Could vegetarians eat a 'test tube' burger?

This topic was created by JustaKOS .

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could vegetarians eat a 'test tube' burger?

    Saw this one on the Beeb website and thought it would have been worth having an article on the main Reg site, cos I'm sure it would have triggered a lot of comment (veggies vs carnivores, that sort of thing):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17113214

    I like meat but I eat Quorn as well (though there is no substitute for bacon). The article pushes the idea that vegetarians should get behind the idea of meat grown in the lab from animal cells (even live samples), because it would encourage the rest of us to move over.

    I bet it isn't that simple. For my part, I find something disturbing about the notion of eating meat grown from a live sample. After all, if it is OK because nothing had to die, then it must be OK to try out Human Burgers. But I'd probably give it a whirl.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could vegetarians eat a 'test tube' burger?

      Testing the forum, as much as anything else.

      I note that this isn't really news as the same stories surfaced in 2009 with respect to pork being grown in a lab.

      The moral/ethical issue of basing it on human flesh was covered nicely in a short story by Arthur C Clarke - Food of the Gods.

      Still, it would be nice to see the issues thrashed out by a bunch of pros.

      I forgot to add that in 2009 it was also being pushed as something which would reduce carbon emissions.

    2. Drewc Gold badge

      main Reg site: vegetarians eat a 'test tube' burger?

      That does look like a good one to get the commentards going. Maybe I should get a poll going.

      Sometimes we miss what may seem like obvious sitters - for the following reasons

      We are short-handed - we've got 20 or so hacks, but sometimes we may have only one or two staff actually chasing breaking news - the others are working on stuff already.

      Story breaks at the weekend - unless war is declared, we don't cover breaking news stories at the weekend.

      We missed the release, are late to the party, and have nothing to add to the coverage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: main Reg site: vegetarians eat a 'test tube' burger?

        I was pondering whether or not to e-mail the team and suggest a story, but then the new forums came up and it seemed to be a good excuse to try out them out.

    3. Drewc Gold badge

      But doesn't quorn give you breasts?

      Texture is all wrong anyways - Tempeh is the way forward, if you must eat soy substitution products.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But doesn't quorn give you breasts?

        Oh, that's what they are :)

        I agree texture is wrong for most things, but a spaghetti bolognese with quorn is just fine - and handy when one of the family is a veggie. I might check out tempeh for variety. Tried tofu once, but ech.

        I think texture will only be right when they manage to put in the right amounts of pseudo fat and gristle.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Quorn? I fiddled with that for awhile.

          No more. It's just not good eats. Waste of my time, and money.

          Tempeh is a much better product ... I've served homemade black-bean based tempeh burgers to confirmed carnivores without letting 'em in on the secret, and they never commented.

          Tofu works nicely as a meat analogue, if you do it right. Marinade 3/4 inch (2cm) slices of firm tofu in your favorite chicken marinade for 3-4 hours. Then dry it off, and press it by putting it between linen (not terrycloth!) kitchen towels, put a kilo/2pound bag of dried beans on top, then a cast iron skillet. Top it with a gallon tin of tomatoes (or other heavy-ish weight) for half an hour or 45 minutes to drive out some of the excess water. The beans mold the square edges into a more "meaty" profile. Grill it, or pan sear it in a very hot skillet in olive oil & butter, until it has a bit of caramalization and it is heated through, probably 2 or 2.5 minutes per side. Serve as you would boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

          With that said, I typically use rice & beans as my main protein 5 days a week (or thereabouts). Seems easier, and is more flexible. The other two days we do various meats (with the leftover meat acting as part of the "seasoning" for the rice & beans). Needless to say, we're a good deal healthier than your average Yank ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Quorn? I fiddled with that for awhile.

            Hmm. The tofu prep is a little too involved for me. But I've saved your instructions (assuming you permit - copyright and all :) ) in case one of my sprogs needs to know how to make something of the stuff.

          2. SiempreTuna
            Thumb Down

            Tofu?!

