Print Your Own Food?

As you know, because I'm a "geek" and have a strong attraction to all things technical, from time-to-time I share tech news I've discovered in the hope it'll make your life a little easier and more fun. With that in mind, this latest "innovation" -- a tech-obsessed chef who has developed edible food off a color inkjet printer -- absolutely goes beyond the pale.

Chicago-based chef Homaru Cantu has modified an inkjet printer to "create" dishes made of edible paper that can taste like anything from birthday cake to sushi. Here's how it works: Ink cartridges are loaded with fruit and vegetable concoctions instead of black or colored ink, and the paper tray contains edible sheets of soybean and potato starch. Then, tasty versions of foods, based on images downloaded from the web, are generated by the otherwise normal inkjet printer.

Even the menu is edible, as customers can tear it up to turn a bowl of gazpacho into an odd looking alphabet soup. Cantu will even season menus to taste like the main courses. He'll also prepare edible photographs flavored to fit a given theme. For example, an image of a cow might taste like filet mignon.

Until the paperwork is filed on patents, of course, the chef isn't saying how he modified the print heads to write in vegetable juice, or giving away any recipes for his colorful inks, other than to say carrots, tomatoes and purple potatoes are involved in "the formula."

By the way, inkjet foods is merely one of the more "conventional products" Cantu has in development. He's also currently experimenting with liquid nitrogen, helium and superconductors to make foods levitate and has tested a hand-held ion-particle gun to do just that.

Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather eat real food, and on a plate, not above my head.

New Scientist February 10, 2005

New York Times February 2, 2005

Spartanburg Herald-Journal February 3, 2005

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