Published November 26, 2013
Who doesn’t love cheese --stinky, gooey, delicious cheese?
But this latest creation may be hard to stomach-even for the bravest of eaters.
According to the NPR's food blog The Salt, UCLA scientist Christina Agapakis and artist Sissel Tolaas have created a cheese made from their own microbes. You read that right. Human bacteria.
Cheese is normally made by taking milk and curdling it using Lactobacillus bacteria (taken from plants or animals) and yeast, which helps age it and gives it flavor.
But you can get that bacteria from anywhere...and we mean anywhere.
Agapakis swabbed her mouth and skin, another scientist’s feet, and the belly button of food writer Michael Pollan --author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. Ewwwww.
The idea wasn't to gross people out but to get people thinking about people's emotional response to odors.
Agapakis tells The Salt that bacteria and yeast on humans aren't too different from those that grow in cheese, which is why stinky cheese, for example, may smell like stinky feet. “Why are we more uncomfortable with bacteria on the body than we are with bacteria in cheese?” Agapakis said.
The good news is that this cheese is made for sniffing, not eating. Curious cheese lovers can check out the samples currently on display at the Science Gallery of Trinity College in Dublin and take a whiff.
“People were really nervous and uncomfortable and kind of making these grossed out faces,” Agapakis explained. “Then they smell the cheese, and they’ll realize that it just smells like a normal cheese.”
We’re all for trying new things, but this may be one culinary experiment that’s better left in the lab.