05:32:38 pm on
Monday 15 Jul 2024

Regarding Broccoli
David Simmonds

The late George H W Bush, President of the United States (above, left), put his foot down when it came to broccoli. “I do not like broccoli,” he said. “I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I’m president of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!”

H W might dance a jig.

President Bush would doubtless dance a little jig if he heard what Brad Deer, of Consecon, Ontario, was up to. Deer has come up with a broccoli substitute that looks like the real thing, but that contains no trace of vegetables, not even a vegetable taste.

Speaking at a news conference held on 3 February 2020, at the Consecon Legion, Deer said he had the idea for his product as he watched sales of Beyond Meat and similar meat substitute products grow. “All this holier than thou stuff about eating vegetables and not eating meat started to get to me. I thought there would be some blowback and when Tim Hortons announced it was getting out of the meat substitute business a few days ago, I had the marketplace sounding I needed. So, I decided to jump in.”

Just what is the product Deer suggests? Well, to look at it you would swear it is broccoli, but the product is in fact made from meat, using a special reconstituting formula that Deer is keeping close to his chest. “Nothing like adding in a little carpenter’s glue and vaping oil to help with the flavouring” he jokes.

His product, which he hopes to have in grocery stores by late spring, is to be sold under the brand name Above Broccoli. After that product catches on, he will launch companion vegetable substitute products such as Above Brussels Sprouts and Above Cabbage. Above Broccoli comes in two flavours, beef and chicken, although Deer advised that he is not averse to trying for a pork flavour as well. It will be available in the fresh vegetable aisle of your local supermarket.

The product might seem to be trading on the notoriety of meat substitutes, but there is a difference, as Deer points out. “When people buy a meat substitute, they want something made from vegetables that still tastes like meat. On the other hand, our product is for people who genuinely don’t like the taste of broccoli. So, the big difference is that it just looks like broccoli but can’t taste like broccoli; it tastes as meat, which it does, because it is, largely, meat.” Deer also hopes, of course, that those who share his sentiments about the bad rap meat has been getting will snap up his product.


According to the Food Guide.

Deer says that the has the backing of a major private venture capital firm and that he has the resilience to survive the doldrum period beyond the initial flurry of consumer interest in his product. “I fully expect to be standing here in five years,” he insists, “announcing the launch of a new product called Above Turnip. 

Isn’t Deer bucking a tide towards responsible eating? Didn’t Canada’s Food Guide come out about a year ago and state that we should eat more fruits and vegetables. In fact, doesn’t the picture of the perfect plateful on the front of the guide expressly show a few florets of broccoli, on the fruit and vegetables half of the plate?

Deer replies, calmly, that the Guide also advises Canadians to eat protein foods as well. He can’t be the guardian of everything they choose to put in their stomachs. And besides, he notes, who’s to say that those florets of broccoli shown on the cover aren’t really Beyond Broccoli florets.

Times have certainly changed since George Bush made his anti-broccoli statement in 1990. These days, especially today, when the final vote on Donald Trump’s impeachment is beginning, you have to wonder whether the Democrats would have been smarter to comb the public record for similar anti-vegetable statements made by Trump than to troll through his squeezing of the Ukrainians. Trump is said to be partial to burgers, fried chicken and a well-done steak, with ketchup, so he must have expressed malice towards the vegetable kingdom somewhere along the line. 

Trump is the ideal spokesperson for a broccoli is meat campaign.

Come to think about it, Trump would be an ideal candidate to try one of broccoli-is-meat products promoted by Deer. I hope Deer takes the initiative to send a box of his chicken and beef flavoured Above Broccoli to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, DC, tout de suite. Maybe if Trump is caught on camera trying out the product, he’ll be impeached, again, and this time convicted.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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