In the age of TikTok marketing, almost everything is being rebranded, both in the food world and those adjacent to it.agua fresca I will go around As “hot spring water”. Baby blue manicure is “blueberry milk” Manicure. Warm brown tones around the eyes and cheeks arelatte makeup” The Mediterranean image and love for red are now “tomato girl aesthetics”, while neutral preference means “ ”.vanilla girl” and so on.
Within this ecosystem, canned fish continued to evolve into the trendy “canned fish,” a feat of marketing genius that put sealed seafood of all kinds on the menus of upscale restaurants and markets across the country. Vegetables are now being treated in the same way. “Plant-based seafood company” Seed to Surf offers “mushroom snow crab” and “celery root whitefish” in cutely packaged cans, or tins, that can be opened right away as a snack board. can. Spread it. Unlike, Alternatives to tuna Seed-to-surf products, increasingly stocked in grocery stores, are made from whole plants rather than plant-based proteins.
As someone who loves both vegetables and canned fish, I was naturally curious to see if mushrooms could satisfy my craving for shellfish.
First, I tried the “natural flavor” canned snow crab with enoki mushrooms pickled in oil. I ate it just like canned sardines, with sliced radish, saltines, and lots of butter sprinkled with flaky salt.Nod your head my favorite concert barI also pulled out a Kewpie bottle, which serves mayonnaise in cans.
I layered butter, radish, and snow crab on top of the crackers. The taste was delicious. It’s not salty, but slightly sweet, just like you’d expect from real crab. The smell was reminiscent of the sea, perhaps due to the square piece of kelp at the bottom of the can. However, there was no doubt that the texture was that of mushrooms. The crab meat is in dense clumps, while the enoki mushrooms fan out chewy, hollow stalks, the individuality of each thread accentuated by the smoothness of the oil. I liked this product, it was more mushroom-like than “crab”, but its subtle flavor was better with just butter than with mayonnaise.
Next, I tried the white fish with celery root. The content seemed convincing. The meaty chunks look no different from Fishwife’s smoked salmon. The celery root didn’t smell as sea-like as the mushrooms, but it had a smokiness that suggested a deep flavor, like real whitefish. I decided to rely on its quality and the company’s recommendation to use celery root in salads and sandwiches, and made a smoked “whitefish” salad.
Seed to Surf describes this product as “flaky,” but I felt a celery root consistency that isn’t present in real fish or common jackfruit meat analogs. Just like fish, jackfruit can be broken up with a fork by cutting off the hard core. However, the celery root resembled the core of a jackfruit and resisted my attempts to peel it off, instead breaking into ragged clumps. When mixed with mayonnaise, sour cream and herbs, it looked like a fish salad at first glance, but the texture of the celery root and slight acidity made it clear that it wasn’t.
This kind of comparison is not usually how I approach cooking and eating vegetables. While we often take inspiration from meat dishes when cooking plants, we aim to incorporate the best parts of them – their flavor profiles and texture combinations – to bring out the same goodness in vegetables. Almost none. I would rather judge a mushroom on its own merits than ask myself how similar it is to a crab.
But Seed to Surf seems to welcome comparisons to the animal kingdom. “We use whole vegetables to recreate the seafood experience,” the website says. Another page says, “We found that properly stored and properly prepared vegetables can add interesting new flavors to premium canned seafood sold in fine restaurants and high-end grocery stores.” .” The enoki mushroom box has a crab on it, and the celery root box has a fish on it, and the product name includes “snow crab” and “white fish.”
Let me be clear: I love these products. But when we look at vegetables through the lens of animal protein, we’re also questioning the negative impact we’re having on them, and our ability to enjoy them. Does celery root have to “taste” like white fish? Or could smoked and oily versions be an interesting way to spotlight a lesser-known vegetable: celery root?
In the end, it comes down to language, and language is no small thing. In particular, the language of Seed to Surf acknowledges the potential of plants, yet that potential is limited by the ability of plants to function as mimetics. As plant-based diets evolve in the United States, we’ve come to think of these comparisons to animal protein as being like pushing a rock up a hill. Meat always wins the imagination of many eaters, as in the United States animal protein is associated with tradition, nostalgia, and idealized notions of success. Vegetables, on the other hand, have a lot of room to grow.
There’s also the issue of branding. The comparison to animal protein taps into consumers’ love of meat and seafood, but it establishes a relationship with plants that is rooted in a sense of losing something that was cherished. “Recreating the seafood experience with vegetables” boils down to substitution. But highlighting these added sensations might encourage more shoppers to embrace the vegetable product, even though they may not know much about using celery root, knowing there is a convenient new way to use it. not?
My hesitation towards the notion that these canned vegetables are a “new take” on canned seafood is also undoubtedly influenced by the current cultural status of canned vegetables. They’re simple and functional, but still decidedly tacky, much like canned fish was once perceived by American society as a whole. To me, the most appealing potential of a product like this is to highlight vegetables for what they are and show consumers that high-quality canned vegetables are just as worthy of a snack spread as a can of sardines.