Katie and I were shopping at Whole Foods yesterday, and I saw a box labeled “Nature’s Burger.” It was a mix for making a vegetarian burger patty.

One of the strangest things I’ve seen in vegetarian/vegan products is the suggestion that somehow meat and dairy products are unnatural, but that processing the hell out of a few dozen vegetable distillates into something that vaguely approximates the experience of ground beef is “natural.”

I mean, I’ve seen slogans like “Nature’s alternative to cheese.” Do they find this mysterious vegetable-based mass lying around somewhere? No? It requires industrial processing? Well it’s not natural, then, is it?

In a similar vein, the abbreviation of organically-grown-and-processed to simply “organic” can make for some rather amusing phrasing. The coffee grinder had a sign explaining that it was used for both organic and conventional coffee beans, and if you wanted to ensure that your coffee “remained organic,” you should grind them at home. And yes, I knew what they meant, but I couldn’t help thinking, “What, they’re suddenly going to become silicon-based?”