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LEFFLER: 'Impossible Whopper' is the real deal

My Google News recommendation list is typically a mix of stories about politics, electronics, and BitCoin. Lately, however, I've had a steady diet of stories about Burger King's "Impossible Whopper."

In truth, I've been eagerly anticipating its arrival in Western New York. And Thursday, it made its debut nationwide, including here in the Buffalo area.

I had every intention of getting one the day it came out but I had to wait until Friday because sometimes life gets in the way.

So I go to one of the three Burger Kings we have here in Niagara Falls and I ordered one. I also ordered a regular Whopper so I could make a comparison. Also fries and a Doctor Pepper, sans straw (I gave up straws a while ago).

I get back to the office and cut the two Whoppers in half to check out how they look. Pretty identical. I take a bite of the "real" Whopper. And then the "Impossible" Whopper. And while they're not identical, they're pretty damn close. In fact, had I not bought the regular one to compare, I'm honestly not sure I'd have known that the "Impossible" one was not a regular old Whopper.

I've read a few other reviews of BK's new plant-based sandwich (it's made of potatoes and soy) and most of the reviewers seem to have come to the same conclusion I have. This is the real deal. One of those reviews also suggested that the primary flavor in a Whopper isn't the meat itself anyway. It's the mayo and ketchup ... and the rest of the accoutrements. Having tasted both in the same setting, I tend to agree.

Now, I'm not saying the "Impossible" and the "meat" Whopper are identical. I found the Impossible to be just a bit firmer to bite into. And it had a bit more of a "charred" taste than the regular Whopper. But overall, it tasted like a burger. And that's good enough for me.

I understand that some people are upset that the "Impossible" Whopper is cooked on the same flame broiler that the regular Whopper is cooked -- meaning it cannot technically be classified as either "vegan" or "vegetarian." But I'm not particularly concerned about technicalities. My concern is whether the product I'm consuming was made from animal flesh.

Mentally, I go back and forth on the idea of vegetarianism. I like the idea of not eating meat. I'm not thrilled about the concept that humans classify all other living things as being "less" than us. But then I get hungry and I remember that I really like burgers and chicken wings.

The idea, though, that we're getting to a point that we can make something out of potatoes that tastes like a hamburger, is pretty exciting. If they can come up with "Impossible" chicken wings, I may be able to make the transition to vegetarianism. Maybe.

One other side note of relative import: I don't eat at Burger King very often. In fact, I try not to eat fast food. And I'm not going to start eating fast food just because they have potato burgers that taste like meat burgers. But according to CNet, Impossible plans to start selling "raw" burgers in grocery stores by the end of the year.

Scott Leffler is an omnivore with a conscience. At least when he's not hungry. He's the editor and publisher of All WNY News and the program director of All WNY Radio. Follow him on Twitter @ScottLeffler

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