Move over, Bergdorf’s and Neiman Marcus. You’re not the only ones who can try to rebrand and sell food at an eyebrow-raising markup. British department store Marks & Spencer is now selling an item that it wishes to be known as “cauliflower steak" at the current asking price of £2 (the US equivalent of just over $2.71), on sale from its original price of £2.50. Oh, goody—a 20 percent discount! But on… what?
This so-called steak d’cauliflower is a hunk of sliced cauliflower wrapped in plastic packaging roomy enough to house a small child (thought we would not recommend wrapping your child in plastic). It is accompanied by "a little sachet of lemon and herb drizzle," Metro reported on Monday. The resemblance to what most people know as a "steak" is amorphous.
Manchester, UK resident Rachel Clarke posted a photo of the “steak” to Twitter last week, conveying her utter bewilderment at the fact that this is an actual thing people might buy over, say, a cheaper, unwrapped head of cauliflower that you can then cut yourself, at home, with a knife. Clarke, writing MUNCHIES on Monday, confirmed that she’d first encountered this cauliflower steak in a Marks & Spencer location in Manchester.
“I think because the actual value of a cauliflower is so low, the markup seems so ridiculous. It might put people off trying something like Veganuary if all they see is a cauliflower chopped up,” Clarke wrote MUNCHIES on Monday, referring to the movement that encourages people to try veganism once the New Year hits. “I think it's important to be innovative with food, but I feel pointing customers in the direction of fresh vegetables recipes would be a better approach.”
Clarke also noted that she was somewhat confused about the packaging for the product.
"We have launched a ready-to-cook Cauliflower Steak with a herb dressing as part of our new Veggie range," a Marks & Spencer representative wrote MUNCHIES on Monday, noting that other retailers in the country sell ready-made cauliflower steaks. "This is for customers looking for a quick and convenient vegetarian meal option.” The representative did not respond to inquiries regarding how long it’s been selling cauliflower steaks, how many stores it’s selling the cauliflower steak in, why it costs as much as it does, and what may separate it from, I don’t know, any other cauliflower head you’d find in a grocery store.
Regardless, it’s worth noting that the concept of a cauliflower steak is nothing new. It’s an aggressively uncomplicated dish, really, typically made by oven-roasting cauliflower heads that are sliced lengthwise, rubbed with herbs and spices, and cooked until tender.
READ MORE: Is Cocaine Vegan? It Depends on Who You Ask.
It is, in other words, a dish you can very easily make yourself for less money and with no plastic.