Yummy mold!

Fuzzy mold growing in a petri dishYes, I mean “mold” as in “fuzzy fungus”, not as in “something you put JellO® in to harden into a funny shape”. I’m not even talking about “Blue Cheese”, though blue cheese is pretty good too. I’m actually referring to Fusarium venenatum.

Okay, the picture linked here is actually F. oxysporum, one of several Fusarium species that are crop diseases (mmmmm, rotted moldy potatoes…), but I haven’t found a picture of a F. venenatum culture yet. Anyway, before going to bed I just wanted to mention that I’ve run into the first genuinely good “meat substitute” that I’ve tasted so far, and it’s made of mold.

They evidently grow it in vats, dry it into mats, mix it with some egg white to hold it together, and then make meat-like food product out of it. “They” being Astra-Zeneca, who appear to be the owners of the “Quorn®” trademark.

The chicken-like food product (“Chik’n”) patties they make are actually passable imitations of chicken, and actually taste good. They make a breaded Gruyere-“Chik’n” patty thing that I will probably go out and buy more of, of my own free will – which will be a first for “vegetarian” food for me.

Makes me wonder what I’d get if I subjected another known edible mold like Penicillium roquefortii (Mmmmmm…Blue Cheese) to the same process. Would I get blue “meat”?…

And, no, I’m not actually a paid shill for Astra-Zeneca or Marlowe Foods (who distribute the “Quorn®” products), though as I mentioned a while back to the dairy industry in my “Margarine makes you stupid” post, if anyone wants to HIRE me as a paid shill independent advocate, I could sure (yes, still) use a good microscope. Come on, Astra-Zeneca! A fancy biotech company such as yourselves must surely have dozens of surplus microscopes laying around!…

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

6 thoughts on “Yummy mold!”

  1. I’m a big fan of marinating portobello mushrooms with balsamic vinegar and then grilling them. It is a good steak substitute IMO.

  2. What do you mean “ewwwwwwwwwww”? Grilled balsamic-vinegar mushrooms sound pretty dang good!

    Even so, I think I’m going to have to call shenanigans on the idea that this would substitute for steak though. Nowhere near enough protein. (On the other hand, the “Quorn®” mycoprotein supposedly has a protein efficiency ratio pretty close to beef…)

  3. I ask for a pony and I get a pink/rainbow cowboy-hat-wearing magic donkey-thing that doesn’t even know how to compile a kernel…

    It doesn’t taste like mushrooms, either. Really, it doesn’t taste that much like chicken, either, but at least the breaded “Chik’n” patties are enough of a successful imitation that if they served them as “chicken” at a dinner party or something I probably wouldn’t notice the difference unless I was really paying attention to the food.

    (Just had the Gruyere “Chik’n” patties for dinner again tonight. Of my own free will.)

    I still would like to get my hands on the base material someday before they add flavorings, just to see what the “raw” mycoprotein tastes like.

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