Doing the ‘Impossible’ at Burger King

By ELLIANA KOPUT

The Amazon rainforest is aflame, global temperatures are rising and a decrease in biodiversity continue to minimize the survival attempts of a myriad of species. 

“(In the Southwest) increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires,” according to NASA. “Declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns.” 

It can be easy to throw pebbles of blame and rage at the corporate entities that, arguably, control the Earth, but make no mistake: We singletons can walk, talk and appoint change to the speed, direction and intention of our own choosing. 

A study conducted by Viva!.org points out, “As food production expands to meet the world’s growing appetite for meat, emissions from livestock … continue to rise. The only way to stop this is to change the way we eat, drastically reducing animal food production.” 

Impossible Foods recently teamed with Burger King to release a vegan version of the Whopper. 

“Our mission is to restore biodiversity and reduce the impact of climate change by transforming the global food system,” said Impossible Foods CEO Patrick O. Brown. 

The patty itself aims to mimic the taste, texture and gut ache of a real beef patty. 

I will save the time of urging everyone to pursue veganism, but visualize me on my hands and knees for effect. Cutting down on animal products is one active step that individuals can take in addition to protesting the pain and suffering of living creatures. One can choose to adopt an entirely plant-based lifestyle or simply order the Impossible Whopper when visiting Burger King. Both routes are valid and beneficial to the Earth’s ecological well being. 

In an effort to investigate the legitimacy of the Impossible Whopper, and perhaps celebrate the increase in accessibility of vegan options in fast food, I set out on a mission. 

Burger King sign off of W. St. Mary’s Rd and I-10 advertises itself with pride

At 4:30 p.m.. on a recent Tuesday, I headed east on St. Mary’s Road. 

Hunger, community-college-overwhelm and financial instability overtook as the angels of heaven shone down a light upon none other than the infamous Burger King sign off I-10. 

A pothole about the size of my fear and loathing for the corporate menace instigated a wave of humility between both the front passenger wheel and myself. I turned down the stereo to better auditorily examine a squealing belt wreaking havoc in the front end of my car. 

With a head lowering slightly from the clouded physiological exhaust and as I regained my consciousness, the illusion of the car’s imperfection dissipated. The screech was actually a product of my own emotional anarchy. Here presented a true crossroads of identity, further perpetuating a bout of angst. Have we, as vegans, manifested a grip in consumerist society? Could this be a combative shot toward climate change? Or have entities such as B.K. kidnapped our lifestyle, dragging us out butt-naked by the chains of our wallets and ethical egocentrism? 

Struggling to find answers amid mainstream stomping grounds, complaining maliciously of my own victim complex, eating canned beans and hot sauce for meals on end, you could say I’d been a hipster my whole life. Convenience and fast food are two devils I hadn’t the pleasure in dancing with. Yet. 

But now was the time to take one for the team, for the sake of journalism and the future of our planet. 

A superstitious pull of insanity propelled the car toward the drive-thru. The raspy-voiced cashier and I communicated through an equally raspy microphone, and he persuaded me that the Impossible Whopper would change my life for only $5.59. Thank you, Raspy. Mother nature thanks you, too. 

Time may have stood still; perhaps it was my blood sugar perpetuating a bout of dissociation or a premonitory vision of somber and shambled earthly remains. The soccer mom behind me clearly held no compassion for either potential. With antagony, her horn shrieked in syncopation with her flip of the bird. Thank you, Brenda; I’ll be on my way now. The sake of our planet is at stake. 

As Raspy and I bid our good-byes, a single tear slithered down my cheek. The start of an era had, too, approached, and I sat before the Impossible Whopper in a moment of grounding attempt. I was fearful, slightly grossed out, but galvanized in daydream of the vegan possibilities. A sustained and fruitful earth imagined itself, complete with frolicking children whose mothers had packed bag lunches filled with Impossible meat. 

The Impossible Whopper maintains the aesthetic of a typical fast food burger

At first glance, the Impossible Whopper appeared like the slightly uglier, B-list celebrity cousin of the advertised images we all know and endure. The squishy, already-cold patty complemented the bland-but-not-stale sesame bun like a ragged old married couple. Their children, dill pickles, onions, tomatoes and lettuce, all laid snuggling under a slight drizzling of ketchup. In the perfect sodium-filled union sat the epitome of the New Age. It lacked an aura of bovine slaughter, and that, was beautiful.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s all one would ask for in a fast-food sandwich. It hit my feeble stomach with a message relaying to my consciousness. This message instigated a perpetual hope. 

I admit it was a more than acceptable product for under $6. I admit, also, that it far surpassed my expectations in the categories of edibility, presentation and grease retention.

Wondering to myself brewed questions of legitimacy; how effective would the Impossible Burger be at directly inhibiting the effects of climate change? The majority of BK’s profits still stem from animal products, so it really is no clear-fitting solution. Those who are willing to take the Impossible Whopper head on may reduce the extent to which the company uses meat, which, in turn, could reduce the company’s partnership with industrialized farms. Furthermore, it could provide a viable means for transitioning vegans to get their “fix.” 

In conclusion, the BK Impossible Whopper was worth a shot, and I’d encourage you to try it yourself.

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