In WIRED, Ali Bouzari makes a great case that food should be allowed to stand on its own merits, not forced into an imitation game it cannot win. He writes:
Food analogue companies have made some staggeringly impressive leaps. But with a long, arduous road to perfection still ahead, it’s worth considering the option of avoiding Mori’s valley altogether through the creativity of chefs. Chefs are opportunistic creators: Without a set target to imitate, they are free to explore infinite variations on a flavor theme. They can nimbly veer away from potential hurdles in pursuit of freeform deliciousness. When a chef makes a miso from coffee beans or cures butternut squash in the style of parmesan, she’s not aiming for perfect re-creations of soy and dairy products; she just wants a super savory sauce base with the roasty depth of good coffee or a grateable topping to enhance a squash ravioli. By embracing the natural character of their source ingredients, chefs expand the spectrum of craveable experiences that plant foods can offer beyond mere imitation of animal products.
The food companies attempting to navigate the uncanny valley of food are striving to achieve unprecedented technological feats in the name of a more humane, sustainable future. I want them to succeed for the sake of the environment, because I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of them, and so that we can move on from simple imitation. Biochemically speaking, the abundant variety of tastes, aromas, colors, textures, and flavor-generating enzymes offered by plant foods dwarfs that which we can find in animals—so forcing plants to act like meat actually undersells their potential. The whole point of creating CGI humans in movies is so they can do amazing things normal people can’t, and I look forward to the day when we can expect that same thrill from the snacks we eat at the theater.
Read more here.
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E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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