In vitro meat sounds weird and gross, but Next Nature wants you to think about it. Not just think about eating it (or thinking smug thoughts about not having to, if you’re a vegetarian), but think about its bigger implications. Could it address world hunger? Would it change vegetarianism based on religious or moral concerns? And before you get too excited, how sustainable is it, really?
The group, part of Dutch design school Eindhoven Technical University, is coming out with The In Vitro Meat Cookbook next year to provoke those very questions. (Scientists served the world’s first in vitro burger in August, so it’s not completely farfetched.) The speculative cookbook combines interviews and essays from chefs, scientists, and researchers with some crazy-ass recipes:
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 to have correct ingredients and cooking techniques.
Some of the recipes seem intentionally perplexing. “Meat paint” is supposedly designed for kids ages 5 to 10, to involve them more heavily in their meal. “Once the drawing is finished, the painting is baked for 15 minutes in the oven,” says the cookbook’s Indiegogo page. “So it’s not just your child’s beautiful creation, it becomes a tasty meat dish too which the entire family can enjoy and eat!” Translation? It may hurt your eyes, but at least your kid’s “artwork” will go down easy with a glass of merlot.
As Next Nature’s Koert van Mensvoort points out, Spam is already a thing. How much weirder is in vitro meat?