My Malmö friend is a vegan. That means she refrains from eating or purchasing animal products (meat, fish, dairy and eggs). I am fascinated by the food habits that come with veganism. Her cupboard is filled with dried beans, nuts, seeds and formerly to me unknown soy products. The first night she cooks me a pasta bolognese with soy crumbs. I’m curious how you cook a bolognese without cheese, or minced meat. But she does, by using Liquid Smoke. What? Yes, smoke from a bottle.
I was stunned. I could not other think of it than as a chemical additive, but Liquid Smoke promotes itself as a natural process. It’s just water, with a smokey flavor. The smokey flavor I like so much today, has never been the intention of smoking food. Smoking of foods, using freshly generated smoke, has been used for preserving foods for thousands of years. In particular suitable for perishable foods such as fish and meat, it turned out to also impart color and flavor to food. Whilst researching liquid smoke, I found a fascinating movie promoting it as a sustainable alternative to traditional smoking methods:
Of course, I could not resist to bring a bottle home, also to go along with all the dried soy products I bought from Astrid och Aporna, an organic, vegan and vegetarian grocery store. I like my vegetarian cassoulettes smokey. Meanwhile, today’s liquid smoke flavorings are used to replace traditional smoking of foods, but they can generate undesirable substances that may be hazardous to human health. The European Food Safety Authority has been researching this since 2010. Maybe better to stick to smokey eyes, then.