We need to talk about the future of meat
The earth’s population is predicted to reach nine billion people by 2050 – and a lot of those people will want to eat meat. It’s no secret, however, that the global meat industry is wasteful, polluting and a major source of greenhouse gases. How can we solve the world’s protein crisis? While it’s possible everyone might switch to insects or tofu, there’s a brand new player on the horizon: lab-grown meat.
You might remember in vitro meat from the world's first lab-grown hamburger that was presented in August. This technology may soon allow us to produce eco-friendly, animal-friendly meat on a commercial scale, using far fewer resources than “conventional” meat.
Despite its obvious benefits, many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of in vitro meat. Some even call it unnatural or disgusting. And rightly so. Because before we can decide if we ever want to eat lab-grown meat, we need to explore how it might change our society and everyday lives.
The future of meat, now in cookbook form!
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. What will holiday dinners look like if in vitro meat replaces turkey? Would you eat meat grown from your own stem cells? Is lab-grown meat kosher? Or vegetarian?
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 to have correct ingredients and cooking techniques.
The delightful and weird recipes are complimented by fascinating interviews and thought-provoking essays from scientists, activists, philosophers and chefs. Our network of experts will ensure that the cookbook is as scientifically accurate as possible, all while remaining lively and highly approachable for a general audience.
The In Vitro Meat Cookbook is just at home with your art, philosophy and science books as it is on your cookbook shelf. As the ultimate conversation starter about the future of food, it will redefine not just how you think about lab-grown meat, but how you think about the ways we produce meat right now. Rather than pushing an agenda, this book aims to inspire educated debate.
The In Vitro Meat Cookbook is divided into four chapters:
- Feed the World discusses the ways in which lab-grown meat could address world hunger.
- Sustainability outlines the eco-friendly credentials of in vitro meat – and the ways it might not be as sustainable as we think.
- Stop Animal Cruelty talks about the cultural, moral and religious ramifications of a world where animals don’t need to die for meat.
Explore New Food Cultures presents truly wild visions of in vitro meals. It’s molecular gastronomy on meat-flavored steroids.
We're fascinated by in vitro meat...
Next Nature, the group behind the In Vitro Meat Cookbook, has been exploring in vitro meat for over two years. Many of the book’s speculative recipes come from the Next Nature Lab at Eindhoven Technical University, one of the best design schools in the Netherlands. We've also produced a dedicated in vitro meat exhibition, currently on view at the Rotterdam World Food Festival. Not content with a book, lab and exhibition, we even made a special “in vitro meat ice cream cart”, with actual, edible ice cream flavored with bacon, beef and (pretend) polar bear.
...but we're still undecided about it.
Just because we're in vitro meat experts doesn’t mean we think it’s the only (or even the best) solution to the global protein crisis. We’re not starry-eyed activists, nor are we bound to the meat industry’s agenda. Just like you, we want to make informed decisions about which meat future we actually want.
What will the cookbook look like?The book's design refers to the old-fashioned cooking bibles your grandma might have owned, combined with contemporary typography and photography. The effect is a timeless design that fits with the speculative nature of the book. The involvement of renowned art director Hendrik-Jan Grievink will guarantee an top-notch result.
EXQUISITE DRAWINGS OF THE DISHES
Illustrator Silvia Celiberti has created unique BIC pen drawings to visualize the book's recipes and products. Besides these extraordinarily detailed drawings, the book will also contain a full color section with lush photography and renderings.
Example DishesMagic Meatballs
Magic Meatballs are designed to playfully familiarize children with lab-grown meat. Young people are more prone to overconsumption of proteins and fats, and are more sensitive to the hormones and antibiotics used in conventional meat production. Luckily, lab-grown Magic Meatballs can be tailored precisely to a child’s individual needs. The basic meat consists solely of animal protein, and the combination of fats, omega-3s and vitamins is completely customizable. Colors and flavors can also be added to the neutral base to make the meat change color or crackle in your mouth. Magic Meatballs actively involve kids with the meat they eat, so that future generations will more readily accept protein grown in labs.
