Nanny State

Menu Labeling, Meet Digital Gastronomy

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There are a lot of problems with requiring that restaurants include calorie counts on their menus and placards. But one of the biggest is that it's very difficult get accurate measurements day to day, chef to chef, and dish to dish. If the rest of the nation goes the way of the Big Apple—and it looks like it might, thanks to some provisions hidden in the health care bill—and gets tough on menu boards, restaurateurs are going to need some technological help with the compliance. Food testing is expensive and time consuming. But what about food synthesis?

Behold a new project from MIT's Fluid Interface Group, Cornucopia:

it's the personal food factory!

Cornucopia is a concept design for a personal food factory that brings the versatility of the digital world to the realm of cooking. In essence, it is a three dimensional printer for food, which works by storing, precisely mixing, depositing and cooking layers of ingredients.

Cornucopia's cooking process starts with an array of food canisters, which refrigerate and store a user's favorite ingredients. These are piped into a mixer and extruder head that can accurately deposit elaborate combinations of food. While the deposition takes place, the food is heated or cooled by Cornucopia's chamber or the heating and cooling tubes located on the printing head.

And here's the part New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and molecular gastronomist Ferran Adrià will both love:

This fabrication process not only allows for the creation of flavors and textures that would be completely unimaginable through other cooking techniques, but it also allows the user to have ultimate control over the origin, quality, nutritional value and taste of every meal.

Note to Michael Pollan: Your grandmother certainly wouldn't recognize this.

Via John Inderdohnen