5 Amazing Hi-Tech Solutions To Common Food Annoyances
If you know anything about me, and you better not, you know that I love me some food innovation. Anything that makes the difficult task of putting food in my face hole easier really glazes my donut. But despite the fact that I've amassed BOTH an Instant Pot and an ice maker that makes ice like the kind you get at restaurants, I'm light years behind the crazy innovations that are coming to make your mealtimes astronomically more awesome (or at least easier) than they currently are.
Taste Perception Technology That Tricks Your Brain Into Eating Healthy
Eating healthy is a bit of a tough job for some people, because rice cakes taste like shoe insoles and kale is the devil's sloughed-off back skin. But if you could trick yourself into thinking you were eating a delicious ham when you're digging into a floppy, flappy slab of tofu, then you'd be on the fast track to good health.
That's why scientists at the American Chemical Society showed off a device called the Gas Chromatograph-Olfactometry Associated Taste. Its purpose is to fool your brain with smell, and it was developed in a pretty crafty way. Participants smelled fruit juice pumped up their noses through a tube, and researchers slightly altered individual molecules being pumped while the smellers ranked the perceived sweetness of the juice. The conclusion they reached was that certain molecules found in certain foods absolutely change our perception of the taste. Those molecules, when smelled while eating any food, can trick us into thinking it's sweeter, saltier, hammier, or whatever.
The practical implications of this experiment were made real when people were given a flan and then jammed full of, you guessed it, beautiful ham stink. The ham smell made the flan taste saltier than it really was, proving that this bizarre idea could actually work and also that flan could be edible. This means companies can use the device to isolate the specific smells they want to add to food, which has the potential to greatly alter the way healthy food is presented. So instead of offering some bullshit low-fat version of a Pizza Pop, they can just make an apple taste like a Pizza Pop, the way God intended.
Smell isn't the only trick up the long white sleeve of science, either. Professor and somewhat mad scientist Adrian David Cheok from City University of London invented a little device he called Taste Buddy. The incredibly impractical device clips onto your tongue (For now, anyway. They're trying to put it into utensils) and sends an electrical signal to your taste buds that is capable of tricking them into thinking you're tasting salty, sweet, sour, bitter, or a combination of flavors to mimic foods like chocolate, for instance. If we must use technology to fool ourselves into eating the food that will keep us alive, fine. It'll be like a little Matrix for our mouths.
Delivery Pizza That Is Cooked Along The Way (Possibly With Robots)
What do you hate most about pizza? Is it goddamn pizza people? Those shady-ass pepperoni pushers and mozzarella mongers, with their fucking hats and Papa John dick dinger nicknames just ruining your whole meal experience? That's weird, man. Chill out. But also, the biggest problem with pizza is getting that shit to you in a timely fashion. It's either "30 minutes or less" or "possibly tomorrow." But no longer, thanks to an arms race among pizza chains to get a fleet of robots to cook and deliver your pie on the move, delivering it to your door so hot that it'll sear the skin right off of your mouth.
Let's start with pizza startup Zume in California. Zume is almost fully automated, with robots stretching that dough into a pizza and then laying down the toppings on it. But more importantly, they also have fleets of oven trucks where the robots can just cook that shit in the back while it's being delivered to you. So no more waiting for cooking and then delivery like some kind of Stone Age sucker. This is how Jesus would deliver pizza if he wasn't so busy fighting devil scorpions in outer space.
Even though Zume is small time right now, they're growing, and the bigger places are taking notice. Ford is pairing up with Domino's, and Toyota is working a deal with Pizza Hut to create new fleets of self-driving delivery vehicles that can, down the road, also include ovens in the vehicles. And Papa John's? Well, Papa John's will probably still be making pizza that tastes like another larger pizza's taint.
Packaging That Detects When Food Has Spoiled
You ever pluck a yogurt or some other perishable out of the fridge, look from the expiration date to the calendar, and think "Fuck it, how bad could it be?" I do it constantly, and so far, it has only ever really backfired with some chicken breast I'd forgotten about and thought was in a marinade but apparently was not. But that's not even going to be an issue for much longer thanks to bump marks, which are basically organic "Best Before" dates that wither and die at the same pace as your dinner.
