Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Microstory 948: Clean Meat

I love meat. Meaty, meat, meat. Here it goes down; down into my belly. Mm-mm-mm. I love cow meat, and pig meat, and bird meat, and sea meat. When I was younger, I was willing to eat any kind of animal, as long as it wasn’t lamb or veal. Why those exceptions? Well, they’re babies, and I think eating babies is monstrous. But maybe that’s just me. Other than that, I was up for anything. Cow tongue, escargot, caviar; whatever, I’m a pretty adventurous guy. I never had any interest in becoming a vegetarian, but somehow at the same time, I always wanted to be a vegetarian. I never liked the fact that something had to die so that I could live, but I did it, because I needed the protein. Things are different now, though. I’m educated enough to know that there are vegetarian protein options, I’m living late enough in history for those options to be readily available, and now all I need is the money. I would love to go full vegetarian right now, but I just cannot afford the substitutes I would need to stay healthy. If I had better self-control, and wasn’t a recovering binge eater, I might be able to get away with it. After all, the majority of your diet is meant to be carbohydrates anyway. That doesn’t work, though, when the you can’t get full just from eating fruits and vegetables, and ended up eating thousands of calories a day to compensate.

A few months ago, one of my cousins was being celebrated for having graduated from college. Family from all over came to the area for a lunch, which was being catered by a local fried chicken place. They came in with this huge tin of dark chicken meat, and I wanted to throw up. My favorite food had always been chicken, but that looked so...Usonian (you would call it “American”). It was excessive and wasteful; it kind of opened up my eyes. I decided I wanted to change my lifestyle, but I knew I couldn’t just go cold turkey (pun well intended). Ironically, I’ve actually kept the chicken in my diet, along with other fowl. I also continue to eat seafood, though it’s fairly expensive in landlocked Kansas, so it’s mostly birds. Chicken. It’s mostly chicken. All I did was cut out the mammals, which is perhaps the easiest way to explain it. I’m saving up money so I can by a car, but once I have that, I’ll start I can adopt an older child. But maybe someday down the line, I’ll be able to afford—and consistently stomach—all those nuts, lentils, tofu, quinoa, and yogurt. Hopefully soon, though, I’ll have an even better option. They call it clean meat. You know me; I’m great at naming things. Seriously, using my linguistics resources to figure out how to name things is a special skill I have that’s surpassed by few others. I’m the one who came up with the term materianet, for anyone reading this in the future when it has finally replaced the ridiculously-sounding “internet of things”. Clean meat is an odd choice of words, and an entirely politco-marketing one. It’s not any cleaner than regular meat, but it is less cruel. What they do is extract a few cells from a living creature, let that creature continue to live, then engineer the sample to grow on its own. It’s a fascinating process that is presently still in its infancy, but it is showing real promise. Imagine the staunchest of carnivores capable of devouring any meat they’d like without having killed a single animal. Despite all those restaurants that make you wear use forks for soup—or whatever other crap they do—this really will revolutionize the food industry, and I’m extremely pleased with the prospect.

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