The walk along the seashore was as pleasant as it gets. I wore shorts, sandals and T-shirt; my favourite attire. Storm clouds building to the west promise welcome rain overnight and then it’s back to sunshine. When I checked with Camp earlier in the week at the store, which was crawling with tourists, mostly looking for a washroom, he assured me that he would be there on Thursday. ‘Nothing has changed buddy, stop worrying. You’re not my mother in law.’
Maybe he is right, I thought, I should just relax. Matrimony is not the end of freedom. It was early and Camp did show up as promised but with Muriel in tow. I scrambled to my feet for a customary hug – not with Camp.
‘How did your book launch go?’ she asked, referring to the launch of my book about 2 years as the owner of a French restaurant in Vancouver’s west end, called FOLLY BISTRO.
‘About two dozen people showed up, some of them former customers who told me how much they missed the ‘pommes frites.’ The scene we did from my play by the same name turned out great, thanks to the three actors that joined in.’
‘Sorry, we couldn’t be there buddy,’ Camp said but I hope you present the book here on the coast and of course I’m pushing it at the store as a ‘not to be missed summer read.’
‘I’m sure the book will be a hit,’ Muriel said. ‘By the way I wanted to join you two boys and listen to what you talk about on these Thirsty Thursdays, just as long it’s not sports, cars or girls,’ she said with a wink in my direction.
‘Ha, it’s more like politics, religion and eating disorders,’ I laughed. ‘In fact I want to know what you two think about these ‘beyond meat’ burgers and veggie hot dogs. I tried one of those burgers the other day and must say it almost fooled me.’
‘It’s all about eating less meat but we don’t want to give up the taste and texture of a good burger,’ Camp said, ‘but I can’t wrap my head around a lab created burger-substitute made from peas and beans. ‘Beyond Meat’ and ‘Impossible Foods’ are the two biggest players in this brand new market, which is very popular with millennials and newby vegetarians and both companies have either Google or Bill Gates as backers.’
‘I think it’s a responsible alternative,’ Muriel said, ‘Impossible Food claims that their burger uses 75 percent less water and 95 percent less land then the meat equivalent and the climate gas emissions are also 90 percent less. They have about the same amount of calories, ca 300, but do include a lot more sodium than beef burgers, for taste and preservation I believe.’
‘What are they made off?’ I asked and Muriel answered right away.
‘They’re made from pea protein and canola oil, some contain soy protein and coconut oil and they also add soy leghemoglobin, a genetically modified yeast for flavour and colour.’
We both looked at Muriel, who kind of took the wind out of our sails.
‘Burger King, McDonalds and Tim Horton’s are all jumping on board. Pretty soon you won’t get a real meat burger anywhere unless you request it,’ Camp said.
‘At the annual bbq for the Granthams Wharf Association we usually serve about 75 burgers, I said. ‘Two years ago we made 10 veggie burgers and had about half of them left over. Last year we maybe sold a dozen. This year, half of all orders were meatless.’
‘Vegetarianism is the new religion,’ Camp said, ‘but I’m still an atheist.’
Muriel gave him a disapproving sideways look. I bet the discussion will be continued at a later time.
‘Anybody for a refill,’ I asked to change the subject, not sure if Muriel was up for a refill.
‘You betcha, I’m having another wine spritzer.’
And just like magic, Vicky brought exactly that along with two fresh pints, which surprised Muriel. ‘How did she know?’
‘Vicky is a clairvoyant as far as drinks go. Not sure if it transcends into other areas of her life,’ I said.
‘Hey Vicky, what do you think about veggie burgers?’ I asked her.
‘I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a teenager and I don’t think meatless burgers are a short-term fad. They’re here to stay. They make up half of our orders already, especially with the young crowd.’
‘I guess that makes me a dinosaur,’ I said.
‘Most of them were herbivores,’ Vicky pointed out.