By the turn of the century, some people began raising questions about our meat consumption habits. As early as 1894, French chemist Pierre-Eugene Marcellin Berthelot had actually predicted the advent of lab-grown meat. In a press interview, he predicted that by the year 2000 humans would no longer rely on farming to source their food. When asked about the complexity of growing meat, he insisted that it would be only a natural extension of human progress, in the same way that electricity had come to replace the open flame.
Of course, the most famous savant is Winston Churchill. In his 1931 essay for Strand Magazine, he claimed that “we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.” Churchill wasn’t the only one, though. In 1930, the Earl of Birkenhead wrote in his book about the year 2030 that “It will no longer be necessary to go to the extravagant length of rearing a bullock in order to eat a its steak.” Predictions of synthetic foods and chemical kitchens would abound through the next few decades.
Image via harryneelam.com (Yousuf Karsh portrait of Churchill)