Paper Monitor: Frankenburger and chips
- 6 August 2013
The stem cell burger - it could be one of the key developments in food production during the 21st Century, providing an answer to humanity's insatiable demand for meat.
But like the horsemeat controversy earlier this year, it's also a story which invites a lot of cheap jokes and sniggering from the back of the class. Which is where the papers come in.
"BRAVE MOO WORLD" is the Sun's headline. Admittedly, much of its coverage is delivered with a straighter face than one might expect: "The world of science took a historic step towards wiping out hunger,"
But it can't resist the obvious crack: "A test-tube Happy meal will set you back £250,000. At that price the free toy had better be good."
And the papers have a pressing question: what in Ronald McDonald's name are we supposed to call this thing?
Because, let's face it, "stem cell burger" is not going to cut it - among the alternative suggestions are "test tube burger", "Frankenburger", "cultured beef", "quarter million pounder", "animal protein cake" (er, no thanks), and "burgerzilla".
The other question - does it need ketchup - is given a definite yes.
Sarah Rainey in the Daily Telegraph recounts with relish (sorry) the pomp of the launch - "Getting a glimpse of the burger itself was like trying to secure a private audience with One Direction" she says - and contrasts it with the underwhelmed reaction from the tasters: "Very close to meat", "not unpleasant", and "middling".
Maybe Professor Mark Post, the father of the burger, should have prepared something fancier for the jaded palates of the press. Like cultured penguin meat, as one person at the lunch suggested.
"I don't like the smell of penguins, but I guess you can," was Prof Post's deadpan reply, as reported by the Guardian.
Which leads to yet another question - how does the good scientist have the time to go round smelling penguins?