The scientists who brought us the world's first lab-grown hamburger are now aiming to soften people's minds and palates to the idea of eating test-tube meat with their new In Vitro Meat Cookbook.
The book, designed in the image of an old-fashioned cooking bible that your grandma may have owned, is a lighthearted look at the cultural, moral and sustainable issues of eating in vitro meat in future decades.
Authors say they aim to "visualize a wide range of potential dishes that help us decide what future we actually want," with a dossier of roughly 50 fantastical recipes including knitted meat, revived dodo wings and meat cocktails.
"It's a weird book. It's a cookbook from which you cannot cook from just yet," Koert van Mensvoort, the cookbook's creative director, told ABC News. "We knew it would be speculative because the technology is still evolving and still very expensive."
Van Mensvoort said he collaborated with cooks, designers and engineers on the recipes which are packaged with colorful illustrations and images alongside interviews and essays from scientists, activists, and philosophers.
Ideas in the book, which range from meat fondue and meat fruit to meat paint for 5-10-year-olds, were met with enthusiasm from donors who contributed to an indiegogo campaign to fund the book. The campaign, which had been running since Sept. 18, exceeded its aim of 20,000 Euro less than 24 hours ago.
Authors also made clear the book, to be released March 2014, is intended purely as "design fiction" and that the recipes aren't likely to be realized anytime soon. In fact it took a team led by Dutch scientist Mark Post five years and $330,000 to grow the Frankenburger in a laboratory from bovine stemcells, which was served with a pinch of salt and pepper to two eager volunteers in August.
When the burger was finally served up, the consensus was it was disappointingly "short on taste." But that is not the only problem pundits have with eating what some refer to as "petrie dish meat."
"Right now if I walk into the street and ask people if they would eat in vitro meat, they would say 'no – it's artificial, it's not real.' In a way they're right," said van Mensvoort, who noted that some of the recipes may simply be "too weird or undesirable" for public consumption.
Van Mensvoort said the team is not only aiming to bring more awareness to environmental issues, but are "playing the 'what if' game" to get people thinking and talking about their food and the future.
"We're not promoting in vitro meat," he said. "We're exploring the food culture it will bring. I think the cookbook is a good format."