With all those mad cows, vegetarian food looks a little better every day.
While mad cow disease and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) currently appear confined to Europe, images of diseased animals and burning carcasses have crept into the United States. Granted, we're all still eating Big Macs and T-bones, but our collective consciousness has been pierced by the question: Could it happen here?
Not terribly likely, with all the safeguards put in place by the FDA and the USDA. But now is still an opportune time to talk about alternatives to meat. "There's been a widening [consumer demand] for vegetarian-type dishes, particularly among younger people," says Warren Belasco, a professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who teaches a class on American foods. "They're more aware of the general health issues-not just contamination issues, but heart disease, cholesterol and fat issues as well."
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