Why Plants Make For A Bloody Good Burger

“It's freaking awesome!”

Crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, a spongy bun lavishly smeared with mayo, and slices of cheddar cheese melting over the top of a thin patty. The white paper-bagged burger, flanked by a crisp, golden mound of thin-cut fries, could have been part of any meal at any burger joint in nearly any city, but it was anything but ordinary. Most have called it impossible.

The Impossible Burger made its public debut Wednesday at New York City’s Momofuku Nishi, the only one of David Chang's restaurants to offer the much-hyped vegan meat on its menu.

What caused a notorious meat-loving chef such as Chang to make room for a veggie burger on his menu (and for the reasonable price of $12)? It all began with a plant-based company called Impossible Foods, who claims its “meat on a mission” will revolutionize your taste buds, and maybe even save the planet.

A few months ago, Chang sampled the company’s meaty masterpiece and famously announced, “Today I tasted the future and it was vegan,” praising the Impossible Burger for its juicy, plant-bleeding texture that gives ground beef a run for its money.

By creating affordable meat from plants (that tastes eerily similar to beef), Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown believes he can change the world.

The companies mission is simple: “Make really really delicious meat that’s good for people and good for the planet. No compromises.” Thanks to its approach, the team can create its meat substitute using 95 percent less land, 74 percent less water, and with 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than beef.

If the promise of its savory taste and positive environmental impact aren’t enough, how about the nutritional punch it packs? According to Brown, the plant meat (made of wheat, coconut oil, potato protein, and heme—AKA plant blood) contains more protein and iron than animal alternatives.

If you live in New York City, now you can taste and see the revoluntionary product for yourself. On Wednesday, just before its doors opened at noon, the Momofuku Chelsea location had already drawn a crowd of about 40 people, including me. We all lined up, awaiting our chance to taste the infamous plant burger that bleeds. Chang watched from across the street as the line of hungry eaters wrapped around the corner of 22nd street and 8th Ave. The suspense was sizzling.

[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]Our mission is simple: make really really delicious meat that’s good for people and good for the planet[/quote]

The lunch wait quickly climbed to an hour after the first wave of diners filled the restaurant to capacity. Burgers were brought out on small silver trays lined with peach-dotted white Momofuku paper. Our party of four—a vegan (myself), a part-time omnivore, a meat lover, and a zealous burger aficionado (and Chang enthusiast)— was seated and the moment of truth quickly arrived. We dug into our burgers, and all agreed: the texture was spot-on. The burger was meaty and delicious, though the thin patty a little dry.

The burger doesn't leech grease or hit you with that heavy after-burger coma like a thick ground beef one does. But there were a few drawbacks.

“It looks like a burger,” our resident burger expert weighed in after taking a hearty bite. “It smells like a burger.” He closely inspected the layers of lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayo, and patty in-between the bun. “My first thought is that it's an overcooked burger...I'd prefer a real burger, but I'd definitely eat this again."

The self-proclaimed meat lover chimed-in. "It reminds me of an In-N-Out burger. It's light, fresh, and very delicious. The perfect amount of filling but not too heavy. Doesn't make me feel sluggish and I like the layering of flavors.” He paused, took another bite, then blurted out, “I eat meat every day, and I’d eat this. It's freaking awesome!"

[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]I’d actually eat this instead of a beef burger because it feels healthier but is still really delicious[/quote]

Our omnivore agreed. This patty may be on the thin side (likely given the limited supply of Impossible meat), but it isn’t greasy and has a texture that is convincingly beefy. “I’d actually eat this instead of a beef burger because it feels healthier but is still really delicious,” she insisted.

As a vegan, I wasn’t grossed out by some ultra-beefy smell or taste. In just an hour, the restaurant had already run out of vegan buns, so mine arrived in-between two pieces of marbled rye bread, not a soft, fluffy potato bun. The thin patty had a sinewy, meaty chew to it with deep brown, gristled edges, and whatever magic was infused into the vegan chipotle mayo we may never know, but it added the perfect amount of creaminess to my cheese-less burger.

We pawed at the last of our fries and watched late-comers arrive only to receive the sad news that the afternoon supply of burgers had been depleted, and dinner reservations were already booked full. No shock there. If demand is any indication of desire, people want to eat more ethically and enjoy their burgers, too. Thanks to this marriage of Momofuku and Impossible Foods, New Yorkers get first dibs on a taste of the future.

via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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