Before you tuck in to your gravy-drenched, slow-roasted turkey this Thanksgiving, you might want to give thanks that you’re not circling above the earth at 17,500 miles per hour. Forget for a moment that you probably couldn’t even keep the food down in microgravity – would you be willing to trade those creamy mashed potatoes or Grandma’s green been casserole for something freeze-dried and wrapped in plastic?
For six astronauts currently working more than 200 miles above the surface of the earth, that choice is easy, as freeze-dried, irradiated and thermostablized food items are their only options. Luckily for them, food scientist Vickie Kloeris and her team at NASA have developed shelf-stable Thanksgiving meals to celebrate the holiday on the International Space Station. First though, they had to figure out a way to make the food taste good in space.
“One of our biggest challenges is that crew members in orbit do report that they feel like their taste buds are somewhat dulled,” Kloeris told CNN from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Your cooking partner is a robot, your fridge can talk, and your plate is your own personal dietician. Oh, and for a laugh you occasionally have a cook-off with a famous holographic chef.
This may sound like a scene from 1960s sci-fi cartoon The Jetsons, but the kitchens in coming decades may not be so far off those envisioned by futurologists.
With enough practice any hack can create a CAD rendering of a blender or produce an iPhone mockup that'll earn hundreds of likes on Dribbble, but designing a device that convinces people to make a meal out of maggots? That requires a special level of skill. Designer Katharina Unger is on a mission to make eating insects irresistible.
The recent graduate from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and current Fulbright Scholar devoted her thesis project, called Farm 432: Insect Breeding, to developing an appliance that incubates insects for human consumption. The striking blue and white vessel is stocked with one gram of black soldier fly eggs, and over a period of 18 days, the eggs move through the device's chambers, gestating, reproducing, and ultimately producing 2.4 kilograms of nutritious, if slightly nauseating, fly larva.
Editor's note: Isha Datar is the director of New Harvest, a nonprofit group founded in 2004 to promote the development of cultured meat.
On Monday, three lucky diners nibbled a $325,000 burger - not in the name of luxury but in the name of science, animal rights and sustainability. The meat was grown in a lab.
This in-vitro hamburger is "cultured" in many different ways: It's the product of human ingenuity, it's considerate of humans, animals and the planet, and it's produced through growing cells.
The world's first stem cell burger was cooked and eaten in London today.
The brainchild of Maastricht University's Mark Post, the burger was made of 20,000 small strands of meat grown from a cow's muscle cells and took three months to create.
Breadcrumbs and some egg powder were added to the cultured beef to make it taste like a normal beef burger. To give it a beefy color, red beet juice and saffron were added. Chef Richard McGeown fried the stem cell burger with sunflower oil and butter and remarked that it looked slightly paler than a traditional burger.
Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from many different areas of scientific exploration. This is the fourth installment.
Ever wondered why some tomatoes taste great, and many others don’t?
Professor Harry Klee, a horticulturalist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, is on a mission to improve the taste and quality of supermarket tomatoes. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012 for his efforts.
Klee presented his research in Boston recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. CNN Light Years spoke with Klee before the conference.
Read the full interview here: Science Seat: In search of the perfect tomato
Editor's note: Andy Behar is the chief executive of As You Sow, a nonprofit organization that promotes corporate accountability.
Some foods sold in supermarkets across America contain tiny, engineered particles called nanomaterials. Our organization decided to test doughnuts after learning that the titanium dioxide used as a coloring in the powdered sugar coating likely contained nano-sized particles.
The tests, conducted by an independent laboratory, found that both Dunkin' Donuts Powdered Cake Donuts and Hostess Donettes did indeed contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles. In response, a spokeswoman for Dunkin Donuts said the company was looking into the matter.
Editor's note: Nathan Myhrvold is CEO of Intellectual Ventures, author of "Modernist Cuisine" and "Modernist Cuisine at Home." Sanjay Gupta hosts The Next List on Sundays at 2 p.m. ET, only on CNN
CNN: For people who don't know anything about cooking, how would you define modern cuisine?
Myhrvold: So modern cuisine is the movement of chefs that are trying to create new kinds of food, new food experiences. And they don't care if they have to break some of the traditional rules of cooking to do so.
Have you ever considered the architecture of a coffee cup lid? Or the aerodynamics involved in a Pringles can? Did you know that microwaves were invented using technology developed during World War II?
We don’t often stop and think about the stories behind these items we see every day. A new exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, FOOD: Transforming the American Table, aims to illuminate America’s relationship with food by taking a look back at food history from 1950-2000.