BY OWEN ROCHE
Eating meat is about as American as apple pie, drone strikes and — quite literally — fast food hamburgers.
However, a new threat looms on the horizon: vegans and their non-committal friends, vegetarians, are going mainstream. At first, the plant-based eating movement seemed harmless enough, quarantined to communities of rich people with nothing better to do and too much time to think about the morality of their actions. It was once a passing fad, relegated to subheadings in “Women’s Health” and fond memories of ex-hippies. But times have changed. This new unhealthy obsession with health and unamerican aversion to animal products is tearing down our shared culture as we know it, and it must be stopped.
Unfortunately, American fast food chains, fingers ever-present on the sluggish pulse of the nation, have been quick to respond to the plant-based craze. Today, vegan depravity is everywhere; worse yet, it’s affordable. We shook our heads in dismay when McDonald’s tested a “McVegan” in Europe. We watched aghast as TGI Fridays debuted a “Beyond Meat” burger in January. But will we stand by and let the greatest mainstay of American culture fall to the radical vegan agenda? Will we allow the hallowed parapets of freedom to crumble under the weight of a couple kale-consumers?
Too late. As of April 12, 2018, White Castle has fallen. The Impossible Slider is here.
On April 12, the fine eating establishment famous for its classic sliders colloquially known as “belly bombers” and “rectum rockets” welcomed a sinister addition to its menu: a burger sporting a patty of nefarious origin. White Castle’s Impossible Sliders pack onions, pickles, lies, deception and the Impossible Burger — a misleading meaty masquerade — between their buns. The amalgamation of plant protein is produced by the startup Impossible Foods and is meant to imitate and replace the classic beef patty. This is preposterous, impassable, inconceivable, unthinkable, impractical, insurmountable and downright improbable. Much like the steam engine, iron lung and self-checkout kiosks, it will never be the same as good old flesh and blood.
This beguiling burger was made available in all New York, New Jersey and Chicago locations, including the White Castle mere steps from the gates of Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus. As a faithful Jesuit institution, we know God gave us cows because they’re so delicious. Are plant-based cultists really trying to one-up the Big Man? One look at White Castle’s menu says yes. Surely, just as Frankenstein’s monster sought revenge on his creator for his unnatural, cursed existence, so too will humanity face its $8, two-sliders-fries-and-a-drink comeuppance. The Cursed Castle is playing God, and we’ll all pay.
What’s worse, our arsenal of comebacks and self-justifications against the vegan menace is dwindling. With White Castle’s meatless sliders, gone are the days of the anemic, emaciated vegan stereotype. What’s more, the rich, twig-eating suburban strawman is a thing of the past. The diabolical anti-meat powers-that-be have used White Castle to widen the scope of unnatural meat alternatives, and in their quest to make plant-based food more accessible, an $8 Impossible combo may sadly be too enticing for many red-blooded Americans to resist. How ironic that a greasy, alabaster castle now stands to symbolize accessibility, progress and lower blood pressure.
That being said, the fact of the matter remains: a meal without animal cruelty just doesn’t feel right. Eating red meat and processed meat without the exhilarating knowledge that you’re ingesting known carcinogens just isn’t the American way. Feeling like a piece of garbage for pulling into a White Castle drive-thru at 2 a.m. and ordering a Crave Case containing 30 all-beef sliders is a bona fide rite of passage for citizens everywhere. Impossible meatless sliders soften the pointed, useful life lessons contained in this experience, and consuming the flesh of sentient beings in the parking lot under the dirty glow of a White Castle sign is a constitutional right. Vegans should not meddle with this delicate ritual. It is downright sick to disallow a cow to die a noble death for the benefit of a self-hatred-fueled 2 a.m. burger binge.
Alas, the damage is already done. In the game of carnivorous chess, the vegans are always one move ahead. Americans may feel helpless to stop the flow of alternative meats into their favorite eating establishments, but they’re certainly not alone. The vegans have blood on their hands, and dutiful omnivores worldwide will continue to resist — in the name of freedom, tradition and the pursuit of cholesterol. Unlike other Missions Impossible, it must be ensured that the sequels end here. Thanks, but no thanks, radical plant-munchers, we’ll keep vegetables in their rightful place: the wilted, flavorless eighth of the plate that gets scraped into the garbage bin when nobody’s looking.
We’re very content with our current worldviews, thank you very much. Meat is meat, change is scary and nutrition is just about as legitimate as vaccines. The plant-based community can’t waltz into America now and expect us to dance to their repulsively ethical tune. White Castle is on the wrong side of history. You can’t tell America to eat less meat; it would be downright impossible.
But, then again, so are those sliders.