The idea that vegetarians were people who craved foods that mimicked meat to make up for the meat they rejected has been around a very long time. It is an idea perpetuated by people who aren’t themselves vegetarians, who find the very concept of not wanting to eat meat utterly baffling.
While leaving vegetarians to muddle through by themselves is acceptable, when it comes to entertaining, vegetarian guests pose a huge problem. What to serve them? Hence the many various recipes that call for ingenious replications of the meat experience. It’s as if the vegetarian really craves a hamburger but simply must refrain.
Creating an artificial steak is a bit tricky, so most recipes go for fake ground beef made from crumbled stuff. The Veggie Burger is now a staple in the frozen food aisle. This recipe from 1919 even goes so far as to eliminate butter, and doesn’t sound too appetizing. Perhaps the vegetarian would like some vegetables instead?
The Thrift Cook Book, Marion Harris Neil, 1919