the burger mimics its traditional meaty counterpart because of a genetically engineered version of the protein heme. (Photo courtesy of Boersma)
The Impossible Burger: Eat (fake) beef; save the planet
Sure, I’ve had black bean burgers, soy burgers, some weird white plant burger — but none of those tasted like the real thing.
After the first month of my new beef-less diet, I had accepted that it would be a while before I’d finally able to taste the delicious Double-Double Animal Style from In-N-Out again (or any other burger, for that matter).
Oh, how happy I am to be wrong.
The Impossible Burger 2.0 by Impossible Foods was released at the beginning of the year, and it does the impossible — it makes fake beef taste like real beef.
How is this possible?
According to the website, what makes this burger so meat-like is the protein heme, an iron-containing molecule that carries oxygen throughout the body and is responsible for the distinct bloody flavor of meat. Using genetically engineered, plant-based heme — as well as other ingredients — the scientists at Impossible Foods were able to bring this veggie burger up a notch.
Since I avoid only beef, the Impossible Burger seemed to be made for me, so naturally I had to try it.
Since the burger is only available in restaurants, I ordered mine from Mendocino Farms (1610 R St.) for $12.45, but the store locator on the Impossible Foods website reveals other restaurants carrying their products, including Wildwood Kitchen and Bar (556 Pavilions Lane).
And I’ve had it twice this week since trying it — it’s that good.
It tastes like a high-quality burger, not some dry, charred brick you buy for $5 at your local sporting event. It even drips red meat juice — unlike a quinoa burger that boasts a tantalizing mix of hot oil and water.
Aside from tasting like real meat, it also looks and has the same texture as real meat. It is a dark, brownish-gray on the outside and a pink on the inside. Even better, it doesn’t feel like an undercooked pancake when you bite into it (unlike a certain black bean burger), and it’s not like biting a woven plant mat (unlike that weird white burger).
Both my mother, who continues to eat beef in spite of her daughter’s protests, and I agreed this was impressively meat-like and delicious.
I thought it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, but that could just be because I hadn’t eaten a burger in months. (I finished mine in under five minutes; it was not pretty.) My mom was not as enamored as I, although she did refuse me more than two bites of her burger, so that’s saying something.
Furthermore, the Impossible Burger not only is good, it’s environmentally viable! Now those are two words someone like me wants to hear!
According to the website, eating an Impossible Burger in lieu of a normal burger will use “96% less land, 87% less water and 89% fewer emissions.”
The Impossible Burger is not just another meat substitute — it’s a game changer that makes cutting meat from your diet that much easier. If giving up hamburgers was holding you back from saving the planet, fear no more.
With the Impossible Burger, the only thing you’ll be missing out on is rising sea levels and the extinction of panda bears.