Foodback

“I love Indian cooking,” said Sophie, “and you love 3D printing…”

“I wouldn’t say love,” said Sami, “maybe like.”

“Okay, I love Indian cooking and you like 3D printing.” She raised her eyebrows, as if saying, okay now? “Do you think that we can combine them in some way? I like my job at village hall, but a job is a job. You have to work the hours required, on the days required, for the salary offered. It seems never ending. It would be great to work for myself.” Sophie looked at him coyly. “To work for ourselves.”

They had hit it off at the opening night of Tao Te Ching at QARY, the old quarry that was now a multimedia venue. Sophie had invited him along. They had held hands, smooched, and then the rest. Now there was regular sex and shopping. Things had moved really quickly but he wasn’t complaining. Sophie was a great girl.

Sami cast his mind back. “I used food colours a few weeks back. It was a 2D job making edible images to paste onto cakes. I had to work hard to retain colour clarity, resist bleeding, and eliminate pathogens. Working with food is a sticky business. I’m not sure it’s the right thing to focus on.”

Sophie’s face dropped, but she rallied her enthusiasm. “My friend Siva makes raw food powders, he calls them flavour flours. He’s trying to patent the process before a big food company does, but he’s a poor hippy from Kalash dealing with Intellectual Property lawyers charging five hundred dollars an hour. I’m not sure he’ll get anywhere. They were really good though.”

“The lawyers?”

“No, the flours. Can we try printing with those? It’s the perfect way to use this technology. We’d be using homemade ingredients for local manufacture. That’s really cutting out the carbon – road miles, air miles, sea miles – do they call them miles at sea, or is it fathoms?”

“I think that’s a depth measurement.”

“Well, what do you think of my idea? Can you fathom it?”

She wasn’t sure if she’d made a good joke. It was silly. He may like it.

Sami said, “Sure, let’s give it a go. Come by after work hours.” He winked and she blushed. “Otherwise I will have to charge you printer time.”

Sophie came the next evening with a selection of flavour flours. They smelled pretty pungent. Sami put them into the 3D printers, loaded a North Indian recipe, and soon produced Mughlai Biryani cubes. They emerged from the build pan, steaming.

Sophie licked her lips and tried one, and said, “Really good, but they need a bit more salt, and some turmeric and cumin.”

Sami adjusted the parameters. He tweaked colour, texture and odour, and then focussed on nutrition. The Mughlai Biryani became better and better, a spicy superfood.

Sophie said, “Instead of feedback, we can call this process foodback.”

“If you’ve got five hundred dollars we can patent that.”

The experimentation continued. They used master chef recipes, then formulas for medical enhancement. Via social media they could share the printer blueprints, flour production process, and test recipes. Changing quantities for families of two, three, four or more members automatically adjusted the recipes and instructions.

Imagine everyone cooking whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, wherever they were. The technological revolution had gone full circle, back to the most basic human need.

That’s how the Foodback TM revolution began.

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