Salsicce e hamburger in provetta Le staminali contro la fame nel mondo

Entro sei mesi il primo wurstel in provetta. All’inizio sarà pallido e molliccio. «Ma miglioreremo colore e sapore»

LONDRA – La prima salsiccia in provetta sarà pronta entro sei mesi. Per ora l’aspetto non è dei più invitanti, pallida e molliccia, ma gli scienziati sono convinti che riusciranno presto a farla assomigliare a quella vera. E’ la rivoluzione che il mondo aspettava. Con l’arrivo della carne artificiale si potrebbe risolvere il problema della fame, ridurre in modo consistente l’inquinamento atmosferico e evitare inutili sofferenze agli animali.

ASPETTANDO L’HAMBURGER – Il prodotto è stato creato attraverso la coltivazione di migliaia di cellule staminali animali che sono stimolate a produrre tessuti muscolari. Il primo esperimento è stato fatto con i maiali ed entro un anno dovrebbe arrivare anche l’hamburger. Mentre la produzione di bistecche e filetti appare più complicata. Nei supermercati, comunque, la carne artificiale la troveremo solo in un futuro lontano: tra dieci o quindici anni. Il professor Mark Post della Maastricht University, che guida la ricerca, ha spiegato che per ora i costi sono esorbitanti: più di 220 mila euro per un hamburger. Ma una volta prodotta su scala industriale il prezzo potrebbe non essere diverso da quello che paghiamo oggi dal macellaio.

SENZA SANGUE, SAPORE INCERTO – Al momento il tessuto che è stato creato ha un aspetto grigio e molliccio: «Il colore – ha spiegato Post – è dovuto al fatto che non c’è presenza di sangue e molta poco mioglobina, la proteina che contiene il ferro. Ma stiamo cercando un modo per dare un aspetto rosso al prodotto». I grossi dubbi, però, sono sul sapore. Per ora nessuno ha assaggiato la salsiccia in vitro perché la legge vieta di consumare materiale creato in laboratorio da tessuti animali. Alcuni scienziati hanno assicurato che risolveranno il problema creando un nutrimento sintetico per le cellule staminali che darà il gusto della vera carne.

LOTTA ALLA FAME – L’Organizzazione Mondiale per la Sanità ha previsto che il consumo di carne raddoppierà entro il 2050. Un dato che, secondo il professor Post, «rende il nostro prodotto l’unica strada possibile per ridurre la mancanza di cibo visto il costante aumento della popolazione». Secondo alcuni ricercatori con 10 cellule di muscolo di maiale si potrebbero avere 50mila tonnellate di carne in due mesi. Se diremo addio alla fiorentina, dunque, sarà per una buona causa: sconfiggere la fame nel mondo.



Hat-trick Designs Party Recipes To Help Tubby Kids Slim Down

UK firm tackles the food pyramid’s weak link: birthday parties.

It’s hard enough to get kids to eat healthfully at dinner or during school lunch. But try telling the little darlings that they’re going to get cucumbers and whole wheat bread instead of ice cream and cake at their birthday party and you’ll likely risk a rebellion that would put post-Stanley Cup Vancouver to shame.

Still, you have to give props to an organization for trying. Just as the US recently unveiled its new food-groups based Dinner Plate (which replaced the discredited old Food Pyramid), the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is rolling out a “Party Pack” of recipes, paper goods, and games for kids designed to get the little buggers to lay off the sugary snacks and enjoy a carrot.

To make the whole more fun (or perhaps to try and disguise the fact that it’s cherry tomatoes they’re eating, not maraschino cherries), the BHF asked the Design Indaba-headliners at Hat-trick Design to take a crack at the challenge. “Some incredible statistics set this project off,” says Jim Sutherland, Hattrick’s co-founder. “Around one in five children in England (22.8%) are overweight or obese the year they start school. In 5-year-olds, 82% of boys and 86.3% of girls don’t get their five-a-day in terms of fruit and vegetables. And a third of children get less than the recommended amount of physical activity each week (32%).” Sound familiar?

The BHF found that many parents would like to get the kids to eat better, but they’re really stuck when it comes to putting on a party. Stressed for time, and clueless on how they can substitute the healthy stuff for the usual goodies without provoking a tantrum, they fall back on the HFSS (High Fat Salt Sugar) foods and sedentary activities that are the norm.

To help them out, the BHF hired recipe writer Lizzie Harris to come up with party food ideas with an animal themed twist including: carrot cakes that look like rabbits, sandwiches styled as chickens and buffaloes and a lion made out of tortilla chips. Writer Nick Asbury gave them playful names such as ‘bunny buns,’ the ‘cluck cluck club,’ and ‘safari snacks’ before photographer John Ross shot them all on paper plates, complete with crumbs and splats, to make everything look achievable and homemade. Hat-trick also designed items for the party itself, including invitations, placemats and stickers, which can be used to decorate everything from goody bags to pieces of fruit. Nothing like putting a pair of googly eyes on an orange to make it taste like a cupcake! “Hat-trick’s playful and colorful design allows us to get our serious messages about healthy eating out in a fun and interactive way,” Debbie Allen, who leads the BHF’s work with children and young people.

