This past Saturday, March 17, was the 108th Explorers Club Annual Dinner. It was held, as ever, at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan, because that's traditional and also because the Waldorf has a very liberal attitude toward allowing camels and kangaroos to mill around in its ballroom.
Before the live animals are trotted out on stage, the opening hour of the festivity is dedicated to cocktails -- such as the Explorers Club Martini, which has a cow's eyeball in it for garnish -- and exotic eatables, all sourced, prepared, and masterminded by Gene Rurka, the club's "Exotics Chairman."
We've seen the plasma beam toothbrush, where a blast of room-temperature plasma destroys plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Now researchers at Drexel University have applied the technology to raw chicken and found that the gentle blue blast of ionized matter effectively removes pathogens on the poultry's surface.
Earlier this week, we rejoiced at some promising news about the future of creating tasty meat without killing animals. Today, New Scientist is reporting from a workshop in Göteborg, Sweden, where Maastricht University meat scientist Mark Post relates his intention to grill up an in-vitro hamburger within a year.
In 2009, we heard the wonderful news that scientists at Holland's Eindhoven University of Technology had successfully grown pork in a petri dish: a giant step toward the dream of eating a pork chop without slaughtering a pig for it. Unfortunately, the lab-grown meat was floppy, "soggy," and structureless, not at all what you'd like to toss on your grill and tuck into.
Now, scientists at the same university have figured out a way to get cultured muscle cells to have structure and strength.
Those of us who want to keep meat from spoiling for more than a few weeks have had limited options till now. We can cure it into bacon or sausage; freeze it or dry it; or buy it supermarket-"fresh" in a shrink-wrapped envelope. Now Daniel J. O'Sullivan, a professor at the U. of Minnesota, has a new solution that might keep a piece of meat fresh for years on the shelf.
The fastest human butchers can fully debone about 150 chickens per hour. That's a lot of chickens! But the new Mayekawa Automatic Chicken Deboner easily bests it, masterfully breaking down a whopping 1,500 chickens in the same amount of time--which, if our math is correct, is ten times faster than a flesh-and-blood butcher.
Foodies want to know everything about their animal-based dishes these days — where the meat came from, what it ate, what its name was. OK, maybe not that last part. But there is a big difference between industrial cattle farms and grass-fed meat — both in price and in nutritional considerations.
Why do people seek out yaks, bears, and other exotic eatables? An enthusiast tells why, and how
By Dave ArnoldPosted 11.08.2010 at 11:09 am 43 Comments
In the November issue, we looked at how scientists are using DNA analysis to track down endangered species that are being hunted for food. Here, Dave Arnold talks about why some people prefer exotic meats.
For the most part, Americans are obsessed with tenderness, and favor mild-flavored meat. We eat a fairly small number of animals, almost all of them slaughtered young, when their meat is at its least flavorful. Fortunately, some of us are starting to realize that meat can be much more interesting. As the food revolution continues to gain traction, our ancestral lust for robust, unusual meats is starting to spark and reawaken.
Today, at Germany's first-ever trade fair dedicated to the wonders of doner kebab, new technology was unveiled that promises to change street-meat forever more: FFDR-V1004, the doner robot.
Doner kebab is the familiar dish, Turkish in origin but ubiquitous in Germany, of meat grilled on a vertical rotating spit and sliced off upon request. (It's kin to Greek gyros and Middle Eastern shawarma.) Until now, though, the slicing of the meat has been performed by the clumsy hands of humans.
Everyone's talking about sous vide, the scientific cooking method that's making its way from the lab to the home kitchen. The Sous Vide Supreme, which we reviewed earlier this week, is the first turnkey sous vide setup for home cooks. But we DIY kitchen nerds haven't been idly waiting for an off-the-shelf solution: We cobbled together our own sous vide setups years ago. It can be done by piecing together a few readily available components -- or even, for more intrepid tinkerers, by soldering together some less readily available ones. Here's how.