DENVER — Options for meat substitutes have come a long way since Seth Tibbott’s first few Thanksgivings as vegetarian in the 1970s.
Vegetable side dishes and salads were nice but they didn’t seem as festive as a turkey, the traditional centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. The Oregon man tried all kinds of experiments, from a stuffed pumpkin to a gluten roast that took all day to make but was “unsliceable and indigestible.”
After becoming a professional “soycrafter” in 1980, Tibbott noticed that sales seemed to slow around Thanksgiving and Christmas “as people lost their vegetarian ways and guiltily ate traditional fare like turkey,” he said. Aside from tofu, which was primarily only sold in Asian markets, the only commercially available meat alternatives were made by Seventh Day Adventist companies, and many of these products were canned.
“I subsisted on a diet of homemade items like pressure-cooked soybeans and tortillas, soy grit burgers, bread and granola,” he said.