I really enjoy Paleo-Future, a blog that showcases “yesterday’s tomorrows,” visions from the past of the future (our present). One recent post highlighted a 1969 piece from the Jamaica Daily Gleaner envisioning what food would be like in the Year 2000:
Milk that never saw a cow, fruit that never grew on a tree or in the ground, and steak bearing no relation to a bullock — in other words, fabricated food. It sounds a little distasteful and perhaps unbelievable but, according to eminent scientists studying food science it is inevitable and will be soon on our tables.
Take the steak for instance. Soya beans can be woven to resemble a bullock’s muscle, the fat presents no problem nor do vitamins, colouring is simple and flavour can be injected to order. The stuff can be even made to suit the taste buds of an institutional canteen or those who like to see blood.
The development is not a new one – vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists have been eating this type of meat for the past forty years – but it is developing rapidly in recent years, and could hang a large question mark over the future of beef herds. Here in Jamaica it might solve the problem we have of having to import so much beef though I doubt if a patty would ever taste the same again.
This reminds me a bit of a discussion Gary told me he had with one of the “humane meat” presenters after the presentation at TAFA. Gary pressed the farmer, “Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where we could have the taste and texture of meat without killing animals to do it?” That’s the vibe I get from this 1969 piece (aside from the last sentence and the “for those who like to see blood” part).
Of course, we do live in a world where you can get the taste and texture of most animal products without the suffering of animals. Buddhists have been mocking up meats for thousands of years, even earlier than the Seventh Day Adventists mentioned in the above article.
So, perhaps this the challenge we need to press meat-eaters with. Start by presenting how great a world it would be if we could have the things we like about meat (taste, texture, nutrition) without killing living beings. Few would be able to disagree with the concept. Why, then, aren’t more of us moving towards meat analogs? That’s a challenge that might really make people think.
Pass the wheat gluten-shaped bullock’s muscle, please.