- Website: http://www.nextnature.net
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Just what is the Next Nature Appzine? This iPad app presents a fascinating selection of material from our lustrous Next Nature book, wholly re-designed for the iPad and upgraded with interactive specials and audiovisual content. It’s nature, but not as you know it.
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At Home in the Lab with Mark Post, Father of the In Vitro Hamburger
We’re standing with Professor Mark Post in front of the three biggest bioreactors in the Netherlands, the machines humming faintly and filled with millions of busily dividing cow cells. While the term ‘bioreactor’ might call to mind a gleaming, swimming pool sized tank, the reality is far more prosaic. You’d be forgiven if you thought they were refrigerators.
Post, the man behind the world’s first lab-grown hamburger, aims for no less than a total transformation of the way we produce meat. “My goal,” he says, “is to replace the entirety of livestock production with in vitro meat.” Post’s relaxed manner belies the scale of his ambitions: “I dream that, at some point, McDonalds will approach me to produce all the hamburgers, all over the world.” By raising meat entirely in a lab, starting with stem cells and ending with full-grown muscle, Post hopes to make meat that’s cheaper, healthier, and more sustainable than the real thing. The everyday quality of the bioreactors in his facility acts as a metaphor for in vitro meat itself: a science-fictional achievement that aspires to not only be normal, but natural.
Two oranges, one piece of salmon and one hand of nuts; all in one small pill. It’s Food Technology!
From stone-axes to mobile phones, throughout history people have given birth to a wide range of technologies. Today, it is almost impossible to imagine a world without technology. Every human being on the planet employs technology of some sort, and every human has to cope with technological change at various points during his or her lifetime. Yet, despite our deep-rooted relationship with technology, most of us are still relatively unaware of how new technologies are introduced, accepted or discarded within our society.
In this talk at TEDxGhent, our own Dr. Van Mensvoort shows how technology becomes nature in seven steps and what engineers, inventors, designers and entrepreneurs can learn from that. The talk is based on the essay Pyramid of Technology, which is also available as a booklet + poster.
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The Next Nature Book, our ‘bible’, a compendium of the most thought provoking observations from nextnature.net, completely re-edited and supplemented by thematic specials, new visual material and stunning graphics, as well as essays.
The In Vitro Meat Cookbook, our hot off the press exploration of the new “food cultures” lab-grown meat might create, featuring 45 lab grown meat recipes that might be on your plate one day.
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Airline pilot working from home! Meme of the week.
Here is one for our Thai friends: If you happen to be in Bangkok this week, do consider attending the Creativities Unfold event, featuring visionary lectures from prominent ‘What if…” thinkers, including Daan Roosegaarde and our own Koert van Mensvoort. From 30-31 August in Bangkok Thailand.
Disoriented grandparents being guided around the mysteries of new technologies by their patient grandchildren, who cruise the online world with the assurance of digital natives. Just a cliché!
With the arrival of 3D food printers, cooking and heating food in the microwave oven seems so old-fashioned. But, you know, grandma’s cooking is always the best…21st century style!
Why must roads be gray and plain? You think it’s rural, instead it’s decoration for the next natural landscape of highways!
Hooray! Our In Vitro Meat Cookbook is now officially available. At the launch event creative director Dr. Koert van Mensvoort, handed the first copy out to Prof. Mark Post, who exactly one year ago presented the World’s first lab grown hamburger.
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 and will provide abundant food for thought and discussion.
Photo: Peet Sneekes.
Based on the Chinese art of ‘flowering tea’, meat flowers are sold as small, tightly wrapped bundles of in vitro meat. Only when placed in hot liquid do the round bundles magically unfurl into elaborate flowers, complete with delicate leaves and petals. Intricate designs such as chrysanthemums or liliescan take skilled meat artisans up to 15 minutes to assemble and sew.
So their intricate artistry can be admired from all angles, these flowers are best used in clear soup stock and served in glass containers. In the following recipe, a meat flower ‘blooms’ in a Vietnamese broth garnished with a garden of fragrant Asian herbs.
Meat fruit seduces diners with an entirely new eating experience that melds vegetarian and carnivorous traditions. Inspired by medieval dishes that fashioned fake fruit from real meat, meat fruit grows muscle tissue with a cellular structure that precisely mimics that of berries, oranges, or mangoes. Meat fruit combines the femininity of fruit with the masculine sensibilities of red meat in a hybrid celebration of our post-patriarchal, post-gender society.
Meat fruit lends itself to surprising combinations, such as in these tartlets that replace crème pâtissière with savory custard. Meat fruit ‘berries’ are a savory-sweet amuse bouche that begins with an intense hit of beef and finishes with the tart tones of forest berries.
The home incubator does for cooking what the electronic synthesizer did for musicians. A set of pre-programmed meats, tastes and textures allow home cooks to grow a mind-boggling variety of meats, from tuna steak to turkey meatballs to venison sausage. Adventurous cooks could remix species and styles, making delectable new creations that push the boundaries of what it means to be meat.
The home incubator’s website hosts lively forums where professional and amateur chefs can provide links to download what they’re growing. One of the most popular recipes will surely be Everything Stew. When cooks will realize they could fit 13 kinds of bioreactor-fresh meats into a single soup, they will pounce at the chance for a carnivore’s nirvana.
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.