I’m really torn by this report in Time Magazine. It’s an article about a new process to create fake chicken out of soy protein powder. According to the article the process involves mixing soy protein powder, wheat flour and water. It’s then processed at a particular temperature and viola, goop that has the texture of breast meat. They also mention that there is a push on to produce meat grown in vitro. Get yourself a Easy-Clone Oven, whip up a batch of chicken meat in a dish and have at it. This effort is actually being promoted by PETA who have offered a $1 million dollar incentive to the first one to do it before 2012.
This should be good, no? I mean, less animals being raised for slaughter means less harmful damage to the environment from the stinky stuff they release, the feed, etc. This should also be good for us health wise, right? Eating soy protein has got to be better than animal protein, so it’s all good, no? I’m not so sure.
First, the soy goop created needs to be flavored to taste like chicken, and to me that hints to the addition of non-natural additives. I’m not sure what the actual time required to make this stuff is, but there has to be manufacturing costs involved, and by costs I mean costs to the environment.
Second, the idea of growing meat in a petri dish freaks me out to no end. I mean, haven’t these people ever scene a 50’s SciFi movie? Suddenly Bill Cosby’s “Chicken Heart” makes total sense.
Third, I completely respect folks that follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for religious or social reasons. It’s a part of who they are. But do these folks really want to eat something that tastes of chicken? There are thousands upon thousands of vegetarian recipes in almost every cuisine. Are there really vegans out there saying, “You know what would make this bowl of beans and rice taste better? Fake chicken.” I know others try an all veggie diet for health reasons, but is eating fake meat doused in flavoring agents really that healthy? I don’t get it.
Wouldn’t it be better to spend all the time and energy going into these “Fake Meat” projects on increasing sustainable farming and humane animal husbandry instead? Or helping out local farmers so that people have access to quality locally grown produce. How about helping change the perception that eating a 32 ounce steak is acceptable? Or even something as simple as the idea that wasting food by having huge portions, or only eating a small part of something and throwing the rest away, is bad! It’s frustrating to me how we continue to try and prove how “smart” we are, when it’s usually common sense and nature herself that produce the best answers.
Finally, remember the movie Soylent Green ? It was set in the year 2022.
Go chicken heart, go.