Tuesday, August 16, 2005

FAKE FOOD

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The relentless search for fake food continues. Awful chemical concoctions proliferate. It seems that humans have a weakness for fake foods. the more we are cut off from growing/nurturing our own food, the more we desire ersatz foods. The ingredient lists on packages in the stores reads like a chemist's manual. Even innoculous seeming foods have chemicals added as they are processed.

In the fruits and vegetable sections, we see increasingly genetic engineered stuff that looks great to the eye but doesn't eat so hot, comparing the near perfect examples with my own garden, the superiority of my home grown vegetables is very outstanding.

The latest entry in this process of denaturalization is, to me, very unappetizing. From the BBC:
Developments in tissue engineering mean that cells taken from animals could be grown directly into meat in a laboratory, the researchers say.

Scientists believe the technology already exists to directly grow processed meat like a chicken nugget.

The technology could benefit both humans and the environment.

"With a single cell, you could theoretically produce the world's annual meat supply. And you could do it in a way that's better for the environment and human health.

"In the long term, this is a very feasible idea," said Jason Matheny of the University of Maryland, part of the team whose research has been published in the Tissue Engineering journal.

Growing the meat without the animal could reduce the need to keep millions of animals in cramped conditions and would lessen the damage caused by the meat production to the environment.

Laboratory-grown meat could also be healthier, proponents say.
Solyent Green, anyone?

Of course, every move towards altering food is proclaimed to be healthy and good. But this is all merely artifacts of the energy glut within which we live today. We eat all our cows because we don't need them, like my faithful, patient (well, Chips wasn't very patient, but I should be nice to dead oxen) ox team, working the land for us or pulling big carts. Since we have energy consuming machines doing all this, we can devour our old buddies. We don't need sheep all that much anymore, either, for we can make cloth from energy, using lots of machines that use lots of energy. We are taking the patrimony of the distant pass and eating and consuming it in vast quantities. The fact that we are leaving none of this behind for our great grandchildren doesn't seem to trouble hardly anyone.
To industrialise the process, researchers suggest the cells could be grown on large sheets that would need to be stretched to provide the 'exercise' for the growing muscles.

"If you didn't stretch them, it would be like eating mush," said Mr Methany.
You know that the Frankensteins working on projects like this will come up with the great idea of using energy to flex the muscle mass and to hook it into computers that are programmed to mimic life so the muscle will move and they will then extend this process until they create a creature with a mind. For they can't help it. Nature has created via evolution, a very useful thing for us: living creatures. And they live in an environment, on their own, without a direct energy charge so we will mirror this, in the end.

We will be gods in the most horrible sense of the word. Instead of cows grazing in the open fields, having sex, having babies, enjoying the sun, standing about in the rain, licking each other and rubbing each other, a community called the herd, we will have huge, anonymous sheets of muscle, mournfully flexing.

A living dead world.

We are destroying the lives of chickens and pigs and other living things trying desperately to turn them into mere flesh. My chickens have a life. They run around with each other, they talk, they roll in the dust or clean themselves in water, they pick through corn feed and weeds and bugs, scratching and clucking. They give me the most beautiful eggs.

It costs more than the 89 cent a dozen eggs in the stores. I charge $2 a dozen. But look at us!

We are collectively becoming fat and ugly like the food we are eating. Ugly food=ugly people. Instead of eating two dozen cheap eggs, one can eat one dozen healthy eggs from happy hens.
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Sparky looks like Mr. Ed, doesn't he?

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