There are some annoyances everyone with a kitchen has to learn to live with, like pasta sticking to the bottom of the pot or onions making you cry (because onions murdered your family). But that's just part of being an independent adult, right?
"Fuuuck that noise!" screams modern science, frothing at the mouth and guzzling bath salts like Fun Dip. For right now, a whole slew of mad scientists -- mad with flavor -- are concocting wackadoo solutions for the myriad inconveniences holding us back from realizing humankind's true obesity.
It's well-known to every half-starved college student that the cheaper you are when it comes to buying red meat, the closer its consistency will be to a brick of chewing gum. There's a good reason for that: Only about 10 percent of the animal that gave its life for your sandwich has those tender and delicious muscles everyone likes, so naturally the providers will always charge us more for meat that doesn't remind you of a yoga mat. Scientists in New Zealand are adding a new ingredient that will change that, though.
Since the '70s, New Zealand has been zapping fresh cuts of beef with low-voltage currents to fend off the posthumous oxidization that generally renders meat brown and chewy upon refrigeration. Originally, this technique was used on only a few muscles, but like in any successful scientific venture, the next step was to turn it up to 11 -- or to 25,000, since that's the amount of volts researchers recently decided to start testing on meat. And shoc-- uh, surprisingly (pun averted), it worked. By exposing meats to Soviet interrogation techniques, Kiwi scientists at Otago University achieved a 25-percent improvement in tenderization rates. Nobel Prize, anyone?
This current renaissance in meat electrocution has inspired experimentation, and even the toughest cuts of meat can be made more palatable with a little electric boogaloo. Converting the 90 percent of the animal carcass that was previously doomed to tasting like butt could revolutionize the meat industry. Plus, steak with a side of electricity would be the most badass meal ever conceived.
In theory, there should be no negative side effects whatsoever of the electrically-tenderized meat, but the researchers haven't been able to taste-test it yet (as they've all been presumably too busy down at the records office arguing who gets to change his or her name to "Oxshocker Odinson").
Modern society has a huge hard-on for peanuts. People use the highly nutritious treats to prevent birth defects, shave, and even for eating. This, of course, is a bit of an inconvenience for the 2.8 million Americans who are allergic to the unassuming legume. If you're not one of the chosen people, then imagine how much fun it would be to know that you're always one careless waiter away from going from 1990 Val Kilmer to 2010 Val Kilmer in mere seconds ... or, you know, dying. You can die from eating a tiny thing everyone loves. Thanks a lot, evolution.
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But what could we possibly do to fix this? Create hypoallergenic peanuts, somehow? Well, yeah. It's fucking 2015. We can do anything (except invent hover cars).
Scientists at North Carolina A&T University are playing culinary wingman for everyone who's ever been bullied by that monocle-wearing asshole. See, the allergic reaction that reduces your body to hives and snot is triggered by a variety of peanut-centric proteins. This is actually a blessing in disguise, since shutting down proteins is a relatively easy procedure: The researchers simply soaked peanuts in an enzyme that smashes through proteins' cell walls and wrecks shit like a tiny Juggernaut. This reduced the allergic quality of peanuts by freaking 98-100 percent, with no other side effects. Frankly, it's kind of embarrassing that no one gave enough of a shit to try this until now.
The researchers already confirmed the process works by testing these super-peanuts on humans through skin-prick tests, because presumably none of the volunteers liked PB&J (or knew what that was). What's more, peanuts are only the first step in the grand plan to conquer the hell out of food allergens, and other tree nuts are now in the crosshairs. The researchers are also tackling wheat allergies and finding success using the same enzymatic process. Still no word on hyperallergenic foods for espionage and stealth-killing ventures, but we'll get there. Again: 2015, motherfuckers.
Getting food poisoning is a pain in the ass -- literally, depending on how flagrantly the food Gumball-3000s through your rectum. It can also be a pain in other, even more essential parts of your body if you end up in the hospital from eating that piece of crab rangoon you didn't realize had gone bad (it was only under your sofa for, like, two weeks). Well, science has finally said "no more" and invented a new way to disinfect food ... by filling it with viruses.
Don't worry, scientists would never willingly add harmful agents in your beef for the sake of scientific query (that became illegal in the '70s). Instead, these viruses, or bacteriophages, infect only bacterial pathogens and are perfectly safe for human consumption. They also look like tiny alien spaceships, which is pretty cool and not ominous at all.
