So do Swiss cows in the Alps make the best milk?
(I do note that the various cheese producers enforce restrictions on what their dairy suppliers feed, so I'm pretty sure that meadow biome is tastable even in processed form)
Which is more expensive, complicated (because storage requirements of dry hay).
But tastes good! Also for Yoghurt made from that. I absolutely prefer it over any other type of milk.
Full disclosure: I never finished the book (my attention wandered elsewhere), but I did get as far as this scene.
ETA: Around this part of the book the words "hagrid" and "dumbledore" appear, suggesting J.K. Rowling was reading this around when she named the characters in Harry Potter.
If you want an exact replica of the cow mammalian milk production process that is molecule-to-molecule compatible then you need at least two dozen tissue engineers. This is slightly beyond what a "fungus" to do.
seems to be a very ambitious project but im hopeful!
This makes me want to do more research into how Perfect Day makes their Lab dairy.
I think most of us can be nostalgic for foods that didn't exist until the latter half of the 20th century. Pioneering chefs and restaurants create amazing experiences from flavors and textures that are new, unfamiliar, and surprising (maybe a point of comparison would be the fermentation experimentation that Noma got so much media for). So it's not that we can't really love new foods.
If this energy and innovative spirit was directed differently, I wonder what new things we might be enjoying which are very different from traditional concepts but in many ways better, and which the next generation will consider foundational?
Because until we stop using animals for food, those other things are kind of pointless? Who cares if you can buy vegan shoes that last decades, what's the end game? The cows are still going to be slaughtered for food, it'll just be one more thing that gets wasted instead of used.
>Pioneering chefs and restaurants create amazing experiences from flavors and textures that are new, unfamiliar, and surprising (maybe a point of comparison would be the fermentation experimentation that Noma got so much media for). So it's not that we can't really love new foods.
I think the number of "completely new and unfamiliar" foods created in the last 100 years can be measured on one hand. Sure people have taken known ingredients and mixed them in new ways, but that doesn't change the fact the underlying thing that we like is still there. Humans have had thousands of years to perfect food, why do you think someone in a lab working for a couple years is going to be able to upend that?
>If this energy and innovative spirit was directed differently, I wonder what new things we might be enjoying which are very different from traditional concepts but in many ways better, and which the next generation will consider foundational?
You're basically describing soylent, and the results are as expected. To pretend that there aren't people thinking about new ways of fueling humans is kind of unfair - it's happening, it's just HARD. People like "real" food.
I mean, it's a while ago now, but nylon, rayon etc were very much sold as synthetic silk back in the day. And synthetic wood flooring and furniture products are extremely common (in the flooring case in particular, great effort is gone to to gloss over the fact that they even _are_ synthetic). People largely want things that are similar to things they're used to.
And it's possibly relevant that both of the things you mention are luxury products that most consumers would not have experience of anyway. Milk is not. If everyone wore extremely expensive shoes that lasted decades, there might be more of a demand for synthetic ones, but in practice that's not even a product where many people wanted the original.
There's also a market for novel stuff, of course, but it's generally a smaller market. And, like, vegan food that is not emulating animal-based food certainly _exists_; it's just a harder sell for the average person (at least in the west; your milage may vary elsewhere). Though it's rarely entirely novel; just adaptations of existing food that isn't meat-based and can have any animal ingredients swapped out easily (a lot of Indian food works well here; often contains dairy products in its traditional form, but they can be swapped out quite easily).
That said, I agree, especially concerning food.
Recreating meat dishes doesn't make much sense to me, it's not as if there's a lack of options on the vegetable side.
That said, I do miss cheese sometimes, it's very tricky to replace.
See, that's the part I don't agree with; it's just that when the market gets big, we stop seeing them as novelties. Cheese puffs, instant ramen, pringles, chex -- in the last century multiple generations of novel mass produced manufactured food was invented in part around techniques that were newly available.
> People largely want things that are similar to things they're used to.
And yet new things, which are similar but also markedly distinct can be hugely appealing (e.g. cronuts). Foreign goods can become popular when introduced to a new market, and eventually become unremarkable and ubiquitous (I can buy multiple kinds of premade kimchi at my local chain supermarket).
If you're in a position to food-science vegan cheese-adjacent products, why not pursue directions that mix and match familiar and unfamiliar aspects to create something the old-school dairy can't?
- the flavor of cashew cheese and nutritional yeast, but the texture of salmon roe that pops in your mouth.
- a salty + umami product that starts with a crisp texture like parmesan tuiles, but melts when warmed. Sprinkle thin flakes over hot dishes.
- the salty funky hit of blue cheese in a fibrous chewy form like beef jerky. The nose hit is extended as you try to pull off a chunk with your teeth.
Two reasons, broadly speaking:
First, you get to co-opt existing preferences, instead of trying to displace them by establishing new ones.
Second, to some extent, existing animal-based products are best-in-class due to decades, centuries, or even millennia of survivorship bias. Some of those may represent a local maxima, but discovering that often requires some out-of-the-box thinking, such as Herman Miller's Pellicle as first demonstrated via the Aeron chair, which IMO is superior in practically every respect than traditional chair upholstering methods and materials, no matter how high-end, but absolutely isn't a one-to-one replacement for them.
There are substitutes that work as a technicality right now, but it's usually trivial to tell the difference between a recipe using original ingredients vs. a recipe that's been "veganized" (most often, the result is more crumbly, less rich, has wrong texture, etc).
Innovation in vegan food is a good thing that should be encouraged but it needn't come at the cost of large chunks of cultural heritage in the form of food. Vegan substitutes that are close analogues of animal-produced originals lets us have the best of both worlds.
Industrial animal products involve a huge amount of pain and suffering for the animals, low wages and injury for the humans, and impacts on the environment.
Certainly, if people greatly reduced their consumption of animal products there would much less of the negatives. Plant based products are one approach.
Ever see a house with the Tesla solar roofing shingles? There is a line of thought that for customers to accept a new product it must be as externally similar as possible to a preexisting one, even if doing so means degrading the performance or practicality of that product.
- Modular design makes transportation, storage and installation simple.
- Modular design makes it easy to replace just a small section.
- Simple design means it's easy to understand edge cases and failure modes.
- Simple, standardized shapes make it easy to replace parts even if the original manufacturer is out of business.
I can replace a shingle on a 100-year-old roof, no questions asked. What will people do when one or two of their custom Tesla roof shingles fail in 20 years? 30 years?
Newer (or fancier) is not always better.
I don't want to replace the meat, I want a meal without meat.
We already have vegetarian/vegan restaurants that are beyond "beef burger but not beef". There's not really much to pinoeer here except just "bring them to near you"?