There’s something about Cracker Barrel that really burrows its way into the American psyche. Maybe as a chain of Southern restaurants and country stores founded in the 1960s, it must shoulder the burden of our midcentury nostalgia, our collective yearning for a time when things were simpler and better (clarification: they never were). So when Cracker Barrel posted on Facebook about its breakfast sausage patties made from Impossible meat, followers of the brand demonstrated the hair trigger upon which they appear to live their lives.
The Impossible sausage patties debuted at Cracker Barrel earlier this year. In a statement, Cracker Barrel explained that the new protein option was part of a slate of breakfast menu offerings designed to “satisfy every taste bud—whether guests are nostalgic for homestyle food, hungry for a nutritious plant-based option or have a craving for a sweet treat.” But to many, these innovations were considered a direct threat to... I don’t know, American values?
An August 1 Facebook post from the brand reads, “Discover new meat frontiers. Experience the out of this world flavor of Impossible™ Sausage Made From Plants next time you Build Your Own Breakfast.” Its tone as a mere suggestion rather than a strict command was, apparently, lost on thousands of Facebook users.
Twitter user @whyangelinawhy tweeted a selection of screenshots showing responses to the post, with the apt caption, “Everyone’s having a normal one on the Cracker Barrel Facebook page.” They sure are!
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“Are you kidding me? Who do you think your customer base is?” wrote one angry respondent. “I still order the double meat breakfast and it’s not even on the menu anymore.”
“You just lost the customer base,” wrote another. “Congratulations on being woke and going broke...”
“Just another reason to avoid Cracker Barrel,” says a comment with 200 likes. “The cleanliness is awful, service has gone downhill, and now you are making sausage from plants, and seem proud of it. It is aptly named. ‘Impossible.’”
And of course, the GOAT comment makes an appearance: “This is bidens america [several vomit emoji].”
On and on it goes. While the question of what we eat and how we eat it will always be an emotionally charged topic, the consumption of animal products in particular is an inescapably political question. Given all that we know about the treatment of the animals involved, the impact of factory farming on the environment, and the way workers at processing plants are exploited, we all have to decide where we stand on the issue of consuming animal products, and it’s a choice everyone is free to make for themselves. So it seems bizarre to expend this much emotional energy decrying the fact that someone, somewhere might has made a choice that differs from my own. If Cracker Barrel wants to cater to a wider group of customers, what’s wrong with that? Is that not the most American impulse of all?
“I bet some of you went absolutely wild when they added Diet Coke to the menu way back in the day,” wrote one astute visitor to the Cracker Barrel Facebook page. And guess what? The restaurant still serves regular old Coca-Cola, too.