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.
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.
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!
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.