4 Ways 3D Printing Could Take Thanksgiving to New Heights
Popular Science’s totally gobble-able roundup of ways 3D printing could transform the Thanksgiving feast inspired us to dig up a few more—partly because we’re trying to fill the black-hearted time-vacuum between now and dinner tomorrow.
1. SOON, MILITARY PERSONNEL ABROAD MAY PRINT THEIR GOURMET FEASTS (OR PIZZA).
U.S. Army researchers have been working for several years to use 3D-printing tech to efficiently create healthier, tastier, and customizable rations in the field. (The military’s Combat Feeding division is always working to spice up everything from combat spreads to the food tubes consumed by U-2 pilots.) By 2025 or 2030, servicepeople around the world (and even astronauts) may be able to print turkey dinners for themselves, plus fixings, that the folks back home would envy.
2. YOU CAN SERVE BEER AND COFFEE IN CUPS PRINTED FROM BEER AND COFFEE.
Whether you’re crazy about the idea of 3D-printed turkeys or not, the technology for it is still a ways away. But you can get to work printing your own food-based tableware for future Thanksgivings. As TheNextWeb reports, 3dom is one of many companies looking to repurpose waste products by turning them into filament for 3D printers. Their brilliant idea? Take the barley, hops, and coffee byproducts that are left over from making some of our favorite drinks and process them into an eco-friendlier building material.
3. PEOPLE WITH EATING DIFFICULTIES CAN GET IN ON THE FEASTING FUN, TOO.
Most of the roasted veggies and meats you’ll see in Thanksgiving spreads need to be broken down a bit—through chewing, mechanical processing, or both—before that wonderfully warm feeling of post-dinner semi-consciousness can spread outward from your tummy. Unfortunately for persons with dysphagia—difficulty chewing or swallowing due to injury, age, and any number of conditions—many foods just don’t hit the same spot after they’ve been puréed.
The EU-funded project PERFORMANCE has been tackling this problem with 3D-printed meals that are easy to chow down on, contain targeted nutrition for diners, and even regain some texture and shape of the original, as Phys.org reports. Aimed at elderly dysphagiacs, the food is enriched to order according to the “fully automated” system’s algorithm for monitoring and addressing patients’ nutritional needs each week.
4. IN-LAWS A TOUGH CROWD? IMPRESS THEM WITH SERIOUSLY COMPLICATED DESSERTS.
One way to break the ice could be to offer them astonishingly complex and custom-printed gourmet desserts, such as the ones from Los Angeles–based studio 3DS Culinary. The LA Times recalled a slew of intricate cuisines from the lab’s multi-chef opening event:
Chef Josiah Citrin of Melisse Restaurant served a French onion soup featuring a 3D printed onion powder cube in a bowl that dissolved as hot oxtail broth was poured over, as well as a 3D printed pumpkin and maple waffle cradling a quail egg. "Top Chef" season 12 winner Mei Lin served a wagyu steak tartare with a 3D printed wasabi egg, along with a passionfruit curd dessert garnished with a 3D printed sugar passionfruit flower. Cocktail chef Matthew Biancaniello served two handcrafted cocktails with 3D printed components: one a candy-cap mushroom printed garnish, another a 3D printed crystal of smoked salt.