Image: Burger King

I don’t pretend to have outgrown fast food any more than I ever pretended that whenever I opened a copy of “Playboy” it was to read the articles only. I don’t often eat fast food these days, but I am not above stopping at a Burger King on one of the rare occasions that I’m on the Jersey Turnpike at lunchtime. In my defense, I should note that BK is about the only game in town on that artery.

Nevertheless, for me as a food writer, fast food has a role akin to that of a canary in a coal mine. So it was with interest that I read in Nation’s Restaurant News that Burger King is launching two new plant-based Impossible offerings, both made with bacon and American cheese. That’s not a typo. I didn’t omit the euphemistic quotes around “bacon” and “American cheese,” signifying that these are animal protein-free alternatives to the foods named.

Should you care to know what else is on the sandwiches, you can read the particulars here, but the phrase crispy bacon used in the description of the Southwest Bacon Whopper speaks volumes to me.

I’m not alone in wondering whether this is a sign of weakening in the vegan movement. Green queen, a cite dedicated to promoting a healthier planet, writes that “as a way to tempt meat-eaters to consume less animal protein, the two new Impossible launches are a positive step forward, though the inclusion of cheese and bacon could be observed as a step back.”

Consider that since its transformation to an all-plant-based restaurant, Eleven Madison Park no longer requires 6-month waits for a table. I’m wondering if the handwriting is already on the wall.

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