Counterpoint by Scott Freeman Lab produced burger eclipses all horrors


Like so many shoppers in recent months Mrs F and I have become increasingly price conscious and have been sampling some of the supermarket own label ‘basic’ ranges and found them to be a perfectly acceptable substitutes for more expensive brands.

Such belt-tightening, however, has not always found favour with The Teenagers. Some sort of primeval sense means they can spot bargain-basement biscuits without even pausing the Playstation and cola is only cola if it is out of a bottle proclaiming the biggest brand of them all. We have had to admit defeat in such matters.

But even I have been hoodwinked in the name of an economy drive. And by the oldest trick in the book.

I was happily enjoying a meal with a side helping of mayonnaise, when an innocent-sounding inquiry from across the table was answered on my part with a polite ‘lovely, thank you”. Then came a triumphant ‘Ha!” in response.

The ‘Real’ white concoction of eggs and oil had been replaced by a bargain basement alternative. I had been duped.

It has to be said the own brand was a perfectly satisfactory stand-in. Unlike the last time I had been suckered by such duplicitous subterfuge.

A café mistakenly decided it could get away with refilling premium label bottles. HP sauce had been substituted by a foul, brown vinegary sludge. I’ve not been back.

So it was with mounting horror that I heard this week that scientists have come up with the ultimate Frankenstein Food.

By some sort of hideous molecular engineering a university boffin claims he is able to use stem cells to produce strips of muscle fibre, which will go to make the world’s first lab-produced hamburger.

And, it is suggested, this so-called advance could be used on commercial scale to supply shops and fast-food chains in the not-too-distant future.

Such a horror even eclipses what I had thought was the biggest culinary travesty of my lifetime - The Ket-chip. This was a potato chip-shaped composite of what tasted to me like a mixture of fluff and sawdust filled with tomato ketchup. Presumably invented for children too idle to reach out for a bottle of sauce.