Good luck with that!

Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden

The makers say the ice cream is pure, organic and totally natural

A restaurant in London’s Covent Garden is serving a new range of ice cream, made with breast milk.

The dessert, called Baby Gaga, is churned with donations from London mother Victoria Hiley, and served with a rusk and an optional shot of Calpol or Bonjela.

Mrs Hiley, 35, said if adults realised how tasty breast milk was more new mothers would be encouraged to breastfeed.

Each serving of Baby Gaga at Icecreamists costs £14.

Mrs Hiley’s donation was expressed on site and pasteurised before being churned with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest.

Icecreamists founder Matt O’Connor placed an advert appealing for breast milk donations and believes his new recipe will be a success.

“If it’s good enough for our children, it’s good enough for the rest of us,” he said.

“Some people will hear about it and go yuck – but actually it’s pure organic, free-range and totally natural.”

He added that the ice cream was not certified organic.

Mrs Hiley, who gets £15 for every 10 ounces of milk she donates to the company, said it was a great “recession beater”.

“What’s the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash?” she added.

“I teach women how to get started on breastfeeding their babies. There’s very little support for women and every little helps.”

Mr O’Connor said 14 other women had come forward to offer their services. Health checks for the lactating women were the same used by hospitals to screen blood donors.

“No-one’s done anything interesting with ice cream in the last hundred years,” he added.


Baby Gaga breast milk ice cream seized for safety tests

Matt O’Connor from The Icecreamists insists the Baby Gaga dessert is safe

Ice cream made from breast milk has been removed from a central London restaurant on health grounds following complaints by members of the public.

The dessert, called Baby Gaga, went on sale at ice cream parlour Icecreamists in Covent Garden in February.

But Westminster Council officers removed the product to make sure it was “fit for human consumption”.

Icecreamist founder Matt O’Connor said the donor was medically screened and the milk mixture was pasteurised.

‘Amazing response’

The ice cream was churned with donations from London mother Victoria Hiley, and served with a rusk and an optional shot of Calpol or Bonjela. Each serving costs £14.

Westminster council said it had received two complaints from members of the public and concerns were raised by the Health Protection Agency and Food Standards Agency.

Tory Westminster Councillor Brian Connell said: “Selling foodstuffs made from another person’s bodily fluids can lead to viruses being passed on and, in this case, potentially hepatitis.

“As the local authority we will support small businesses and applaud innovative ideas wherever possible, but must protect the health of consumers.”

Mr O’Connor, said: “We have had an amazing response – many women have come forward and offer to give us milk.

“You can buy alcohol and tobacco but not breast milk in Westminster.

“If Westminster bans this then I am going to begin a protest with mums who have already shown support.”


Baby Gaga breast milk ice cream ‘seized’ by council

Ice cream made from human breast milk has been removed from a restaurant in London, following complaints by members of the public.

The Baby Gaga dessert went on sale at ice cream parlour Icecreamists in Covent Garden in February.

The product sold out hours after it went on sale and up to 200 women have asked if they can donate.

Richard Block from Westminster Council has told the BBC that there are risks if the breast milk isn’t adequately screened.

But Matt O’Connor, the man behind the idea, says they have followed all the correct screening procedures and that the product is safe.

Matt Cooke reports.

Via | BBC

An Edible Art Book Made From Sugar Paste

For art so good you could eat it!

Here’s a brilliant way to get kids excited about art museums: Turn all the boring stuff — the exhibit catalogs and the signage and the like — into 55 pounds of mouth-watering, teeth-rotting, brain-addling candy.

Apparently, it works for adults, too, because Andreas Pohancenik’s graphics for the exhibition Design Criminals — made entirely, fantastically out sugar pastillage — were a smash, earning the UK-based Austrian designer a nomination for the prestigious Brit Insurance Design Awards recently.

The exhibit opened and closed last fall at the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts, and it was mounted as a contrarian rebuke to “Ornament and Crime,” Austrian architect Adolf Loos’s classic modernist manifesto against all things flowery. In featuring everything from frilly cakes to tattoos, the show proved that what was detested in Loos’s day is palatable today; in effect, it was about the fleeting nature of taste. So Pohancenik, a partner at the London design studio Practice + Theory, decided to use that idea literally.

