Would You Eat A Woolly Mammoth Meatball?

The Reviews Are In: Starbucks’ Olive Oil Coffee Sucks (Who Would Have Thought?)

Now we know we’ve been a bit irregular with these breathless updates on all the food news you need to keep up with but cast your mind back to a few editions (of this newsletter) earlier, where we told you all about Starbucks’ newest coffee flavour: Olive Oil. The idea for the new line of beverages came directly from the Starbucks honcho Howard Schultz who was holidaying in Italy and guzzling olive oil by the tablespoon-ful, when — instead of normal mortals like us, who would have just been grateful to be in the same environs where Oliver and Elio once basked — decided the world didn’t have enough dreadfulness in it, and decided to go mess up some coffee. Anyway, it emerges that the olive oil coffee has finally made its way to American Starbucks outlets from Italian shores (Milan had to take the first hit for all of humanity), and — surprise, surprise — isn’t being hailed as the Next Big Thing. Intrepid food writers who ventured to sample the drinks expressed opinions that ranged from “it tasted like a large spoonful of olive oil in coffee” that coated one’s mouth with a “slick, oleaginous sediment” (The New Yorker), to [the hot latte] “tastes like the smell of toast… [with] an odd film that lingers on one’s tongue after the drink is gone” (Grub Street). Bon Appetit’s reviewer felt vaguely nauseous once she had done her duty, although in the interests of fairness, she did add that she wasn’t sure if it was the excess caffeine surging through her system or the several tablespoons of olive oil in the drinks that were making her unwell. 

Is Rs 6 Lakhs Too Much To Pay For A Year’s Worth Of Idlis?

On the occasion of the recent World Idli Day, Swiggy released a few statistics about the beloved breakfast item for the edification of the masses. Among the more innocuous details like “at what time of the day are the most orders for idli received?” (8 am to 10 am, if you want to know) and which variety of idli was most popular (plain; though Bangalore has a fondness for the rava variant apparently) was this highlight: One man — a Hyderabad resident — was responsible for ordering over 8,000 plates of idli in a 12-month period on the platform, spending a total of Rs 6 lakhs on just this one dish. Apparently, this behaviour wasn’t solely Hyderabad-specific; anytime he travelled to Bangalore or Chennai, more idlis would be ordered — one assumes for his kith and kin settled in those salubrious surroundings. 

For NYC’s Hottest Dinner Party, You Don’t Have To Worry About What To Wear (And That’s Because You’ll Be Eating In The Buff) 

A nude dining experience with a vegan-only menu is the latest stunt to capture New Yorkers’ imaginations. The Füde Dinner Experience, organised by artist Charlie Ann Max, is an invite-only event that seats diners — all of whom are naked, and strangers to one another — around a table set with vegan dishes. The point of the dinner, Max says, is to help the guests “connect with the purest versions of themselves”. Diners are carefully vetted once they apply to attend the event, and dietary restrictions (if any) need to be communicated beforehand. So far the guests have mostly been women, though Max is open to having male diners as well — provided a previous participant vouches personally for them.

Would You Eat A Meatball Made Of Woolly Mammoth? (That’s No Longer A Hypothetical Question)

Having learned some lessons (although the jury’s still out on whether or not these were the right ones) from the myriad Jurassic Park movies of their youth, an Australian company has revived the woolly mammoth — in meatball form. To perform this feat, the company — a cultured meat start-up — replicated the DNA sequence of a woolly mammoth, added a myoglobin that gives red meat its texture, taste and colour, and filled in the gaps with the DNA of the mammoth’s closest surviving relative — the African elephant. (Yes, the process was a lot more complicated than that, but let’s just get to the important part shall we?) News reports say the meatball smelt like cooked crocodile, and it has a somewhat — okay, very — unappetising, furry appearance. About 400 gm of “mammoth meat” was produced by the company, which has sent off its meatball to a museum. And while it is edible, they’ve advised that no one actually eat the meatball — it’s unclear if the human digestive system can even process the proteins considering no one in living memory has taken a bite from a woolly mammoth and shared the tale. 

Astronauts Could Soon Be Eating Plastic (Converted Into Food, That Is)

In the ongoing effort to make something, anything out of plastic that doesn’t add to global landfills, a team of researchers have now come up with the unique solution of having astronauts eat it. Well, not really. The plastic will be converted into 3D printed food first. Then, it’ll be given to the astronauts. The effort ties in with ongoing studies into how 3D food printing technology can be used by astronauts who are on deep space missions. Apart from plastic, food waste — like potato peel or beetroot stems/leaves — is another “raw material” that is being considered. This ‘waste’ will be used as “freezestock” on missions, and could potentially last anywhere between 10-20 years.