“Wave to the Printer”
At this very moment in the history of cooking there lurks a strange object that could change the world. 3D printing awaits the unsuspecting in their kitchen. Some have heard of it, most ignore it, whilst purists fear it’s the Devil’s Spawn and will ruin the world of cooking. They once pushed the same negative propaganda with the microwave, a machine we see in most kitchens.
Where we are now with 3D printers is the first stage, that of denial. No serious person wants one and many say how unhealthy and lacking in creativity and flavor the food is. Soon, we will go into the second or experimental stage. This will be generated by self-proclaimed aficionados on trendy TV cooking shows. They’ll flaunt their oh-so-clever modernist approach with their amazing technological prowess. Finally, we will arrive at the last stage; acceptance. It will become so normal to see a 3D printer in the kitchen that it will no longer merit a glance, much like the microwave now. All these stages will, in varying degrees, be powered by snobbery, peer pressure and the promise of cheap, quick and fancy cooking.
So what can we expect from 3D printers? Originally used in engineering as a cheap way of creating less expensive one-off prototypes, the machine has been reduced to about the size of a microwave and expanded in potential. Imagine IBM computers 20-odd years ago; massive and impossible to use if you were weren’t an expert. Then along came Apple and the whole world changed. 3D printing has the same potential.
Instead of specialist engineering projects it can print one-off toys, guitars, shoes, even body parts! Some are now using scans of their future baby’s embryo to create a 3D plastic version of it. Then we come to food.
Soon, when you buy a 3D food printer you’ll have some initially free software and also buy, or create, some basic ingredients. You pour those in, switch on the machine and layer by layer it makes many strange and wonderful creations. Next pop it in the oven, or later its own oven will take over, and still only a few minutes has gone by.
Your creations, all in 3D, will have designs such as animals, cars, dolls or jewelry or conventional cupcakes, pizzas and, for lovers of sweet things, incredibly complex looking chocolates from a range you can download or create yourself. It is limited only by the imagination.
Like the original Apple computer, which now seems like a clunky toy, the ideas and available programs will speed up exponentially. Even NASA has given a company a grant to develop a 3D food printer. So it’s not futuristic and if you would like to see more weird and wonderful 3D printers’ objects check out Youtube and Google who offer further up-to-date innovation and advances which may surprise you.
Right, here we are at stage one.
Will you buy one?