The entrance to the MAK featured a whopping 13-foot-by-13-foot typographic sign made entirely out of sugar. Elsewhere in the exhibit, Pohancenik sprinkled saccharine little graphic flourishes that’d look right at home on a wedding cake. All told, he used 55 pounds of pastillage — a sugar-based dough — which took seven hours to prepare and 10 hours to install. The exhibition catalogs, also from Pohancenik’s hand, sandwiched 15 waffle-paper sheets between a pure-sugar slipcase. The ink, of course, was edible.

[We’re getting cavities just looking at this stuff.]

Our favorite part in all this, though, has nothing to do with the candy (scout’s honor!). It’s the typeface, a weird, wonderful, whimsical thing that flowers in every direction and slants to the left for no good reason at all except that it looks kinda’ cool. The typeface was designed explicitly for the exhibition, and it’s named after one of Loos’s (many) ex-wives. The reason: To remind of the ephemerality of personal taste, albeit in a decisively less-than-sweet way.

[Awww, the design dorks’ equivalent of The Lady and the Tramp spaghetti.]

via Co Design

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

These duck-shaped funnels for transferring liquids from one container to another are by London designer Roger Arquer.

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

Called Funnel Friends, the vessels come in three sizes and can be stacked together by slotting them inside one another for easy storage.

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

The products have been produced in collboration with Dutch homeware brand Royal VKB.

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

See also: Funnel Vase by Roger Arquer.

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

All our stories on Roger Arquer »
More homeware on Dezeen »

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

Here’s some more information from Arquer:

Funnel Friends

Funnel Friends Transferring ingredients but wondering how to do it? ………Funnel Friends from Royal VKB offer the perfect solution!
Funnel Friends is a multi usable and practical cross over set between funnels and containers that can be perfectly used for transferring liquids, cereals and grain. No matter whether large or small quantities need to be transferred, Funnel Friends offer unlimited possibilities.

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

Our Funnel Friends are not only extremely practical to use, but possess an extra dimension due to their unique and organic styling. The flowing shape of each of the Funnel Friends is cleverly designed to make the complete set fit together perfectly. This allows the Funnel Friends to be easily stacked and stored so taking little space in what is often an already crowded kitchen!

Funnel Friends by Roger Arquer

The RVKB set of Funnel Friends includes three different sizes:

Small Funnel
The smallest funnel is ideal for transferring liquids, for example while decanting wine or filling spice jars like a salt and pepper mill. Because of the oval shaped spout a vacuum is prevented when pouring which improves the flow of liquids.

Medium Funnel
The medium funnel is ideal for transferring not only liquids but also ingredients as sugar, rice and other grain. The open shape is perfect for scooping large quantities of ingredients and transferring them through the spout in smaller quantities as desired.

Large Funnel
The large funnel can be used both to store and pour large amounts of liquid, for example lemonade and pancake batter. This makes the funnel multi usable.

Funnel Friends, your ‘friends’ for in and outside the kitchen! The set of Funnel Friends is available in white only and is packed in an attractive full colour gift box.

The Return Of The Agricultural Unconscious

At the recent Thrilling Wonder Stories all-day speculate-athon, Geoff Manaugh and I ended up speaking as part of the “Counterfeit Archaeology” panel, alongside designers Dunne & Raby. To explore this concept of creating alternative artifacts and inventing potential pasts in order to understand the present and tell stories about about the future, we talked about animal printheads, rats, nuclear waste entombment sites, and more.

IMAGE: Subterranean New York City, my altered version of a diagram by National Geographic.

As part of our presentation, I revisited the mythical cow tunnel(s) of New York. This structure (or these structures, depending on whose version of the story you listen to) was supposedly built at the end of the nineteenth century, as an infrastructural response to the cow-jams that blocked streets in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. (The increased quantity of cattle arriving in the city was due, in part, to another infrastructural innovation: the railway.)

In any case, its/their very existence is shrouded in uncertainty: cattle tunnels have been rumoured to exist beneath Twelfth Avenue at both 34th Street and 38th Street, but also somewhere on Greenwich, Renwick, or Harrison Street near the present-day entrance to the Holland Tunnel, and even as far afield as Gansevoort Street in the West Village. According to second-hand reports collated by utilities engineer turned self-published mystery writer Brian Wiprud, the tunnel is, variously: oak-vaulted; lined with fieldstones; built of steel; demolished to make way for a gas main; or perfectly preserved.

IMAGE: Google Street View shots of the surface above some of the reported cow tunnel locations.

A guy from the telephone company even claimed to have met someone whose boss said he had rescued a musket from the entrance to one. Not to be outdone, in 2004, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation apparently declared that “if intact,” the cow tunnel(s) would indeed be eligible for landmark status.

What’s amazing about these elusive cow tunnels is that, whether or not they actually exist (in fact, especially if they don’t), they form a shared urban fantasy — a mythical meat-processing infrastructure haunting contemporary New York City.

