This Facebook Group Takes Seitan Worship To The Next Level


In 2018, I joined The Seitan Appreciation Society, the best Facebook group on earth. Seitan ― pronounced “say-TAN,” not “devil” ― is an typically misunderstood meat substitute, to not be confused with the satan. It additionally shouldn’t be confused with different meat substitutes like tofu and tempeh, in that seitan isn’t produced from soy, however relatively wheat.

Since becoming a member of the group, I’ve spent most Sundays whipping up delicious pretend meat primarily based on the group’s newest insights and concepts. I’ve upped my vegan cooking sport tenfold, because of the group, however my obsession has all the time felt a bit area of interest and bizarre. Once I inform my pals about The Society, I do know I’m giving them “One time? At band camp?” vibes.

So, think about how my coronary heart leaped to find that Gen Z has been fortunately making seitan on TikTok, impressed by consumer futurelettuce’s “two ingredient vegan chicken.” The development’s been covered everywhere, and YouTube is ablaze with attempts. The second I watched futurelettuce’s video, I knew he, too, was a Society member. He rapidly confirmed this over e-mail and agreed with me that a few of the most progressive plant-based cooking happening right now is occurring within the group. Because of futurelettuce, seitan has entered the zeitgeist. It’s time to unfold the phrase.

However what the heck is seitan?

In a lot of the English-speaking world, seitan refers to a meat substitute produced from gluten, the protein component of wheat. It may be made two methods: with important wheat gluten, a powdered type of already-isolated protein; or by kneading a ball of dough underwater to scrub the starch away. The latter takes longer, however it’s thrilling to observe the stretchy, protein-blob emerge, then prepare dinner it into fibrous “meat.”

(And should you’re questioning why vegans would need to eat one thing meat-like, futurelettuce places it merely: “Veganism isn’t about not consuming meat. It’s about not consuming animals.”)

Seitan is nothing new, as many responders to futurelettuce had been fast to level out; neither is it a “weird white vegan thing.” Of her Singaporean Chinese language heritage, Society member Jaki Teo wrote on Instagram: “Mock meat is so widespread in our dietary tradition that no one offers a single f. Vegans eat it, non-vegans eat it, and we even supply it to lifeless folks at their graves.”

Yancy Nurse, a commenter on BuzzFeed’s futurelettuce post, additionally reminisced about her Barbadian grandmother washing flour. “I by no means knew the place she realized it from,” Nurse informed HuffPost. “However when she made it, everybody confirmed up. Even meat eaters liked it!”

Futurelettuce informed BuzzFeed: “Folks have [asked] ‘How did you work this out?’ Which I really feel dangerous about as a result of these strategies date again to China 1000’s of years in the past.”

Certainly, gluten-based fake sausage and eel recipes seem in Chinese language texts as early as 1301. In America, the Thirties gluten experiments of the Seventh-day Adventists birthed, amongst different curiosities, canned veggie hotdogs. A jerky-like product dubbed seitan was dropped at America from Japan within the late Sixties by macrobiotics founder George Ohsawa, and the phrase advanced to confer with all gluten merchandise in English. Western seitan recipes have become increasingly complex, however till I joined The Society I had no concept I might come near the deliciousness I’d tasted at Buddhist vegetarian eating places in my very own kitchen.

The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, 1975. Residents of the famous Tennessee commune realized to make gluten from the Seventh-day Adventist cookbook “Ten Talents,” in line with former farm resident and present society member Nancy Jones Presley.

Enter The Seitan Appreciation Society

The first time I scrolled by means of the Facebook group, my jaw dropped. House cooks from everywhere in the world had been making gluten-based steaks, turkeys, hams, lambs, spam, bologna, salami, bacon, bratwurst, pork stomach, salmon, drumsticks, wings, nuggets, oxtails — any meat I plugged into the search bar introduced again hits.

For taste and texture, folks used miso, wine, douchi, molasses, MSG, cocoa, espresso, marmite, rice paper, sourdough, sauerkraut, yuba, tapioca, “bones” fabricated from parsnips, beetroot powder, and on and on. Methods ranged from easy braising and roasting to sous vide and brining for days. I couldn’t sleep for inspiration.

The Society was created in Could of 2017 by U.Okay.-based Mike Rigby, a tireless admin of many vegan teams. “Lacey Siomos was well-established as a tremendous house chef, so I picked her immediately to assist set it up,” Rigby mentioned.

Siomos, the inventor of Chickwheat — a shredded rooster sub produced from chickpeas, important wheat gluten and a stable eight minutes within the meals processor — was perfecting these elusive shreds when Rigby reached out.

“I’m a giant fan of open supply,” Siomos mentioned. “We needed a approach to share concepts.”

Lacey Siomos’ chickwheat shreds.

Lacey Siomos’ chickwheat shreds.

“As soon as the geniuses of the seitan sport moved in,” Rigby defined, “we had a whole lot of curiosity.”

Right this moment, The Society has virtually 80,000 members and grows day by day. Although some early heavy hitters have moved on, there’s no scarcity of geniuses. “Like, it’s precise meals science. Molecular gastronomy. It’s fascinating,” Siomos mentioned. “It began again with Buddhist chefs and now there are folks all throughout the globe making wonderful seitan.”

