November 01, 2019

Meat, Choppers, and Catherine the Great

Meat, Choppers, and Catherine the Great
HELEN THE GREAT Still image from the new HBO series, Catherine the Great, starring Helen Mirren, who has Russian family roots.     HBO / Hal Shinnie

With all the talk of healthy and environmentally-conscious eating, Russia is now investing in the development of artificial meat. While the meat-loving country has a tradition of faith-inspired vegetarianism (as seen in the many inventive menus for Orthodox Lent), it has produced its first faux meat “cutlet” after putting R900,000 (approximately $14,000) into the project.

“Test tube meat is a rather promising direction in the meat industry,” and it is also of “ethical importance,” said Nikolai Shimanovsky, a molecular pharmacologist who is curating the creation of this new product at the Ochakovsky Meat Factory.

It’s not entirely clear what the new non-meat is made of, and it may be a while before it becomes attractive to consumers: for the time being, one kilogram of the substance will set you back some R5,800, or nearly $90.

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