The number one argument for eating meat: it provides nutritious proteins that cannot be entirely supplied by vegetarian alternatives. Like it or not, humans are omnivores. Meat is a nutritious source of proteins and vitamins that vegetarian alternatives struggle to supply. Thanks to Meat Powder, we can transcend our barbaric impulses and history of animal cruelty. Meat Powder is a straightforward form of in vitro meat that provides the proteins you need – no more, no less. Meat Powder can be used in soups, pies and salads, but is best used in a creamy meat fondue. Like the traditional cheese fondue, the meat fondue is a social dish best served at special occasions. Pure, fun, and 100% victimless.
The Kitchen Meat Incubator does for home cooking what the electronic synthesizer did for the home musician. It provides its users with a set of pre-programmed samples that can be remixed and combined to their liking. Besides the preparation of traditional styles like steak, sausage or meatballs, consumers can bring their own imagination to the meat preparation process. The handy sliders on the device control size, shape and texture. More expensive models of the Kitchen Meat Incubator also come with a wireless link that allows you to download meat recipes from the internet or share them with friends.
Rather than growing whole steaks in bio-reactors, Knitted Meat assumes that it is more feasible to create thin threads of protein. Supermarkets sell balls of meat fiber seasoned with various spices and vegetable flavors. New kitchen appliances enable consumers to weave meat according to preset preferences. Texture, taste and tenderness can be controlled to create a personal, multisensory eating experience. Groups of diners can even knit their own sections of a protein scarf, enabling multiple people to share a unique moment.
While vegetarian food products typically mimic existing meat products, the meat flower reverses this principle: In vitro technology is used to grow meat in the shape of a flower. The sweet-savory flower amuse is served sushi style and consumed leaf by leaf using chopsticks. Molecular cooking goes figurative.
La Pâte Meat Fruit aims to seduce and inspire diners with an entirely new eating experience that balances eating meat and fruit. In vitro technology is used to grow meat structures that precisely mimic those of various existing fruits such as berries, oranges, and mangoes. The result is used to create La Pâte, a sweet-savory amuse-bouche ideal for Michelin-starred restaurants. Besides the joy of fusing fruit and meat into one exclusive hypernatural dining experience, meat-fruit is also a celebration of our unisex culture. In contrast to our prehistoric past where men hunted and women gathered, we now live in a post-masculine, post-feminist society where gender doesn’t matter like before. Meat-fruit exemplifies the perfect blend between male and female.
Paint with Meat!
Meat paint is a food product for children of 5-10 years old. It allows them to prepare their own meat dish in a very creative, fun and safe way: by painting! The meat paint lets children put some extra effort into their meal, which makes the dinner more valuable and meaningful again. By painting their own meal children get more affinity with their food and are therefore more willing to eat it.
Like with a regular painting, the child has different colors to paint with. With this paint the child can make anything he or she wants and create something beautiful. Once the drawing is finished the painting is baked for 15 minutes in the oven. 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!
Rustic In Vitro
Many people still find in vitro meat too alien and artificial to put it in their mouths. With the Rustic In Vitro incubator, this outdated perception is about to change. Similar to old-fashioned sausages and hams hung to cure in the butcher’s or at home, Rustic In Vitro is grown in a familiar-looking incubator that reminds us of the good old days. Rustic In-Vitro incubators come in various shapes designed to simulate rabbit, boar or cattle. The more time it has to ripen, the more structure and character the replicating meat cells will develop. Innovative nostalgia ahoy!
Who are we? And what is Next Nature?
The Next Nature Network is an Amsterdam-based think tank and design laboratory that explores the new forms of nature that humans create. We discuss how technologies like genetic engineering, mobile phones, and intelligent algorithms change the way humans act, think and interact with the environment.