In a world where our steak frequently arrives in a polystyrene tray, sitting on a nappy in a modified-atmosphere bubble, the cow tunnels could be analysed as the city’s agricultural unconscious, returning in the form of rumour and legend. Their longevity and recurrence, in spite of the lack of any physical corroboration, suggests that they form a powerful thread in the urban imaginary — and a ready-made narrative to be exploited by locavore designers.

IMAGE: A cowboy on 13th Street and Eleventh Avenue in the Meatpacking District, NYC, 1911, via.

After the event, audience member and telecommunications strategist Jeremy Green got in touch to point me in the direction of the London iteration of cow tunnels: sewer pigs. Their first mention comes in the 1850s, when social researcher Henry Mayhew interviewed sewermen for his book, London Labour and the London Poor.

There is a strange tale in existence among the sewer-workers, of a race of wild hogs inhabiting the sewers in the neighborhood of Hampstead. The story runs, that a sow in young, by some accident got down the sewer through an opening, and, wandering away from the spot, littered and reared her offspring in the drain, feeding on the offal and garbage washed into it continuously. Here, it is alleged, the breed multiplied exceedingly, and have become almost as ferocious as they are numerous.

When Mayhew expressed disbelief, wondering why these pigs remained underground, the sewermen were apparently ready with a logical reply: “the only way the pigs could get out of the sewer would be to get to the mouth of it, which would require them to cross the Fleet ditch, against the rapid currents of which pigs would refuse to swim because of their obstinate nature.”

IMAGE: The Fleet sewer (one of London’s lost rivers) depicted during its repair in 1854, via.

IMAGE: The river Fleet near its source on Hampstead Heath, also sketched in the 1850s, via.

The swine surface again in the writings of Charles Dickens, as well as in a rather fantastic 1859 editorial from the Daily Telegraph, excerpted from the blog London Particulars:

Exaggeration and ridicule often attach to the vastness of London, and the ignorance of its penetralia common to us who dwell therein. It has been said that beasts of chase still roam in the verdant fastnesses of Grosvenor Square, that there are undiscovered patches of primaeval forest in Hyde Park and that Hampstead sewers shelter a monstrous breed of black swine, which have propagated and run wild among the slimy feculence, and whose ferocious snouts will one day up-root Highgate archway, while they make Holloway intolerable with their grunting.

IMAGE: A feral pig grazing in the open gutters of Rajasthan, via.

In the mid-nineteenth century, when the legend of the black swine was at its strongest, Hampstead was still a relatively rural farming village. Meanwhile, the city of London and its relationship with its agricultural hinterland were being transformed by the Industrial Revolution: railways, factories, and their attendant rural-urban migration. London’s population grew from one million in 1800 to 6.7 million by 1900, and with that growth came a radical renegotiation of the city’s food supply.

In other words, as in New York City, so in London: the increasing industrialisation of food spawned a sort of narrative resistance, in the form of pervasive myths of sewer pigs and cow tunnels buried deep beneath the city. Today, as planners, architects, and designers seek to make cities more healthy and sustainable by reconnecting urban dwellers to food production, perhaps they might tap into the power of these stories that bob up to the surface again and again, as if from a shared urban agricultural unconscious.

NOTE: Thanks, Jeremy — and thanks also to Liam Young of the Architectural Association and Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG for organising a day packed with insights and ideas.


What Does a Sustainable Restaurant Look Like?

The People's Supermarket

Celebrity chef Arthur Potts Dawson’s TED talk was recently posted, and is well worth a watch. His two sustainable restaurants, Acorn House and Water House, are furnished using recycled plastics, reclaimed wood, and rummage sale cushions (donated by his mum, who found the Norwegian Forestry-certified benches too hard). Water House, the more recently opened of the two, is actually a zero-carbon restaurant: Built next to a canal, it is entirely heated, cooled, and powered by hydroelectricity and heat exchange.

Potts Dawson’s passion is waste minimization. In the talk, he explains that his menu at Acorn House was created to allow “people to choose the amount and the volume of food that they wanted to consume, rather than me putting a dish down, and them being allowed to help themselves to as much or as little as they wanted.”

Later on, and with evident pride, he shows slides of his “dehydrating, desiccating macerator,” which turns food waste into a kind of vegetable jerky so that he can store it to compost later. His excitement is only slightly dimmed by the fact that when he experimentally added the jerky to his wormery, all the worms died.

His newest project, The People’s Supermarket, opened earlier this year in central London. I visited it last week, and it’s definitely still finding its way, but there are already several clever waste-reduction schemes in place, including an on-site kitchen so that as food nears its sell-by-date, co-op members can extend its shelf life by making it into prepared dishes.

Potts Dawson promises to open at least three more restaurants in this talk. Meanwhile, let’s hope other restaurant owners and chefs are inspired to follow his example.