the microbial kitchen

I’ve got the summer bug. I’m losing it every time I think about school. I’m staring at my tiny seed starts, literally watching them grow. I keep staring at the stack of books next to my bed, the ones I plan to read this summer–a list I’ll share later in the week. I’m researching summer recipes, which I’ll also share later in the week.

School is really getting in the way of my life.

Because I don’t have much time for blogging, hence the missed Saturday baking post, I’m going to be doing quicker, shorter posts for a while, pooling content from places around the web that has me really excited.

Today? It’s the coolest kitchen I have ever seen, based on this idea from Philips*:

In the home of the future we will have to rethink our own waste and convert it into a usable asset. This is an environmentally progressive product concept that allows humans to use almost all organic waste from the home to power a range of functions in it. It challenges taboos and raises our consciousness of energy con¬suming appliances.

Philips Design is working on a microbial kitchen that could get you, with the exception of those food miles, to be almost energy neutral. And isn’t the look of it stunning? From upcycling plastic with a mushroom colony to a (not very private) squatting toilet. These concepts are blowing my mind. Plus, you’ve got bamboo, cast iron, copper. I mean, it’s just. It’s so.


And it all starts with food prep & the bio-digester. Your compostable bits go through a grinder & are stored, so that they’ll compost quickly. The methane created fuels your stove & your larder, a temperature-controlled environment that limits the need for refrigeration & doubles as a dining room table. (I wondered how you’d ever create enough methane; I guess the squatting toilet explains it… I’m admittedly not very excited about that component.) I also love this idea about the larder:

The larder concept is a system designed to keep ‘living food’ fresh, by using natural processes (as opposed to dead food in the refrigerator).

Like a true ecosystem, the microbial kitchen is cyclical. Each component is working in harmony & fueling other components of the kitchen, so that you’re in tune with the entire process of food growth, consumption & decay. Here’s a diagram:

(Click to see it larger.)

If that isn’t enough kitchen fun (or if it’s too much for you & you want to start much simpler, say, without the toilet), there’s this: Designer Jihyun Ryou has used what we know about how food grows & thrives to develop this food storage system, pieces of which you could implement yourself.

He relies on how foods live in nature to store them properly in the kitchen, using sandy soil, air or chemical properties. Oh, you want an example? No problem*!

Apples emit a lot of ethylene gas. It has the effect of speeding up the ripening process of fruits and vegetables kept together with apples. When combined with potatoes, apples prevent them from sprouting.

While I don’t want to steal from Ryou’s genius or disrespect his design at all, I feel like these are a project Joe & I (with help & my dad’s know-how) could put a few of these together ourselves. Summer project, perhaps? Maybe after I read Ryou’s book?

I was directed to both of these awesome ideas by designboom, a great applied design/architecture site that you should definitely peruse. Frequently.

I have to close this post with a quick note: A few posts ago, my whiny bum was complaining about not having a food processor. I am incredibly (incredibly) spoiled by my family. Not only did my family come to visit, but they came with Easter gifts (lovely, spring-colored sheets & fun Easter cookie cutters). Then, my dad told me I had another surprise. My grandma, whose faithful following of this blog I really appreciate, got us a food processor. So, Grandma, I thank you a million times. This opens up a whole new world of recipes to share!


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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One Response to the microbial kitchen

  1. Pingback: lent: the vegetarian returns | francofile

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