John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
These tasty dishes tell stories about gender inequality, unnatural deaths, and Fukushima.
Diners at a recent banquet in Gembloux, Belgium, got a taste of their own fates with a macabre dessert: 3D-printed chocolate coffins representing the country’s most common causes of death. Bite into a candy hiding a blood-colored, fruity filling, for instance, and you’re eating cardiovascular disease; sample ones with white, chalky-looking blobs or black powder to savor respiratory illness or pollution, respectively.
Yet these grim treats weren’t even the most surreal offering of the day. The feast, organized by the group Data Cuisine, also featured libido-lifting doughnuts that played on sex and the seasons, and gin and tonics glowing like nuclear fuel rods. It was just the latest Data Cuisine event to push the boundaries of gustatory geekiness, following up on previous meals of crostini charts, ISIS omelets, and urine-reddening beet hummus.
“Atomic Shots”: Fuming, glowing cocktails show the number of people residing within 30 kilometers of four Belgian nuclear plants. “30 kms was the radius defined as the evacuation zone around the nuclear power plant in Fukushima,” according to Data Cuisine. “Each gram of gel globules in the shots corresponds to 100,000 people living in these zones.”
“Death by Chocolate”: Choose wisely. The aim is to find a coffin filled with liquid chocolate, the symbol of perishing from natural causes.
“Nobel du Chocolat”: Here’s an exploration of how many Nobel Prize winners hail from Japan, Belgium, and Switzerland, and how much chocolate residents of these countries consume each year. “Does eating chocolate make you smart?” wonder the chefs. “Or do smarter people eat more chocolate?”
“Egguality”: This egg-based offering depicts (with the size of the “yolks”) how many women serve in academia in Japan, Turkey, and Belgium. Japan’s not doing so well with gender equality in schools.
“Four Seasons of Pleasure”: Bread pockets represent the weather’s supposed effects on the sex drive. “The carefully chosen local ingredients—four different types of asparagus combined with various aphrodisiac herbs—will put you in a positive mood for love,” write the organizers. “The ‘winter’ balls make you feel warm; the ‘spring’ balls will help you to open up; the ‘summer’ balls will refresh you; and the ‘autumn’ balls improve your strength.”
Fun with 3D printing and chocolate.
The data gourmands at chow-down time.