The Influencers:


Aleksandra Feodorovna’s ham, created using a pâte feuilletée technique.

Aleksandra Feodorovna’s ham, created utilizing a pâte feuilletée approach.

Nobody within the group makes extra elegant pretend meats than Aleksandra Feodorovna. Her posts have included filet mignon, salmon en papillote, steak tartare, a turducken, and a pâte feuilletée-inspired ham.

I began cooking with my grandmother once I was 5,” mentioned Feodorovna, an habit counselor born in Mexico, primarily based in Houston. “She was the primary individual I ever noticed washing flour — that is 1966. Meat in Mexico then was costly. I used to be mesmerized {that a} ball of dough become one thing like that!”

“Cooking is my type of activism,” Feodorovna added. “I share my meals with co-workers and pals. Pâte feuilletée isn’t a way for everyone — it takes a very long time. However the outcomes are wonderful. I took that ham to work and so they had been like, ‘This is meat.’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’s wheat.’”

At the moment, Feodorovna is documenting her non-seitan cooking in a group of her own and is engaged on a cookbook. “Mike has offered a beautiful assembly place for everyone,” she mentioned.

Kat Ott

Kat Ott’s deli turkey.

Kat Ott’s deli turkey.

Blogger and mother Kat Ott’s lunchmeat recipes have been many members’ (together with futurelettuce’s) first seitans.

“I used to be impressed to dive deeper into experimenting as soon as I joined The Society,” Ott mentioned. “I used to be spending quite a bit on prepackaged vegan lunchmeats for my children. I needed to create a deli turkey that will slice tremendous skinny just like the manufacturers they appreciated.”

She nailed that and many more.

Yessica Infante

Yessica Infante’s washed flour brisket with chimichurri sauce.

Yessica Infante’s washed flour brisket with chimichurri sauce.

Whereas Ott and Feodorovna stay important wheat gluten devotees, the washed flour methodology is having a second. Yessica Infante, a sports activities heart worker and mother from California, eradicated meat and dairy for well being, however her household as soon as loved wings and steak.

“I really like the chewiness,” Infante mentioned. “I used to be like, ‘If we’re going to make this work, I’ve to have some mock meat we’re all going to take pleasure in.’ Once I realized to scrub flour, I couldn’t imagine it. The taste was so good.”

Infante now has YouTube tutorials for drumsticks, brisket, tacos al pastor and oxtails in birria sauce (jicama and rice paper stand in for bones and tissue).

“My household has a ranking system,” she mentioned with amusing. “If a recipe’s an 8 out of 10 or above, I submit it. If not, I mess around extra.”

The Society’s assist gave her the arrogance to begin her channel. “Folks within the group are asking for my recipe, so why not ship?”

Mark Thompson, aka Sauce Stache

Mark Thompson’s latest seitan creation for his YouTube channel, Sauce Stache.

Mark Thompson’s newest seitan creation for his YouTube channel, Sauce Stache.

Like everybody else I spoke to, Infante cites as an affect Mark Thompson, aka Sauce Stache. And Thompson, when we chatted, cited Infante proper again. “I hope her stuff takes off,” he mentioned. “Throughout this seitan growth persons are sharing my movies, however it’s like, share hers! That brisket’s mind-blowing!”

This enthusiasm permeates his channel — a food-sciencey check kitchen dedicated to plant-based every thing (together with cracking the code on Past Meat sausages’ snap).

Throughout a bout of vegan bacon tests, commenter Nigel Frazer-Ashbrook, an indication language interpreter from Scotland whose butter beany creation was ripping by means of The Society, steered Thompson attempt his recipe. Thompson did a riff and promptly joined The Society himself.

Whereas Thompson’s experiments have introduced substances like methylcellulose to the seitan sphere, the inspiration goes each methods. Society member Oncle Hu’s pastrami, which includes washing out much less starch to create “fatty” pockets, was the newest innovation to encourage a Sauce Stache video. “That was one thing actually wild,” Thompson mentioned.

Again to the long run(lettuce)

Futurelettuce, too, is an Oncle Hu fan: “We message forwards and backwards, he taught me quite a bit.” Once I ask the way it feels to have made washed flour viral, he’s considerate. “If I had been eager to see one thing on TikTok that was stunning … effectively, washing flour was one thing that stunned me greater than something.”

“I’ve a little bit of remorse that I didn’t go into extra element within the first video,” he added. “Some folks don’t wash sufficient. They end up with fried bread. My dream is that somebody watches, goes, ‘That’s attention-grabbing!’ and appears it up. I didn’t even have measurements! It’s as primary because it will get.”

For those who’re able to get past primary, The Society is right here for you. Whereas it is filled with geniuses, the soul of the group are the 1000’s of members who share each day encouragement, methods, incredible tutorial recommendations and jokes about how stretched gluten appears to be like like, effectively, see for your self beneath.

Come be a part of us (learn the pinned FAQ!) and sink your enamel into do-it-yourself meat fabricated from wheat!

Al Diabolo’s stretched gluten dough gets the jokes going.

Al Diabolo’s stretched gluten dough will get the jokes going.


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