March 30, 2006
In the Future, the Meatspace Will be on the Counter!
In yet another “as strange as fiction” story, scientists are experimenting with a process that grows meat in an incubator. Similar to a breadmaker, the idea is you give your new “Ronco Meat Maker” a few cells of whatever tasty dead animal you’re interested in growing (perhaps a few pre-chewed bites of a really tasty hamburger you didn’t finish), then add whatever the meat equivalent of yeast is - close the lid and presto! A short while later, you have a large hunk of “pre-dead” animal just waiting to be consumed!
Instead of being cut from a farm animal, the beef, pork or chicken would be grown in incubators from a few starter cells, a growth medium and some hormones to get the cells to divide.
The first attempts by scientists who grow animal muscle tissue in the lab have been small in scale. But researchers are looking forward to the day when meat could be cultivated in industrial bioreactors or even in a device sitting on a kitchen counter…
…He said a device similar to a bread maker could one day be used to manufacture meat in the home.
Matheny said muscle produced in an incubator could have reduced fat content, and the process would do away with problems such as bacterial contamination and mad cow disease.
Call me crazed, but this seems to have all sorts of bizarre uses. Does this mean that in the future, when someone says, “eat me, asshole!”, you’re supposed to scrape off a few skin cells and put them in your Ronco Meat Maker machine? If so, what’s the comeback line supposed to be - “Will you supply katsup with that?”
In any event, it looks like the best this thing can do is create pre-processed meat items, so don’t expect a T-Bone steak out of the deal. And apparently, growing meat in an incubator leaves something to be desired in terms of taste - early tests show that grown frog muscle tissue tastes like “Jelly on a cloth.” Yum!