Tag: Food Technology

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Food Technology

In Vitro Recipe #10: Home Incubator

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.

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Food Technology

The Bottle of The Future is an Edible Blob

Like in a microcosm, what if we could drink from a giant drop of water?
The bottle of the future has the shape of a soft, hygienic, biodegradable and edible blob, where the liquid is kept together by a solution of brown algae and calcium chloride.

Ooho is a project from the Spanish trio Skipping Rocks Lab that represents a brilliant  solution to the major international issue of plastic bottle waste.

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Food Technology

Lab-Grown Bread for Your In Vitro Burger

Now that we’re on our way to in vitro meat and artificial eggs, how about some lab-synthesized toast? Okay, scientists can’t grow a loaf of bread in a test tube, but they have been able to create edible starch from otherwise indigestible cellulose – that is, from wood. Though the process is currently difficult and expensive, it may one day allow us to turn wood, agricultural waste and even algae into delicious, nutritious starch. Time for pancakes, potatoes, and pasta to come fresh from the forest!

Read the scientific paper here. Story via the Guardian. Image via Celebrate Forests.

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Anthropocene

Our Tribal Gut Bacteria Are Disappearing (And Why We’re Getting Fat)

It’s an old axe that you are what you eat, but a growing body of evidence suggests that, in terms of our gut bacteria, it’s really true. Recent research shows that the standard ‘Western’ diet high in animal fat, sugars, and refined carbohydrates fundamentally alters the bacterial ecosystem in our intestines. The bacteria that thrive in the house that McDonald’s built are not only associated with obesity, but may actually excrete waste compounds that cause obesity.

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Food Technology

Moments in Meat History Part IX – In-Vitro Meat

In 1995, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the use of in-vitro techniques for commercial meat production, paving the way for lab-grown meat products to make their way to the market. Dutch researcher Willem van Eelen received the first patent for in-vitro meat in 1999, embarking on an ambitious program a few years later with the Maastricht University that would result in the first lab-grown hamburger, presented and sampled by Mark Post summer 2013. In 2008 PETA threw their support behind the in-vitro cause, offering a yet-unclaimed $1 million prize to the first group to make a commercially viable lab-grown chicken substitute.

Image via baltimoresun.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Food Technology

Moments in Meat History Part VIII- Fast Food

The very first restaurant to typify the modern fast food genre was White Castle, who opened their first location in 1916 in Witchita, USA. Ironically, at the time fast food was considered to be a more transparent type of restaurant service because customers could watch their food being prepared while they waited. In 1948, McDonald’s adopted the same model, and began their expansion as the restaurant that we know today. In 1958 they sold their 100 millionth hamburger; when, in 1994, McDonalds sold their 100 billionth hamburger they simply stopped counting. The importance of fast food to the history of meat is that much like industrial farms and long-distance shipping and trade it introduced yet another layer of separation between farm and food, further abstracting the final meat product from the animal that provided it.

Image via comtemplative imaging (Flickr)

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Food Technology

Moments in Meat History Part VII – Factory Farming

In the 1950s, the transition towards what is now known as factory farming picked up speed with farmers beginning to keep their livestock indoors. Eventually animals were being kept in very close quarters, with the use of antibiotics and other interventions to counteract the natural effects of these living conditions. Factory farming has grown to become a major source of global meat production, and a major source of contention for environmental and animal rights activists. Major disease outbreaks in livestock populations have largely been confined to the factory farming era, as the cramped conditions facilitate the spread of diseases such as Foot-and-Mouth and BSE (Mad Cow Disease.) Concurrently, farming productivity has skyrocketed; the average US livestock farmer fed 25.8 people in 1960, while in 2005 the average farmer fed 155 people.

Image via aldf.org

Yousoff-Karsh-Winston-Churchill
Food Technology

Moments in Meat History Part VI – Meat the Future

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)