LIVING LIGHT
Living Light
Welcome! You have found the site of the CreationKeepers team (Christ Church's Eco Church Committee), which shares ideas and experiences about how we can all lighten our environmental footprint. We do this because we see our planet and its resources at a breaking point and believe in the power of personal examples. Most weeks, we will reflect on some aspect of living, working, shopping, consuming, reading, learning, etc. These are all local experiences and can easily be adopted by others in our community. Our authors (Rosie and Monika) look forward to any comments or ideas that you may also have and want to share. Send us your ideas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Blog #4: Meatless in Vienna: A Guide for the Carnivore

February 4, 2021
Monika Weber-Fahr
Yes, you read it right: This blog is about carnivores, meat lovers, those amongst us who just really relish a good steak, thoroughly enjoy their Broetchen with Austrian ham (“Beinschinken”) and Kren, and thrive on their Wiener Schnitzel. We will explore what options there are in Vienna for meat lovers to happily shift to somewhat less meaty pathways without feeling they’re missing out. Impossible? Well, I checked it out with real people, taking my adolescent boys and better half as test subjects, all three of them committed carnivores. Unexpectedly so, the pilot involved some fun moments and surprises. The first was my 18-year-old’s reaction: When confronted with the idea of checking out some meatless meat, he nonchalantly produced a video from his favorite youtube blogger, Mark Rober, who had put out a fun and informative video on the subject: “Feeding Bill Gates a Fake Burger.” The appeal of the video: Mark is a scientist, ex-NASA engineer, and fun to watch. Plus, he is really only looking at what are broadly considered the two best meat-replacements in the market right now: Impossible Meat and Beyond Meat. Compact and for the non-reader, the video offers, in 17 minutes, most of the pluses and minuses, myths and myth-busters, around the two market leaders in meat replacements.
So why do a personal experiment? As Creation Keepers here at Christ Church in Vienna, we are interested in making personal choices, and yes, that includes the choice to eat less meat. Our rationale is simple: Consuming meat at today’s per-capita levels puts a MAJOR burden on our planet. Irrespective of where cows, pigs, hens and other animals live, the combination of their collective burping (methane) and feeding simply results in enormous amounts of greenhouse gases being released, thus driving climate change. Even here in happy little Austria? Yes! Here in Austria, we are not only amongst the top 10 on the global list of meat consumers, at somewhere between 90 and 100kg/per person/year, but we also compete with Spain for first place in Europe. Most interestingly, if Austrians would follow the dietary recommendations of their own health authority and eat meat 2-3 times per week rather than, as they currently do, about 300 grams daily on average, Austria could cut down greenhouse gas emissions related to agriculture by nearly 50 percent. This is no small feat, given that agriculture drives nearly 20 percent of total emissions

Why eat less meat? Meat production generates many many times more greenhouse gases than pretty much any other food product. Source: WRI.
Enough about the data. What about the meat? We checked out burgers and tested three formats: ready-made, order-in, and minced meat (Faschiertes). Ready-made burger patties of the non-meat variation can be found in all known Viennese supermarket chains. We intentionally ignored the many sorts of veggie products and really focused on what was supposed to look, feel and taste like a burger: Garden Gourmet’s Vegan Burger (soy/wheat based), Garden Gourmet’s Sensational Burger (soy based), and the Vegini Burger (pea protein based). Billa, Spar, and Merkur carry them, sometimes in the cheese/non-meat aisle. Personally, I am a Vegini fan (I love their pulled chunks and the fact that they are made from pea protein), but the two Garden Gourmet products won our family testing. Barely recognizable as non-meat, the smokey taste convinced everyone, and yes, we will now add them to our family menu a few times a month. Note: InterSpar carries BeyondMeat burgers (I hear in the deep freeze section), but they are incredibly popular and were sold out twice when I tried to get them.
Burgers-to-order of the non-meat variation are available in many burger joints, but I had to be careful: Many would have not suited my meat-loving boys, being made of chickpeas, tofu, black beans and so on, designed more for veggie lovers. So we ordered an impossible burger product, the Rebel Whopper from Burger King, and a BeyondMeat burger, the Vegan Burger at Aufglegt in Landstrasser Hauptstrasse 14-16 in the third district. Both burgers won broad approval from the meat lovers in my house. The Vegan Whopper is barely distinguishable from the regular fare. And the BeyondMeat Burger was simply delicious. The former is affordable at around 5 Euros, the latter on the expensive side at above 10 Euros, but neither are out of step with the price of the real-meat alternative in their respective class.

Made from Beyond Meat, the Vegan Burger at Aufglegt feels and tastes like its meaty cousin
Minced Meat (“Faschiertes”) is last. Much of our food life with teenagers involves the pizza and spaghetti universe, and so we also stress-tested two versions of minced meat, respectively applied in bolognese sauce that we ate with pasta. We tried Hofer’s JustVeg veganes Faschiertes (based on pea protein) at 3 Euro/200 grams and Spar’s Hermann Faschiertes, an Austrian product based on mushrooms and egg, for 3,50 Euro/150 grams. Fried in the pan, together with onions, salt, pepper and paprika, Hofer’s product comes very close to the real thing in taste and consistency, in particular when mixed with tomato sauce, oregano and other Italian spices. Hermann Faschiertes, on the other hand, will not come to our fridge again. Hofer’s is now on our family menu going forward.