Next Nature uses “design fiction” to inspire informed debate about new technologies. Our team has extensive experience producing superb books, exhibitions and web-based projects. The NANO Supermarket, which presents speculative nanotech products for our everyday lives, was recently nominated for a Dutch Design Award. Rayfish Footwear, an online hoax about genetically modified stingray shoes, incited an avalanche of media coverage, fan letters and hate mail. Learn more about it this video.CORE TEAM Koert van Mensvoort (Creative Director), Hendrik Jan Grievink (Art Director), Allison Guy (Chef and Copywriter), Silvia Celiberti (Illustrator), Jonathon Markowski (Model Designer), Tim Hoogesteger, Mir Wermuth (Production), Arnoud van den Heuvel, (Video Designer), Francesca Barchiesi, Jiwon Kim, Insoo Hwang, Kwen Chen, (Designers), Alessia Andreotti (Publicity).
RECIPE CONTRIBUTORS Aylin Groenewoud, Frank Valkenhoef, Marjolein Kors, Mark Kanters, Alberto Gruarin, Daniel Ong, Daniëlle Peverelli, Ilse Maessen, Costanza Giuffrida, Chloé Rutzerveld.
EXPERTS Cor van der Weele, Daisy van der Schaft, Mark Post, Menno Stoffelsen, Ronald van Tienhoven, Arne Hendriks, Janine Huizinga, Flip Ziedses des Plantes, Joris van Gelder.
Can we make a book? We already have!
We made a book before, and we can do it again. Published in 2011, Next Nature: nature changes along with us is a 500-page compendium of our best blog posts, essays and visual material. Thanks to our first book, we’re now seasoned pros when it comes to print publishing. We guarantee that In Vitro Meat Cookbook will come with the sparkling text and design we’ve promised, and that you’ll get your copy in a timely manner.
Still not convinced? Check out these excerpts from our book!
PRAISE ON OUR PREVIOUS BOOK
"Next Nature can give us a new vocabulary and a new philosophy to see
and design the world." – Scientific American
"Einem der spannendste Bücher, das mir seit langem untergekommen ist"
– Page Magazine
"The Next Nature movement is about trying to shake ourselves out of our
sleepwalk." – Architects Journal
"Easily browsable with its short essay format and engaging graphics,
'next nature' offers an expansive survey of present day technologies and the
philosophies with which we understand them." – Designboom.com
"It has been a while since I had such a fascinating coffee table book (if
I may call it that) in my hands." – Treehugger
"A book unlike any other, with bold graphics and statements, intriguing
information about things anyone can relate to." – Treehugger.com
"An overwhelming book in the expanding twilight between technology,
nature and design" – Knack Weekend
"Next Nature is an equally provocative as convincing book" – Metropolis M
"A new Ark" – Domus Magazine
"Book of the Year" – Trendbeheer
WATCH THE NEXT NATURE BOOK TRAILER
Background info: in vitro meat for dummies
Want to know more about in vitro meat technology? Watch this short animated video for a beginner's introduction to the why and how of in vitro meat.
Video from Prof. Mark Post where he announces his intention to make the world's first cultured hamburger at our 2011 Next Nature Power Show event.
Or watch this short item on the Dutch Evening News visiting our expo of speculative In Vitro meat visions at the Future Food house event.
- Guardian Interview on our in vitro meat visions
- Dutch Evening News on our meat ice presentation
- Wired Design: See through Sushi Anyone?
- Boing Boing: Crowdfunding an In Vitro Meat Cookbook.
ABC News: In Vitro Meat Recipe Book.
- Italian Newspaper La Repubblica on our future meat visions
- Solution or Horrorscenario? Interview with HorecaEntree (Dutch).
Interview on the cookcook on Motherboard (Dutch).
Want to write about the project? Download the Mediakit.
Want to do more?
Want to do more besides receiving a copy of the book with your name in it, obtaining your own cooking set or joining us for the concept dinner? Help us spread the word on the project by linking to this campaign and don't forget to join in on our Thunderclap campaign as well. It is free! We are really is helped with your support. Thanks people. Together we determine the future of meat!
Team on This Campaign:
Next Nature Network