Future holiday feasts may be made by 3D food printers

The microwave was no doubt a curious invention if you were used to ovens and stoves all of your life. Well, here's what could replace the 'wave: 3D food printers. They construct dishes bit by bit, allowing you to control everything from flavor and texture to nutrition.

We've seen food printers before as an experiment, but a team at Cornell University in New York is looking at the technology as something that could revolutionize our food experience with the same kind of impact as email had on communication.

That's a lofty claim, but the advent of 3D printing means that the sky really is the limit for what could happen. Instead of whipping out pans and cutting up ingredients, you'd be able to give your printer a recipe that would act like a blueprint for your meal. Like your cookies on the softer side? You could adjust that. Want a healthier meatloaf? You could tweak every little thing that would affect its nutritional value.

More than just printing your food, your device could also construct your cookware and utensils, which means that restaurants could be affected just as much as the home.

Homaro Cantu is the chef and owner of the Moto Restaurant in Chicago, and he's experimented with 3D printing in making food. "Imagine being able to essentially 'grow', 'cook' or prepare foods without the negative industrial impact — everything from fertilizers to saute pans and even packaging," Cantu said in a BBC interview. "You can imagine a 3D printer making homemade apple pie without the need for farming the apples, fertilizing, transporting, refrigerating, packaging, fabricating, cooking, serving and the need for all of the materials in these processes like cars, trucks, pans, coolers, etc."

Right now, food printing tech is limited to what can be forced out of a syringe, meaning that liquids and liquefied food is the order of the day. That doesn't mean we'll all be eating baked baby gruel, though — the Cornell study is also looking at techniques that break familiar foods down into their basic components so that they could be replicated from the ground up.

Seeing that food above squeezing out of a nozzle may not be as appetizing as a holiday ham, but the end result can be as creative as you are: just check out this space shuttle looking thing the team baked up.

Via BBC News

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