In the latest labeling scandal to rock the foodie world, an Oakland-based restaurant is enduring a Yelp-inspired pile-on for failing to reveal that trace amounts of compassion were discovered in its homemade sausage. The eatery, Olde Depot, is widely known for its delicious vegan sausages. However, its reputation did not precede it for a carnivorously-inclined cohort whose palates were unknowingly violated by the bitter taint of compassion.
Although not regulated by the USDA, compassion has been known to show up periodically in various types of food. For a certain caste of consumer, however, sausage—no matter how it tastes— isn’t sausage if it contains compassion residues exceeding .000666 ppm. If vast pools of blood weren’t spilled to honor its essence, experts believe that the integrity of a sausage will be compromised. The terror of terror, they argue, must be preserved. When Slow Food USA learned that Olde Depot was surreptitiously serving mouth-watering cruelty-free sausage, it vowed to redouble its efforts to label all “real” sausage as containing “suffering of unimaginable proportions.”
One Marinta T. was beside herself with rage over the intrusion of compassion into her sausage-eating experience. In a scathing 2-star Yelp review, she recalled her sense of betrayal upon learning that the sausages she ordered were “vegan and 100 % soy-based” rather than non-vegan and 100% suffering based. She wrote, “I promptly handed mine over to our hungry vegetarian friend and we all finished our 2nd round of beer.
The fact that Olde Depot did not take adequate precautions to warn consumers about the compassion adulterating their sausage has, according to Marinta, serious safety implications. Asked to elaborate, she noted that 1)” Some vegetarians may have no idea and go hungry”; and, 2) “some meat eaters may not enjoy their meal, and be disappointed.” The USDA is investigating.
Amy C. (not unlike that protagonist in The Crying Game) was similarly scarred by an unexpected emotional experience with a sausage. Admitting in her own 2-star assessment that she actually enjoyed her cruelty-free links (calling them “fine and all”), she was nonetheless concerned about the psychic impact that ersatz sausage would have on what many restaurant analysts consider the most vulnerable consumers: the inebriated. (Olde Depot is joined with Beer Revolution.)
“I just keep thinking about how many (drunk) people must be totally disappointed,” she wrote. Indeed, although “excited about eating a juicy delicious meat sausage,” these drooling carnivores will sober up only to learn that their meal was cruelty-free. “It’s like eating a M&M when you think you’re eating a Skittles or vice versa,” she wrote, in an effort to provide meaningful perspective.
Speaking of which, to understand the frustration experienced by these meat eaters, imagine what it would be like to learn that someone had snuck onto the roof of your house and installed solar panels, thus running your household on renewable energy. True, your toaster would still pop up your toast, but it would fail to do so while burning fossil fuels, thus denying you and your family the authentic experience of destroying the environment when you totally didn’t have to.
David G, author of a damning 1-star review, sums up the Olde Depot affair this way: “I am most offended,” Mr. G explains, “by the lack of warning anywhere that states that this is a vegan sausage restaurant.” He continues, “Please change the menu immediately. If you guys want this offshoot of the successful beer bar next door to survive — trust me on this one. Guys want meat. Plain and simple.”
And, evidently, they want it totally untainted with the toxicity of basic human compassion. Plain. And. simple.