More than you Knead


Sometime in the 7th century, while making dough from wheat flour in a tub of cold water, monks in China noticed that the more they kneaded the flour the more the starches dissipated. But they kept on kneading assiduously and were eventually rewarded with a chewy protein-like substance. which they then simmered in broth for several hours in order to lend it additional flavor. The monks named their culinary invention Mien Ching or Buddha’s Food.

Mien Ching then made its way to Japan where chefs adapted the product into what they called Fu by flavoring it with shoyu, kombu and ginger. This is what Macrobiotics founder George Oshawa later called Seitan.

Nothing much else exciting happened in the world of textured wheat until sometime in the late 1970’s, when Seattle Chef David Lee decided to add a European flavor-profile to a self-styled Seitan product he called Field Roast.

Today, the Field Roast Grain Meat Company crafts a panoply of nicely-textured and well-seasoned grain meat products with a neutral and natural taste and juicy bite. The company’s Italian Style vegan sausages are perfect for Pasta ala Veganese. Just crumble up a few of these delightfully seitanic vegan sausages and saute them in olive oil with garlic, onions, chopped mushrooms, and a pinch of nutmeg. Next add a can of organic tomato paste, about a half a glass of red wine, and a handful of minced fresh garden herbs ( Thyme, Sage, Parsley, Marjoram. Simmer for just a few minutes more, and mix the sauce into a straming bowl of rice-based fusilli. Cibo di Buddah Italiano! Que Bestiale!