A Vegan Remix of the “New Baconings” From Bob’s Burgers

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I tried being a Buddhist when I was younger. I would sort of hop from school to school, holding out for a flavor that would respect my constant drinking, smoking, and kinky sex for kinky sex’s sake as a facet of my indelible Buddha-nature. It hadn’t occurred to me then that an unwillingness to alter my behavior was at odds with the annihilation of desire—I quietly noped out of pursuing Buddhism when I saw more and more Silicon Valley white dudes show up, with their productivity apps and their glib monologues about how switching out coffee for green tea helped them keep better pace in the office. I feel like white people are drawn to Buddhism because it allows them to chalk up other people’s suffering, especially the suffering they are complicit in, as a personal failing on the sufferer for not being able to attain detachment. I’m willing to dislocate myself from peace for the sake of understanding others’ pain.

SORRY. SORRY. THIS WAS ALL A LEAD-UP TO SAY THAT IF AN INSECT HAS BUDDHA-NATURE, THAN I THINK THIS SOY PATTY SANDWICH CAN H AVE A BURGER-NATURE. I LOST MYSELF.

This was an attempt, by me and Lauren Parker, mostly Lauren because she bought everything we needed—to make the “New Baconings” burger from Episode 1 of Bob’s Burgers vegan—except we couldn’t find vegan bacon and got sliced bread instead of buns. This was adopted from the Bob’s Burgers Cookbook—which has a lot of really good tips on American-style cooking, especially making french fries—but I think a bacon cheeseburger is self-explanatory, and we deviated from every conceit of it, so I’m just going to focus on, and I mean this with all sincerity, one weird trick to make a substitute for vegan bacon.

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I got really into the first season of Bob’s Burgers because I was convinced beyond doubt that it was just too funny, too alt-comedy, and too progressive (when compared to other family sitcoms) to last beyond that. Several seasons later, I joined my bff Lauren’s Bob’s Burgers podcast, Erotic Friend Fiction. My tenure lasted a few episodes before we put the project on hold, because Lauren and I are feminist writers, and sometimes when you’re paid to dislike things on a public forum, it can be hard to like the things you love.

Meanwhile, we’re putting our love for Bob’s Burgers towards remaking the burgers on the show vegan.

Straight up: if you’re rolling your eyes right now, fuck you. This is a TV show about a family, two of whom have a violent seafood allergy, selling burgers in a seafood town. There is nothing frivolous or inconsistent in making comfort food accessible, especially in this context.

That said, god it’s so frustrating when places don’t have vegan bacon but they have vegan other meats. It’s like, what gives?

Okay. So, in the event that your trusty grocery store doesn’t have vegan bacon, look for vegan deli meat that has smoke flavor in the ingredients. This includes Tofurky’s Smoked Ham and Hickory Smoked and Lightlife’s Veggie Turkey.

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Peel off two deli slices from the pack at a time, and then cut the double-thick rounds into strips.

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Fry them good in oil. What the double-thick texture does is allow you to have a super coarse, smokey crunchy outside but a chewy, almost jerky-like consistency that we’ve all come to know and love about bacon.

And, keeping it consistent with the original recipe, you can dice up some strips and mix them with fries to have vegan bacon fries. We ate chips because we were already putthing all this on sliced bread and [drivel about essentialist ideas around what canonically makes “a burger”].

Theoretically, you could also mix liquid smoke with non-smokey vegan deli meat.

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The appeal of a burger with everything on it is the sublime clash of textures and flavors, both complex and comfortably simple. And the fake fake bacon helped round this out. Cool, sweet, savory, smokey, meaty, nutty and mustardy. This is what my great grand-parents crossed an ocean to get to this country for. Well, that, and to escape a socio-economically declining Europe that was giving rise to fascism. And centuries of stigma and systemic disenfranchisement of Italians in Western Europe. I hope I’ve done your dreams proud, Bisonna—which is what I presume I would have called you if we were both alive at the same time. And you didn’t institute a “no speaking Italian” rule on your children to ensure their assimilation.

Anyway.

In regards to the chunky red onions: it’s kind of a…fixation for me.

If you’d like to try making this burger and want some company, Lauren and I recorded ourselves making it! Excuse the plugs for a podcast currently on hiatus. You know how it goes.

Not only should you pay Lauren to write for you, you should also consider paying her to narrate you cooking.

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