When the summer months roll around, the manly spirit awakens from its winter slumber and remembers how much it likes burning animal meat—and so erupts the season of the barbecue. Unfortunately, we live in a world where pleasures that we take for granted are fast becoming unsustainable, and the future is looking grim, even for the humble barbecue. So live it up while you can, people, because soon enough you could be eating…
To the average Westerner, eating bugs is something you only do to bolster your playground cred. But you’d be surprised how many countries already incorporate insects as a regular part of their diet. And while eating deep-fried grasshoppers like some bowl of godless cereal might not appeal to you, meat is becoming an ever more expensive resource, and insects can be a nutritional, protein-rich alternative to more traditional foods. It might take a few years, but seeing as insects are cheaper and more environmentally friendly to farm than livestock, the smart money says your future hot dog is just as likely to contain mealworms as, um, whatever it is they put in hot dogs now.
The hamburger: An iconic staple not just of the summer barbecue, but of America itself. Pure cow, cooked in its own seemingly endless fat, slapped between a bun, and loaded up with so many auxiliary toppings that you might not even notice if the patty slipped out. Is it such a stretch, then, to imagine that you might not notice if your burger was mostly made of algae? Of course, nobody expects you to grill up a slab of seaweed and call it beef, but algae can be granulized and mixed in with meat, tofu, or even cheese as a healthier alternative to salt. And since it can be farmed at sea, it is thought to be a viable option for keeping humanity fed in the future. After all, seaweed is already a staple in many Asian countries. It’s also fast-growing, cheap to farm, and there are literally thousands of different varieties – but no word on whether they’ve found one yet that isn’t completely gross.
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Life hasn’t been too kind to the cow. Most cattle spend their dull lives standing in a field waiting to die and/or be milked by some redneck farmer. But what if there was a way to have the best parts of the cow, without any of the sadness? Dutch scientists have attempted to do just that – create lab-grown beef, using muscle cells to produce actual meat that has never been sullied with self-awareness. In-vitro meat is still a hotly debated issue, as people are understandably a little weirded out by the idea of test-tube dinners, but with so many advantages, clone steak is a very real possibility for your future barbecue. It’s creepy, but at least you’ll still have a stack of cold ones to wash down the nightmarish food, right? Well, hold on to your pilsner because...
Your Beer Buddy May Be a Robot
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It may not seem like it, but beer is undergoing something of a technological revolution. With more interest than ever before in craft beers, dozens of new devices aim to transform beer from a joyous art-form into a calculated science. With a robot to do your home-brewing and even taste-test your brew for you, it’s only a matter of time before science cuts out the middle man completely and populates the world with drunken robots, leaving humanity – and its favorite pastime – left to wander through some kind of dipsomaniacaldystopian society.
Photos by Photo: Lew Robertson / Getty