Aria threw a few slabs of meat onto the grill. She poured some oil and added the spices. The smell of perfect home cooking filled her nose. She added a few drops of vinegar and then flipped the meat over.
“The key to good cooking,” her mother had said, “Is to put just the right amount in at just the right times. The chemistry is what makes it delectable.”
She missed hearing her mother’s voice- gone after so many years. And now she was doing what she had always learned to do, the chemistry of the ages. She added a few more spices, and checked the bottom for browning. When it was ready she placed it on top of rice, added her secret teriyaki sauce and a small salad. She spun from the cooking station and handed it to the customer.
“I don’t know,” the old man said, “It looks okay, lord knows it smells wonderful, but can I really eat it?”
“Just try it.” She smiled.
She was used to this by now. Not too many people liked to try new things, especially when they had been told for years that the things they were trying were gross or worse- deadly.
“But you said it has GMO’s in it. Those are bad for you.”
“Do you like orange carrots?”
“Then you’ll be fine, if you eat orange carrots then you’ve been eating GMO’s for your whole life.”
“But all carrots are orange.”
“No- no originally they were purple. Look it up. On top of that, bananas used to have massive seeds, watermelons used to be a lot like pumpkins- eggplants used to look like off color apple/tomato half breeds, and of course oranges almost went extinct if it weren’t for genetic modifications. All of the fruits and vegetables we like to eat today are human inventions, just like that meal right there.” She smiled again at the old man, “Just taste it, you can spit it out and get a full refund if you don’t like it or if it makes you sick.”
The man took a hesitant bite, and then another. Soon he was finishing up the rice and patting a full and happy belly.
“God that was good. It tasted just like chicken.”
Aria laughed, “That’s because it is chicken!”
“Fresh chicken, I can tell.”
“Fresh off the petri dish, yeah.”
Aria held up a small container with a slab of raw meat.
“This chicken breast is growing, right here in this dish, off of the nutrients I feed it. The chicken it is cloned from is named Paula, she’s living at a farm in Rome New York. She is happy and healthy and as you can guess, not dead. Her breast has a juicy taste to it that goes perfect for sandwiches.”
She pulled up another dish with a steak on it.
“This 8 inch steak comes from George here, a happy beef cattle out in Hammond New York. The Cow itself would cost me about $1000 to raise, cook, kill and butcher, but only $70 to clone steaks out of. Probably the tastiest beef I’ve sampled out of that farm.”
“So you’re like a mad scientist?”
“No, I just run a GMO restaurant. I want to show the world how affordable and delicious this food can be, out of these cell samples I can give you any part of an animal and never kill one. I can feed a city at less than a tenth of the cost and best of all, I can cook you food that tastes better and gives you more nutrients than any non GMO farmer ever could.”
“Well you’ve one my vote, at two dollars a meal I’m all for it.” Said the old man.
“Happy to serve, you tell your friends now!”
“Will do,” and with that he left.
In truth, her mother was wrong. It was never the chemistry or the ingredients. The science was always there when you cooked, sure, but the real magic was the look on the faces of the people who ate it- the wonderful power that comes from feeding others. What went into a good meal was the potential for communication and growth that a meal could bring, and the love that went into every served meal every time.
She aimed to change the world, to save us from ourselves. One customer at a time.
Want to learn more about how science can improve how we eat? Check out these books and grow, my friends!