A vegan animal activist (Josh), a flexitarian small-batch coffee roaster (Mark), and a raw veggie humanitarian (Tim) went out to hike Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in all of Colorado. The 14,440 ft. mountain had always intrigued the trio, who often dreamed of lofty things and ever loftier ideals – like quality, justice, and fun times. As these manly men, who were also in touch with their feminine sides, reached the summit, they realized that they were alone, and also surrounded by odd clouds.
“Where are the other climbers?” pondered Josh.
“Yeah, guys, this is really weird.” stated Tim, nervously.
Just then Mark, who has very sharp eyes, pointed to an opening in the clouds. “Guys, look! An opening in the clouds!”
The trio walked anxiously toward the opening. More clouds moved away, and what was formerly the summit of Mt. Elbert revealed an even taller peak behind it! Mark, Tim, and Josh, seeking adventures beyond their wildest dreams, climbed higher.
GPS devices failed, boots fell apart, and rations (no animal products) ran low, but the team advanced, fighting through vicious hailstorms and snowfall and angry goats to reach the True Peak of Mt. Elbert. The journey took many minutes.
As the trio emerged to a sunny and warm rock field at the previously hidden summit, they beheld a small Chinese man (of course) meditating (of course) intently (of course) upon three small wrapped packages at his feet.
“You have come a long way to be with me this day, my friends.” said the wizened old bastard.
Josh, Mark, and Tim approached the old man cautiously and took up seated positions in front of him.
“Do you seek to unlock the ancient secrets of seitan?” the man asked.
“Say what?” questioned Mark.
“Thousands of years ago, empires rose and fell upon the fortunes of their wheat meat. Seitan is the logical conclusion to all things. You three have been chosen to reveal its existence to the world. Take the packages in front of you and return to the human world. Change the diets of Americans for the better while at the same time providing an artisanal food at a not-quite-artisanal pricepoint.” And with that, the old man vanished.
Tim, Josh, and Mark each unopened one of the mysterious packages. They were, indeed, filled with delicious, hearty wheat gluten in a variety of flavors. Josh, who speaks Chinese, read the ancient recipes and their names: “Chickenesque – comforting like the soup of the same name on a cold day. SmokySpicy – with a kick and long-lasting flavor. Sicilian – Classic Italian flavors with a kidney bean twist.”
The trio embraced and jumped into the air at the same time while each taking a big bite of seitan, which was super-tasty. Bright light exploded behind them and they paused in mid-air like some kinda movie.
They ran back down the mountain as fast as they could to bring the gift of delicious, artisan seitan to the people of the world.
And thus was born the Denver Seitan Company.
Note: This story inspired by a fever dream that Tim’s little brother had a decade ago.