In case you needed more proof that present-day Twitter is just circa-2013 Tumblr, the latest Twitter discourse is “well, it’s not… technically cannibalism.”  And I don’t mean a cheeky “haha, techbro food replacement Soylent was named after Soylent Green.” I mean there are companies out there trying to recreate human flesh for consumption, all while adamantly claiming (for legal reasons, presumably) that they don’t actually know what human flesh tastes like. Listen: I’m not going to act like I have anything deep to say about morbid curiosity or the taboo, I’m pretty much here to say “lol what a bunch of freaks.” At the end of the day, all I know is that my google search history has placed me on several watchlists.

First up, we have Hufu. For those of you that are portmenteu-challenged, that’s human tofu, because that’s pretty much what it was: a tofu product formulated to have the taste and texture of human flesh.   Also-to continue the theme of “Twitter is now just 2013 Tumblr-” much like how Tumblr users would scream “WHY IS NOBODY TALKING ABOUT THIS” on a news story that’s 5 years old, Hufu proper actually came out in 2005, and shut down their website in 2006.  And while there seemed to be plenty of media coverage- including a segment on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show- at the time, there doesn’t seem to be any accounts of anyone doing a taste test of it, causing many to speculate that it was never real to begin with.  Also, a lot of their branding seems to lean heavily on stereotyping Pacific Islanders as cannibals, so like… I can excuse the cannibalism but I draw the line at racism.

Along those same lines, we also have the much more contemporary Swedish company, Oumph. While the company normally specializes in Impossible-style meat substitutes, they decided to create a human burger patty, served out of a food truck this past Halloween, boasting it would look like beef but taste more like pork or veal.  They did, however, specifically mention that it was only for Halloween, “because otherwise it would be creepy.”  Good to know that’s where they draw the line.

Lastly, we have a very-not-plant-based alternative, the Ouroboros Steak.  If you thought a Swedish plant-based burger was too creepy, then buckle up, buttercup, this shit’s about to get weird.   This grow-it-yourself steak kit requires you to harvest a cell sample from inside your cheek, then incubate it in a petri dish over the course of 3 months, all while feeding it a serum derived from human blood!

Ok, so about that last part.  The serum is derived from expired blood donations (which is not something that I considered as having an expiration date, nor was I aware that anywhere in the world had such a surplus of donated blood that it ever got that chance to expire, but I digress), and behaves much like Fetal Bovine Serum.  FBS, being derived from the fetuses within recently-slaughtered pregnant cows, naturally tends to upset even the most casual of animal rights activists,  and even those not opposed to its use would still probably prefer to see the rare substance go towards stem cell research- or literally anything that could potentially help humanity in the long run- than have it be used to grow a fucked up steak just because it can.  So, it’s cheaper and more ethical than using FBS, recycling medical waste as opposed to baby murder… it’s just that it’s human blood.

While I’ve seen several sources mention this becoming a DIY kit, they also usually backpetal and say that such a thing is purely conceptual at this point, and that this whole thing was really a quasi-art piece to get people to think about the sacrifices we will have to make as a society if we want to continue to consume meat at the rate that we do.

That’s all any of these ended up being, really.  Publicity stunts of one sort or another, all leaning on the shock value of pseudo-cannibalism, just to pull the rug out from under us once they had our attention.  Will products like these ever truly hit the market in full force? Or has science gone too far?  Probably the latter lmao.

Anyways, I’m off to a dinner party at my friend Hannibal’s house.  I hope he likes the Piedmonte Barbera I picked out, he asked for Chianti but the store was all out.

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