“The Impossible Burger,” meatless eating in a meat-eating town


Cascadia Public House offers a vegetarian, meat-like hamburger that contains heme. “The Impossible Burger,” was developed by Dr. Pat Brown of Impossible Foods | Jeremy Burnham for The Easterner

By Jeremy Burnham, Copy Editor

Many meat eaters don’t know the struggle vegetarians go through when eating out. It may seem like every restaurant has vegetarian options.

A person organizing a night out with a group of friends that include a vegetarian will find that most restaurants claim to be “vegetarian friendly,” meaning they offer at least one meatless option. All too often, however, “at least one,” means just one.

If that option is a salad, your vegetarian friend is not likely to enjoy the meal as much as the rest of the group. Even when the option is not a salad, it’s usually a dish created by cooks who only offer it because they feel they have to. The love and care that goes into a meat dish is often absent in a vegetarian dish.

On campus, EWU dining services provides some meatless options. There is always something vegetarian on the menu at Tawanka Main Street Dining, though the number and quality of choices vary daily. Sometimes there are vegetarian entrees, sometimes just sides. Main Street dining does offer an online menu so diners can know what’s available before arriving. Note that while there are vegetarian options on the “Asian Bar,” they only include sides. The rice and spring rolls are vegetarian. The entrees, usually, are not.

Off campus though, the options are limited. If you are in the mood for pizza, Barrelhouse Pub and Pizza has you covered with the Garden Goddess. The Garden Goddess is loaded with flavorful toppings. The pizza is a carryover from the restaurant that used to be at the location that is now Barrelhouse. In an interview with The Easterner in January 2017, owner Mike Lyon said that he did not change the pizza menu when he bought Zentropa in 2016.

If price is a concern, none of the above options are very good solutions. Eating out for many college students means fast food. The fast food restaurants in Cheney do not offer much in the way of vegetarian options. If you like beans, Taco Bell is your best option. They will substitute beans for ground beef on all of their menu items for no charge. Taco Bell even has an online guide on meatless eating at their restaurants.

Carl’s Jr.’s website lists a “veg-it” guide to ordering their food without meat. The only entree option is ordering the guacamole burger without meat.

If beans or burgers with the meat taken off are not your thing, you may be better off cooking at home. A good place to start is Leanne Brown’s book, Good and Cheap, which is available for free in PDF form. Every recipe in Brown’s book costs less than $4 a serving, and many of them are vegetarian.

“It’s something I did on purpose,” Brown told The Easterner in a phone interview in Feburary. “I like cooking with meat, but knowing how to use vegetables in delicious, flavorful ways is very useful.”

If you are a former meat eater craving a hamburger, Spokane has an option for you. The Cascadia Public House offers “The Impossible Burger,” a product developed by Dr. Pat Brown of Impossible Foods. Impossible Foods describes its burger as a joining of “science and food.”

“We’ve spent more than six years studying animal meat at the molecular level to discover how it works, how it handles and cooks, and especially how it produces the flavors and textures people love,” Dr. Brown said on The Impossible Foods website.

The burger contains heme, a substance found in all life. A large amount of heme is found in red meat. By using heme from plants, Impossible Foods produces a vegan burger that tastes and feels like meat.

The Impossible burger at Cascadia Public House costs $16 and comes with fries.