Mmm, Yum—Hot Off the Printer

If kids today act the way we did on the farm, they run into the house at noon and call out, “Hey, what’s cookin’?” But if kitchen technology keeps advancing, that scene could change to, “Hey, what’s printin’?”
The Foodini is a 3-D printer that makes items such as pasta, breads, and cookies. It assembles layers of ingredients so eaters can code in something like ravioli or pizza. Optimists think it will become a common kitchen appliance.
I suppose the reaction from some folks down on the farm might be a bit more skeptical. “What! It costs $1,500? Our cast iron skillet only set us back $38, and when you toss in a pound of bacon you won’t get aroma and sizzle from a printer.”
But doubters complained years ago when the first microwave ovens, crockpots, and blenders hit the market. Printer prices will fall, and last year the Oscar Mayer Company unveiled a bacon-scented alarm app. A virtual reality headset complete with old-fashioned kitchen smells and sounds can’t be far behind.
An online report speculates that slogans such as “Farm to Fork” might become something like “Tablet to Table.” We had an earlier version when we kids were growing up on the farm: “Mom to Munchkins.” Like a small colony of leafcutter ants, my siblings and I would forage through the kitchen five times a day during summer vacation. Three square meals and two energy-filled snacks—by that I mean sugar.
Mom was a master baker so the kitchen usually had a warm oven aura, tinged with a frosting scent. Cakes, pies, cookies. It’s a good thing we didn’t stop moving or we would have looked like tow-headed bowling pins by the age of ten.
Hard to imagine a 3-D printer could match the yum factor, but apparently Hershey has one that can print chocolate kisses—although it takes nearly one hour to produce a piece of chocolate. I’ve yet to meet a seven-year-old with that kind of patience, but I’m sure future printers will pick up the pace.
In her late 80s, Mom still bakes–with some farmhand help from Dad. She has a platoon of great-grandkids addicted to her wheat bread and chocolate chip cookies. But I have a feeling there were times when she would have turned off the oven and put down the mixing bowls. “Where was this 3-D contraption when a harvesting crew came in at noon? And how long would that thing take to print a dozen brownies for you kids and your cousins when you came in for an afternoon snack?”
These 3-D printers will certainly serve a purpose someday, but I doubt they’ll ever build a machine that takes such pride in having her great-grandkids beg for “just one more cookie, please.”
by dan gogerty (printer pic from

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