The concept behind Bump Marks is pretty ingenious in its simplicity. A tiny gelatin tag covers a label with some bumps on it. When the food, and the tag, is fresh, the gelatin is solid and slick, like me after five beers. But as it ages, the gelatin degrades at the same rate as the food within the package and falls to shit, like me after ten beers. Once the gelatin has melted away, you'll feel the bumps in the label and know that the food in the package has gone bad as well. The food is now a mistake to consume or even be around, like me after 20 beers.
The label will work for any kind of food, as you simply alter the thickness to account for whatever it might be. Best of all, unlike a simple date printed on a package, this thing degrades in accordance with whether you know what the fuck you're doing in the kitchen or not. So if you know to refrigerate a pork chop, it's going to last longer than if you leave it on the counter for two days, or store it in a sack under your dog. So even in the worst case, that quickly disappearing pork chop mark will be a humbling experience. A chance for growth. And a chance for you to throw out all of your old pork chops.
Onions Engineered To Not Cause Tears
If you Google how to cut onions without crying, then you're misusing the internet, because there's way cooler stuff to be Googling, like how to win a fight with nothing but Falcon Punches to the throat or videos of people exploding manholes by accident. But you will find a lot of tips on the onion thing, from chewing gum to wearing goggles to maybe telling your eyes to stop being such weak little drama queens. But all of that can go pound salt now, thanks to Sunions. Yeah, I know.
Made by the hard-working scientists at Bayer, who I guess take time off from making aspirin to fuck about in the garden, the Sunion is their name for a 30-years-in-the-making strain of onion that refuses to make you cry when you cut it. And don't go being afraid that it's some GMO monstrosity that won't cause tears but maybe will make you grow a forehead dick if you eat enough of it, because it's not GM at all. It's the result of good old-fashioned selective cross breeding. (Which ... actually is genetic modification, technically, but still.) They took the least-pungent strains of onion they could find and bred them for generations until they got an onion so mild you may have to put mayonnaise on it just to spice it up.
The newly created onion is still a noxious little asshole when you pluck it from the earth, but in storage it mellows out like your grandma after a box of wine, and becomes sweeter and easier to deal with. Admittedly, in the grand scheme of things, fixing onions wouldn't be my first choice for scientific breakthroughs, but I'll take what I can get at this point.
A Radio Frequency Oven Will Never Cook a Meal Incorrectly
Recently, I made the bold decision to cook some bacon on the stove top and leave the room long enough to let that bacon vaporize into a sooty, smoky mass that melted most of the spice bottles around the stove and stained my walls black. It wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done, but it was one of the most visually stunning. And it demonstrated for me that I really need an oven that's smarter than I am. Enter the Miele Dialog Oven, the most high-tech thing you can put your meat in since the sexbot.
The Miele Dialog will set you back about $9,500, which is three or four times the cost of your average oven, but only because it's not that widespread yet and your average oven is hot, useless, and stupid compared to it. The Miele uses electromagnetic wave cooking, making it something like a microwave, if your microwave was made in this century by someone who cares whether your burrito is cooked evenly instead of scalding the outside and freezing the inside. The EM cooking method is super precise, monitoring food while it cooks for temperature and consistency. To force a marketing term in there, it SPEAKS to your food, adjusting moment to moment to ensure the perfect cook. It's like your oven is being controlled by a million tiny Bobby Flays.
How badass is this thing in practice? During demonstrations, the makers of the oven showed it off to reviewers by putting a fish encased in a solid block of ice in the oven. The fish was cooked through perfectly and the goddamn ice didn't melt, because this oven is a fucking ninja. And because of the way it cooks, it can cut back on cook time by up to 70 percent, depending on what you're cooking, which is way more impressive than the popcorn button on your current microwave, which you have never, ever used.
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