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A ‘Food Printer’? Are you kidding?

June 22, 2013

My real world job in manufacturing / engineering / product testing gets a lot of fresh information from the ‘tech’ world. So, one of the latest new gizmos on that scene is a project that NASA is interested in. Seems this cool idea would (possibly) work well to feed astronauts on long-term trips in the future. What the thing does is take ink jet printing and amplifies that idea into ‘printing’ food. The ink tanks are replaced with concentrated liquid food building blocks, like protein, starch, sugars and so forth. As it ‘prints’ the concentrates are squirted down in a very thin layer, onto a baking sheet and the food is baked as it’s printing.

The sales pitch for this far out technology is of course, space travel as their prime customer and promoter, NASA and the endless quest to ‘end world hunger’. The world hunger angle is that these machines, using these liquid concentrates of fats, proteins, sugars, oils, etc are NOT concerned about the SOURCE of the proteins and so forth. In their world, a protein is a protein, no matter what the source. whether it be a cow, some duckweed or a pound of bugs, all the same as far as basic food building blocks are required. So, a slab of protein from this machine is the same as a quarter pounder hamburger of beef or a quarter pound ‘hamburger’ made of bugs.  That idea, the ‘end product’ vs the source, is what they think can radically change the world food supply, from our existing food crops and protein animals, into virtually anything that moves, crawls, swims, flies or grows on the planet.  Renumber the old movie ‘Soylent Green‘? Dig it up on Netflix or someplace, it’s interesting how it ties in.

Seems to me, though, getting western civilization to eat this stuff, we would have to end food ingredient disclosure laws, otherwise the idea of these particular ingredients will not go over well. Roach and snail concentrate, anyone? Either that, or use the scientific nomenclature for that particular bug, so that the low information voter would eat it without wondering too much about exactly what a “Periplaneta americana” (American cockroach) might be.

Anyhow, what I’m leading up to here is that while a potential ‘good idea’, this is just yet another techno-gadget that society will become dependent upon, for their very food to live, if it were carried on as a successful idea. Leave out the bugs for now, get ’em used to the idea, right? Already, the majority of modern society would not recognize the real foods we consume were they to walk around the typical commercial farm. If it’s not all clean, perfect and laid out in the grocery, they could be in a world of hurt attempting to find it on their own. They could be standing in the middle of an acre of carrots and have no clue what’s under their feet. 098-Carrot   Those are carrots, by the way.  Millions already will totally starve without their packaged food, delivered just in time to their Kroger supermarket by a fragile infrastructure of growers, processors, and transportation, preferably microwave entrees that can be ready in minutes. While technology is cool, it can lock one out of surviving if you don’t have some knowledge of ‘old school’ ways of doing things. Like gardening, for starters.

Now, apply that same high-tech versus totally primitive idea to your survival gear. There is almost as wide a gap between the high dollar, nifty, light weight, multi-fuel backpacking stoves and the most basic, as we have in the above ideas. Such as this one. Not only does it burn butane, but every liquid fuel too – white gas, kerosene, diesel #1, auto fuel, jet fuel and others. Wonderful idea, using all those different fuels which gives one such versatility in scrounging. In my bug out bag, I prefer the absolute simplest equipment, the most basic and the most durable  titanium  wood stove or my personal favorite, a Kelly kettle  wood burner (the video). The Kelly boils your water in very little time, and boiled water is the only way to go out in the ‘wilds’, sourced from creeks or whatever. Your item is now as simplistic as it can possibly be designed and your fuel source is virtually all around you, where ever you may be. Any kind of burnable material that would fit into the opening will do. I would do all my cooking using any of these devices, in either extreme in price or technology, in a pan, pot or skillet, not over the direct flames unless I was very sure what the fuel (wood) was, because if one were down to burning scraps of newspaper or whatever, the flames and smoke will more than likely have toxic materials in them.

So, at the bottom of it all, we can enjoy modern technology, but back that up with knowledge of how to get by WITHOUT it. If the lights went out right now, thi…………………………………….

  1. Scary. It would normally be a great idea but I see where that printer will lead and for people to go blindly into this new “technology” is insane. Especially under current conditions where greed is rewarded, people are not equipped with morals and there is few that would know how to survive without technology. Great post. I’m against the food printer. There are some creeping things that one should not eat unless it is a survival situation.

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