Tag: Food Technology

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Food Technology

Paint by Numbers, then Eat It

“The Book Club”, a London-based venue, is teaming up with the company “Animal Vegetable Mineral” to create a workshop in which participants are able to create an “expression using all the senses” and then eat it. Along with chocolate model making and “sugar graffiti”, the workshop will include “edible painting-by-numbers”.

The team has created edible paint, inks and sugar-based sprays to daub onto specially designed images of “things like sandwiches and dogs”. This event presents new forms of expression and interaction with the process of preparing and eating food, and points out future directions for food culture. One day we might be seeing an eat-by-numbers based upon in-vitro meat paint. Imagine painting a charming cow out of beef paint and then chowing down on your masterpiece!

Facebook event page here.

early egyptians brewing beer

Did Booze Make Us Modern?

Psychiatrist Jeffrey P. Kahn believes that beer, far from being an agent of late-night chaos and early morning regrets, is what gave our ancestors modern civilization. Beer, he writes, triggered the leap from rule-bound hunter-gather groups into the creative, complex societies we’ve been enjoying for the last 10,000 years. Is there some truth in this statement, or is it no more solid than a foamy head of ale?

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Food Technology

“Soylent” Liquid Meals Will Save the World

Rob Rhinehart has found a way to stop eating. Tired of spending time, money and energy on preparing meals, this young American decided to find a new way to survive without actual food. He created a unique mixture called “Soylent”, which contains nothing but the elements the body needs: iron, vitamins, fat, calcium and dozens of other nutrients. This is minimalism in eating: Nothing in this beige milkshake-like beverage can be identified as coming from any recognizable food.

Rhinehart followed a strict Soylent diet for several weeks and was amazed by the results of the experiment. He felt and looked healthier, and saved money and time. You can read the whole story on his website, and even find the recipe to make your own Soylent shake.

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Food Technology

Q&A with CEO of In Vitro Meat Company “Modern Meadow”

Andras Forgacs, the CEO of in vitro meat (IVM) manufacturers Modern Meadow set up a Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”) a week ago to discuss the merits of his product. Below are a few extracts from the question-and-answer session:

Q. How confident are you that you can get it identical to a real steak within, say, 10 years?

A.Real steak is a big stretch. It won’t be the first product since steak is very hard to make for now. Instead, the first wave of meat products to be made with this approach will likely be minced meats (burgers, sausages, etc.) and pates (goose liver pate, etc.). Also seafood is an early possibility since the texture requires may be easier to achieve than premium cuts.

While I doubt anyone will make commercial quantities of premium steak within 10 years, we will eventually get there but it will be an Nth generation product.

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Nano Shots?
Food Technology

Nanotech Shots Take Mice from Drunk to Sober in Minutes

Ever curse the fact that you have to wait hours to sober up after a night at the bar? Now, you can sober up almost instantly  – that is, if you’re a mouse. Researchers at MIT have created an injection of alcohol-digesting enzymes in nanoscale “pills” that can quickly reduce the blood alcohol of mice.

Until now, scientists have struggled with using enzymes as medicine, since it’s difficult to create stable versions with a controlled size and arrangement. Enzymes are a type of protein that act as a catalyst to specific biological processes. In biological washing powder, for example, enzymes are used to catalyse (speed up) the breakdown of fats and proteins, letting us wash our clothes at lower temperatures and still sustain good results.

This effective new method of delivering enzymes might someday lead to medicines that could take humans from drunk to sober within a matter of minutes. Perhaps bars might offer these injections as a complimentary service to patrons. Whether it will cure a hangover remains to be seen.

For the full research report click here.


Maya YogHurt: Fermented Drink Made with Human Lactic Acid

Slovenian bioartist Maja Smrekar modified the genome of yeast with a part of her own DNA. This synthetic gene codes for the production of lactic acid, one of the most common food additives. The lactic acid was used to create “Maya YogHurt“, a fermented drink that was sampled by visitors to the Kapelica Gallery in Slovenia.

In a series of works entitled Human Molecular Colonization Capacity (Hu.M.C.C.) Smrekar explored the possibilities that our own enzymes might hold as a natural resources. She claims that our body is one of the few “uncolonized biotechnological materials” and could become a “trade tool” based on a system of genetic credit.

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one third of all fish in the US is mislabeled

33% of All Seafood in the United States Is Fraudulently Labeled

A new study from the marine conservation group Oceana reveals that a full one-third of seafood across the US is mislabeled. Not surprisingly, the most expensive fish is also the most lied-about. Tuna was anything but tuna 57% of the time, while red snapper was another species in a whopping 87% of all cases. While cheaper, harmless species like tilapia are often substituted for the real deal, there’s at least one health threat on record: “White tuna” might actually be escolar, a tasty fish that nonetheless causes oily, explosive diarrhea.

As with the horse meat scandal, it’s astonishing how few consumers can tell the difference between species the we assume to be wildly different. It all comes down to marketing that treats fish like brands – just as that Nike swoosh is more important than the shoe itself, the words “bluefin tuna” matter far more than the actual taste.

Image from Flickr user Whologwhy.

algae opera feeds algae with the breath of a singer

“Algae Opera” Nourishes Algae with a Singer’s Breath

Are you blessed with a Maria Callas kind of voice? If, like us, you don’t go beyond croaking the occasional ” I want to break free” in the shower, watch out. If the artists of Algae Opera have their way, your morning algae might not taste so sweet.

Algae Opera debuted at the London 2012 Design Festival as part of Isoculture, a project that redesigns the city as a self-sustaining system. The structure, created by After Agri, channels the flow of CO2 produced by the powerful lungs of an opera singer’s breath into plastic tubes that feed what may soon become a fundamental source of nutrition: algae. But that’s not all there is to this synesthetic experience. The song and modulation of the singer’s voice, in connection with new techniques of sonic enhancement, influence the perception of the eating experience, shifting the taste of algae to either bitter or sweet.

Algae opera is a project that reframes art as a functional actor in future society, recontextualizing opera from a pleasing aesthetic experience to a functional tool to grow food. The project shows how society’s sensibilities can be reframed through technology and creativity, in order to deal with the challenges we’ll face as inhabitants of an overpopulated planet. So lie back and relax: dinner will be ready around the third act.

Story via Wired. Image via Laughing Squid.

Food Technology

Meat & Greet Workshop Report

Last week a fine selection of in-vitro meat connoisseurs gathered during a ‘Meat & Greet’ workshop at Eindhoven University of Technology. We exchanged perspectives, shared knowledge and explored speculative design opportunities of In-Vitro Meat with a philosopher, biologist, design students, and a documentary director. Below are some snapshots.

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