Bacteriophages dock onto malevolent cells, puncture the enemy hull with needle-like appendages, and discharge their genetic material quicker than a premature ejaculator halfway to first base. The foreign DNA tricks bacterial cells into producing more bacteriophages, which multiply indefinitely until their host bursts. The whole process looks exactly like a microscopic recreation of the last act of Star Wars.
To test the effectiveness of this method, researchers set up beef and spinach samples at different temperatures and tainted them with more E. Coli than even a full meal at Sizzlers. The 'phages worked famously, reducing E. Coli numbers by 99 percent in spinach and room-temperature beef. In layman's terms, you wouldn't get the shits from eating that food anymore.
Another unlikely thing we're using viruses for: making water boil faster. Efficient boiling is sabotaged by bubbles, which get in the way like dumbasses and reduce contact between the hotness and the relatively cool water. To halt bubble production, scientists have coated surfaces with tobacco mosaic viruses -- basically, little dicks that wick away bubbles through capillary action.
The researchers created this method for use in nuclear power plants, high-powered computing, and radar building, and they point out that it's unlikely it will ever reach our kitchens. Still, if one day these viruses make boiling pasta just a little bit faster, we'll know human progress has finally reached its apex.
When you look at an apple slice and notice that it's starting to brown, the hungry caveman inside of you (correctly) says, "There's nothing wrong with it; eat with confidence. Also, the Sun is God's giant ineffable birthday candle burning for all eternity." Compare that to contemporary you, who whines, "Ewwww." Apparently, the second voice wins a lot more often, because food wastage is getting to be a real problem. The same thing happens with potatoes, which bruise about as often as skateboarders and end up in the garbage because of such concern for aesthetics. The UK alone throws away 190,000 metric tons of still-edible apples and 390,000 of potatoes (or "poatatouahes" as they spell it across the pond).
So in an attempt to stop people from throwing away perfectly good (albeit gross-looking) food, the FDA has approved a line of genetically-modified apples and potatoes that retain a clear complexion much longer than their natural brethren. Arctic apples and Innate potatoes (free indie band names, by the by) have been deemed safe for consumption by the FDA and a non-threat to other plants by the Department of Agriculture. Spliced into existence by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the apple's non-browning properties will hopefully increase its appeal, even though Americans are unlikely to notice the difference after caramel is applied.
Meanwhile, the Innate potatoes are not only bruise-resistant (so farmers can be as reckless as they want) but also modified to produce fewer carcinogenic chemicals when fried -- presumably so that future consumers can die of Pringles-induced structural collapse before cancer swoops in to steal the deal like a giant glory-hog.
Of course, GMO conspiracists will always find reason to get their low-carbon-footprint, hemp-wool panties in a bunch, and the concern now is that the names "Arctic" and "Innate" do not properly convey that the foods have been modified. However, at this point, it might be easier to demarcate foodstuffs that haven't been radically engineered to suit humanity. Next step: bananas that aren't shaped like dicks, for the sexually insecure male.
Nothing sours the microwaved burrito experience faster than biting into half-thawed, soggy corners or scalding, white phosphorus centers. And so, in spite of mankind's many technical achievements, rolled tortilla entrees still perplex our greatest minds.
Until now. Allow us to introduce what will surely be seen as one of the greatest inventions of the century: the magical X-ray microwave.
Fret not, the term "X-ray" refers to the LCD screen embedded within the device and not actual radiation, so no, it won't give you cancer (but it won't give you any superpowers either). The microwave is equipped with a simple infrared camera that produces a heat map of your food so you can tell when it's done, and also so you have something to watch while reflecting on whatever past mistakes have reduced you to eating microwaved burritos.
But that's not even the most convenient part: The microwave is also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can monitor your egg rolls from the couch and adjust cooking times according to how depressed you are. The screen also does other things screens usually do, like displaying recipes or playing videos to momentarily distract you from the fact that your evening companion is a Celeste pizza for one. Holy shit, it even looks like a warm, delicious HAL:
The "Better Microwave" was designed by Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer who felt compelled to extend his duty to humanity. Sadly, the microwave is only a prototype right now, but Rober has established a webpage to gauge interest and raise funds, since Kickstarter is too mainstream for some people. The good news is that there's a decent chance we'll see this in stores sooner rather than later, since the required LCD screens and infrared cameras are already commercially available for hobbyists and burgeoning night-prowlers alike. The bad news is that we're all definitely dying alone now.
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