Fry My Vegan Chicken In the Chicken Oil Please. I’m serious.
Ever since KFC launched their new vegan chicken tenders, the world of plant-based eating has had a lot to say. My perspective: I’ll take my plant-based chicken tenders fried in the chicken oil please. As a health conscious vegan, I rarely eat fast food, but on my next long road trip through the middle of nowhere USA, it would be nice to have the option of enjoying some tasty plant-based nuggets over none at all. Vegan choices in middle america often trend toward overly salty or sweetened nuts, candy and oreos, and maybe some fruit. If you’re really lucky you might find steamed vegetables, an iceberg lettuce salad or some french fries… that are also probably fried in non-vegan oil.
As a restaurant industry veteran, I can tell you how rarely plant-based food is not tainted in some way by meat or dairy products, especially in more casual restaurants and chains. And while I fully appreciate that we should all care about other people’s diet choices, we’re not going to build global awareness overnight. If for allergen or preferential reasons you cannot tolerate cross contamination, I recommend you chill at home and do some home cooking or go heavy on the meal prep. For now, plant-based chicken fried in real chicken oil is where we’re at as a society–an “almost there” mentality, and we're making progress. Yes, we can all get “spicy” and demand more options and more strict vegan hygiene practices. BUT are options that take real chickens out of that deep fryer are beneficial thing? YES. Let’s not forget our general goal to eat more plant-based food, and encourage others to do the same, even if we can’t do so 100% of the time. I invite all my hot-to-trot hardcore vegan friends complaining about KFC to also think about the bigger picture.
More real chicken out of the deep fryer is still a step in the right direction for the big ag, the planet, corporations and consumers. Separate fryers will be the next step, but let’s get behind the introduction of plant-based options in big chains and appreciate this meaningful step first. I hope more fast food and fast-casual chains keep it coming. Let’s see it folks! If you don’t like this sentiment, remember, carrot sticks and apple slices are a super fast food, and you can also go blog about it, or share your passionate remarks/a snarky note in the comments!