The saying “You are what you eat” may soon become much more literal.
The DIY stew set for growing human-made steaks was recently nominated for Design of the Year by the London-based Design Museum.
Named the Ouroboros steak after the circular symbol of a snake eating its own tail first, the hypothetical kit will come with everything it needs to use its own cages to grow miniature human meat steaks.
“People think eating themselves is cannibalism, which technically it’s not,” Grace Knight, one of the designers, told Dezeen magazine.
Before you start running for your wallet, know that this is not a product you can buy. It was created by scientist Andrew Pelling, artist Hurricane Telhan, and Knight, an industrial designer, commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an exhibition last year.
“Growing yourself ensures that you and your loved ones always know the origin of your food, how it was grown, and that its cells have been acquired ethically and consent,”
The project was made as a critique of the laboratory-grown meat industry, which the designers said Dezeen magazine was not actually as animal-friendly as might be expected. Laboratory-based meat relies on fetal beef serum for animal cell cultures, although some companies say they have found alternatives. FBS is made from the blood of a calf after slaughtering pregnant cows.
Laboratory-grown meat has not yet been approved for human consumption, although some products may appear on store shelves in the next few years.
“As the laboratory-grown meat industry grows rapidly, it is important to develop designs that expose some of the key constraints to see beyond the noise,” Pelling told Dezeen.
Growing an Ouroboros steak will take about three months using cells taken from your cheek, the magazine said. For the collection of trial steaks on display at the museum, the team used human cell cultures purchased from the American Tissue Culture Collection and raised them with donated blood that would have been destroyed. They have kept the final products in resin.
“Depleted human blood is a waste material in the medical system and is cheaper and more sustainable than FBS, but culturally less accepted,” Knight told Dezeen.