- Website: http://www.nextnature.net
Bathed in a warm sea of serum, row upon row of miniature bioreactors nurture small morsels of flesh. Twice a day the nutrient rich tide recedes, triggering the muscles to contract and clamp the hinged halves of their bioreactors tightly shut. It this daily cycle that gives in vitro oysters their much-lauded texture.
When the muscle has fully grown, the in vitro oysters are pried from their electrical connections and shipped to lab-food markets and high-end restaurants. Connoisseurs may become adept at picking out the terroir of each lab, from the briny metal overtones of Atlantic serum to the sweeter, more rounded flavor from Pacific facilities. As ocean-based oyster beds have all but vanished, in vitro oysters may prove an exquisite alternative.
There’s something deeply satisfying about eating meat from the bone. Once meat will be disembodied and grown in a lab, diners will be deprived of one of the primal pleasures we share with wolves and lions. Made of cultured meat grown around an ersatz bone scaffold, bone pickers satisfy our carnal appetite for gnawing and ripping. The bone doubles as a useful handle, just like a chicken’s leg bone or a crown roast of lamb, so diners don’t have to get their fingers dirty. After a meal, a pile of beautiful, abstracted bones remains, which can be handed to the family dog or recycled to create the next round of bone pickers.
Many people dismiss lab-grown meat as slick, soulless and completely artificial. Slow-food enthusiasts and organic-only eaters feel uncomfortable dining on a food that seems utterly divorced from centuries of traditional farming and cooking. In response to these concerns, rustic in vitro bioreactors bring artisanal production methods back to cultured meats. The shapes of these bioreactors recall primal cuts of beef or whole Spanish hams. As the meat grows over the course of several months, it develops deep, complex flavors that range from black truffle to oak. The longer rustic in vitro is left to ripen, the more character the replicating cells acquire.
Throughout human history, eggs and bone marrow have been one of the most sought-after sources of protein and fat. In fact, the need to smash apart bones to get at the marrow may have been one of the forces that drove our ancestors to adopt stone tools. In a continuation of these ancient tastes, the lab-stylized marrow bone takes the buttery goodness of marrow and packages it with the convenience of an egg.
These dainty ‘eggs’ aren’t filled with yolk, however, but with snow-white cultured marrow. The 3D-printed exterior is inspired by the ‘test’, or shell, of a sea urchin, and adds valuable calcium to a dish. Lab-grown marrow bones lend meaty notes to vegetarian soups, and taste delicious when roasted and spread on toast – no stone bludgeon required.
Without blood vessels, nerves or organs, in vitro meat can be manufactured to be nearly transparent. See-through sashimi mimics the same physical structures that make glass frogs look like glass or jellyfish look like jelly, creating nearly invisible meat with a pure, delicate flavor. Honest from the Lab.
Grown in thin sheets in completely sterile conditions, see-through sashimi is cultured from meltingly tender blue fin tuna. Not only is it fattier and tastier than real tuna, it could also halt the overfishing of these threatened species. Arrange slices of see-through tuna like a traditional platter of fugu sashimi, or put a European spin on the dish by constructing a stained glass window made entirely of seafood.
According to legend, Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in her drink in order to win a bet with Marc Anthony over who could spend the most on a meal. Nowadays, extravagant queens have it a little easier thanks to lab pearls. These delicate structures, reminiscent of fish roe or tapioca balls, are filled with lab-grown animal fat. Drop a few into your salad for a burst of flavor. Scatter some across a freshly toasted baguette with a sprinkle of gray sea salt. Lab pearls are also suitable for traditional foods. They can be used to replace the schmaltz in matzo balls or the lard in Mexican tamales. An aged variety even matches the nutty taste of fine Italian lardo. Time to pile on the pearls!
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Magic meatballs playfully familiarize children with the concept of in vitro meat. Just like modeling clay, a package of magic meatballs comes in a rainbow of meat colors, with exciting add-ins for flavor, texture and nutrition. Kids love to help out in the kitchen by transforming healthy in vitro meat into beach balls, Easter eggs or even pint-sized snowmen.
