Compliments to the Lab : I spend nearly as much time talking about how I want to stop eating meat as I do eating it. I care about animals and the environment and, even more -

Signaling about how much I care about animals and the environment. I just don't want to make any effort or sacrifice any pleasure.

Lucky for me, a slew of venture-backed companies want to help me with my lazy altruism. They envision a world in which we sit down for dinner and brag that no animals were harmed in the production of this carbon-neutral porter house. They want to Impossible Burger our entire diet. They want me to shift the from farm-to-table to lab-to-table.

Its beginning to work. Consumer sales of the increasingly impressive simulacra of meat, eggs and dairy products grew 14 percent from 2005 - 2020, according to the market research company NPD Group -and 89 percent of the people buying them are, like me, not vegetarians.

I want to see just how realistic the lab-to-future could be, so I decided to throw a dinner party filled with bleeding-edge products that don't bleed. The carefully chosen guest list would consist of my lovely wife, Cassandra, and our 11-year-old son Laszio, mostly because of the pandemic, and partly because it was going to be hard to find friends eager to consume bacon made from fungi and ice cream spit out by microflora.

It took me two months to gather the items for my party. They had to be animal-free and environmentally friendly and made in a sci-fi impressive manner.

When I began shopping for our event, I learned that there are a lot of complicated methods for making basic things.

You can mix together a lot of plants to approximate a pre-existing product, which is what Beyond Meat  does for burgers with pea protein, canola oil, coconut oil and 1 other ingredient.

You can find a breed of mycelium [the root system of fungi] that approximates a particular meat texture. Or you can insert DNA into algae, bacteria or fungi so they spit out whatever protein you want.

The newest tech is growing real animal cells the way you grow human organs from stem cells. You take different kinds of lab-grown muscle with different kinds of lab-grown fat, layer them in just the right order, and you may get Wagyu beef, lobster or fole gras.

You can also combine these methods, as Impossible Burger does, using soy, coconut oil and tiny bit of heme - an iron-y, blood-like, soy protein spit out by DNA-manipulated yeast. None of this information made it on my party invitation.

My first challenge in getting all the products I wanted was that the U.S. government hasn't approved the sale of cell-grown meat, so companies were too scared to sneak me any. I couldn't fly to Singapore, which became the first country to approve cell-based foods in December, and try chicken nuggets from a company called Eat Just.

Or to Tel Aviv, where, even though the Israeli government hasn't approved sales of cell-based animal products, SuperMeat opened a restaurant in November.

The Publishing of the Latest Global Operational Research on ''The Future of Natural and Artificial meals, continues to part 2. The World Students Society thanks author Joel Stein.


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