Product review: Match Meats!  »

I don’t miss meat. I do, however, enjoy fake meat—not as an approximation of what I don’t eat anymore, but simply as an expansion of my available menu. If soy and TVP and wheat gluten taste good, then I’m all for it. Whether or not they’re anything like the real deal is pretty much beside the point for me. That being said, this new Match Meats stuff tastes really good, and is a lot like meat. God I miss meat. KIDDING!

Match Meats come in six flavors: beef, pork, chicken, breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, and (of all things) crab. Each package is a pound’s worth for $7.50.

For the time being, it seems, the main way to get Match Meats is by ordering it directly from them at their website. This is unfortunate, because their shipping rates truly blow. The shipping is about $5 per item, regardless of how many you order, regardless of the fact they are all shipped together anyway. This means that when I ordered one of each of their six flavors, the shipping came to over $30! I thought this was a little ridiculous, and sent an email off to them asking if this was normal, and also WTF? I received a very nice email back from the president, Allison Burgess, informing me that

"If there is one thing I hate about our current situation is the cost of shipping/handling of selling our products online. It includes the picking of the order, the styrofoam container, the labeling and the UPS shipping. It is prohibitive, but we don’t know how to get the products to individuals until there is a store in their neighborhood who will carry them."

So there you go. Try and get your local Whole Foods or wherever (hopefully also MY local Whole Foods) to carry Match Meats, so we don’t all have to pay the ridiculous shipping. Now that I’ve tried Match Meats once, I’m willing to wait until I can buy them locally. I’m not Scrooge McDuck over here! Or I kinda am but only the stingy part…. I’m not swimming in dollar-sign-shaped pools or anything. (I do, however, tuck my tie into my pants. Classy!)

What it is, basically, is TVP and wheat gluten amalgamated into a sort of ground-beef like mash. This is different from a product like Yves “Ground Round,” and unique in that it can be molded into different shapes, and doesn’t just crumble apart. They say you can use it pretty much as you would real meat, and there are a lot of recipes on their website to try (my order also included a few actual printed recipe cards, a nice touch) but they all basically involve doing the same thing with your Match Meats: shape it into a patty and then fry it. There are variations on this, sure—sometimes you bread the patties, or bake them after you fry them, or mix some veggies and spices in with the meats, or what have you—but the basic formula is the same. Whatever, it works. What you get is a really hearty, meaty chunk of protein to sink your teeth into. It even has little gristly bits in it, sort of. And the pork tastes like pork. The chicken tastes like chicken. The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.

All the recipes I’ve tried so far off their site have been delicious but did need to be veganized here and there: crab cakes (delicious!); chicken picatta (delicious!); beef, eggplant, tomato and macaroni bake (sort of like Hamburger Helper—delicious!); and pork schnitzel (delicious!). Would that I had taken photos. Mea culpa. They had a recipe contest which came and went, but the results have not yet been posted. I’m sure that there are more adventurous chefs than I that will figure out amazing and creative things to do with this product once the bar has been raised.

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