With the solar system activity pack, kids can create fun meatballs while learning about the planets. Use these serving suggestions to make your own tasty universe. To complete the look of an outer space expedition, serve the meatballs with black pasta and a sprinkle of ‘stardust’, or Parmesan cheese.
The dodo has returned! To the dinner table, at least. Thanks to a dried dodo specimen in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, it becomes possible to sample what the first sailors to visit Mauritius did in 1598. Tissue engineering and advanced genetic sequencing allow food scientists to resurrect the living flesh of this long-extinct species. Kids go crazy for the crispy flavor of cutting-edge science, especially when served with a honey mustard dipping sauce. In this recipe, dodo nuggets are used as the ‘bread’ for a bacon and blue cheese sandwich, perfect for serving as a snack on game day.
The length of a muscle fiber was once limited by the size of the animal it was growing in. Now, freed from the constraints of the body, it’s possible to culture “thread” made from long strands of muscle tissue. Colorful spools of meat yarn, from the light pink of chicken to the vibrant red of beef, can be woven into eye-catching patterns.
Supermarkets could install knitting machines with pre-set patterns, making it easy to knit a package of burgers or a meaty scarf. A portable model could come with easy-to-use design software for home knitters. Knitting enthusiasts could enjoy gathering in walk-in refrigerators to swap techniques. Over the holidays, many families could replaced the traditional turkey or ham with a festive centerpiece of knitted meat.
Save the date. On the 5th of August, exactly one year after the presentation of the World’s first lab grown hamburger, the In Vitro Meat Cookbook will be presented at Felix &Foam in Amsterdam.
Using the format of the cookbook as a storytelling medium, the In Vitro Meat Cookbook is a visually stunning exploration of the new “food cultures” lab-grown meat might create. This book approaches lab-grown meat not just from a design and engineering perspective, but also from a societal and ethical one.
This cookbook features dozens of recipes that are delicious, uncanny, funny and inspiring. Think of meat paint, revived dodo wings, meat ice cream, cannibal snacks, steaks knitted like scarves and see-through sushi grown under perfectly controlled conditions. Though you can’t cook these recipes just yet, they’ve all been developed with strict culinary rigor.
Recent researches say nearly one in 10 children gets the first mobile phone by the age of five. How was life before 24/7 online connectivity, they’ll never know!
Birds chirping, tree leaves rustling, whispering wind; I love the sound of nature…MP3 compilation!
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Today we inaugurate a new series of homemade memes. Every Monday you’ll get your dose of next nature humorous and thought-provoking observations. Enjoy!
Here is one for our German speaking friends. Austrian TV show TM Wissen visited the Next Nature Network to report on the “verstörende visionen und unberechenbare technologien” those crazy creative Dutch folks are exploring.
While playing a game of Fake For Real, the documentary investigates our Society of Simulations and its impact on journalism. An English version of the documentary should be online soon and we will of course post it once it becomes available.
If you happen to be in Amsterdam next wednesday you might also want to attend the Tegenlicht Meetup at the Zwijger. Keep it real unreal folks!
The NANO Supermarket is evolving! After three successful years touring the globe presenting speculative products to over 50.000 people, the NANO supermarket is now entering its third edition. We are calling upon designers, technologists and artists to submit their speculative nanotech products for the next round of the NANO supermarket. A selection of the most innovative products will be exhibited in the physical space, and featured in the accompanying catalogue. The best product overall will win a € 2500 prize.
Nanotechnology is an important emerging technology – it radically intervenes with our sense of what is natural – yet most people are still relatively unaware of its consequences. The Next Nature NANO Supermarket is a physical “supermarket” that features debate-provoking visions on nanotech products that could be expected to hit the shelves between today and 2020.
Just what is a nano product? Click through for some examples of our past entries: Interactive Paint, Twitter Implants, an Energy Belt that allows you to charge your phone from your own belly fat, Molecular printed food, metabolic guardians, an environmentally friendly Algue Lamp, biocustomized sneakers from genetically modified stingray leather, a Smoke Dress, bioorganic jewelry and donor organs crafted by silk worms.
Besides submitting a product to the call you can also host the NANO Supermarket at your city or event.
For information and updates, visit nanosupermarket.org. Submission deadline 15 May 2014.