            You'd be better off chewing the rubber on your pencil (not a euphamism, but on reflection, that works, too)

  2. Drewc Gold badge

    No moral implications of eating human flesh for these two.

    Coup de theatre by these Dutch TV presenters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No moral implications of eating human flesh for these two.

      God, that's gross. Also seemed a bit kinky (A eating B's buttock flesh).

      Interesting, though. I managed to watch up to the point where they were talking about smelling it before eating and I had to kill it - revulsion was beginning to set in.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: No moral implications of eating human flesh for these two.

      That's just daft.

      If you want to see what humans taste like, eat pork.

  3. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    There's more than one type of veggie

    Any form of meat production is likely to be grossly inefficient, maybe a bit better than whole cows but still wasteful. Some veggies see that as a motivation in a world where food costs are rising.

    Many of course are bozos, persuing an over romanticised ideal that ignore the basic biology that we not only can eat meat but as omnivores we do need to consume at least some.

    Then again a friend of mine is an Oxford PhD biologist who just finds cows disgusting.

    Eating human flesh does have a moral dimension, depending upon your ethical system of course.

    There are diseases like Kuru which have evolved to exploit cannibalism and mad cow disease seems to have come about because recycling of non-food grade meat into animal feed was a short enough cycle that something could survive and evolve to exploit this new "environment".

    That means cannibalism creates a form of pollution, helping undesirable organisms evolve, indeed as we recycle more, we can expect stuff like that this to happen more.

    1. Lannister

      Re: There's more than one type of veggie

      So no Soylent Green in our future then?

      1. Sequin

        Re: There's more than one type of veggie

        In the original book (Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison) Soylent was made from Soya and Lentil, hence the name. Give me long pig any day!

  4. JamesTQuirk

    Have faith in GM

    The burger will probably try to eat vegetarians .....

  5. mimilovell

    ITs bad enough monsanto wants to control the worlds food resource with GM crops, and by eating that it genetically modify our bodies and the French studies shows it gives the rats cancer. Why does anyone want to eat genertically lab produced meat?

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/11/retraction-gm-crop-cancer-study.html

  6. dan1980

    Way old thread but it shows up in the forum list and I'm a vegetarian so what the hell?

    As such, I am often amused at the way some non-vegetarians (i.e. 'normal' people) throw out the 'we are meant to eat meat' line whenever any questions about vegetarianism come up. The amusing part is not that the person in question is just parroting a line, but that they are doing so in an almost defensive way.

    Let's be clear, though - I have no problems at all with meat-eaters. My long-time partner is not vegetarian and none of my previous partners have been. My family isn't vegetarian and none of my friends or co-workers are. I don't care if you use the 'meat tongs' to turn my vegetarian sausages on the BBQ. If I ever had kids, I would feed them meat until such time as they can make their own decisions.

    My opinions as regards manufactured meat, therefore, are not based at all on an ideological position.

    My first point would be, then, that growing meat naturally - in (e.g.) cow form - takes a lot of resources. It takes land and water and feed and medical treatment and so on.

    Unfortunately, there are situations where this is just not feasible, the most notable one looming somewhere over the horizon being space travel. The proposed Mars colonists are unlikely to be enjoying steak or bacon when they get there.

    It is very worthwhile to look at developing these alternatives because with time they will become more refined - cheaper to produce (in cost, required space and ingredients) - and thus more viable. There may well come a time in the not-right-now-but-not-that-far-off-either future where our population has expanded to such an extent that 'real' meat has become a luxury that very few are able to afford.

    It might sound like some bad dystopian sci-fi scenario but our population is increasing as our usable farming land is decreasing - we need food sources that are sustainable, plentiful, affordable and nutritious. Taste is important but that can come later.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Humans & food.

      Teeth suggest an omnivore diet is a good idea.

      YMMV.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Not much can grow on hill farms apart from grass and animals are good at turning grass into human edible food.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no one uses the science forum?

    Bump!

    Shame on you commentards for letting the science forum be the least used!

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