back to article Boffins solve bacon crisis with newly-patented plant

Months before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared bacon a carcinogen, American boffins may have found a solution: algae that tastes just like bacon, but without the bad bits the Doctors at WHO say could cause your untimely demise. The eukaryote in question is called Dulse (Palmaria sp.) and, as explained Oregon State …

  1. Tony S

    I would be happy to volunteer as a taster!

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Dulse?

    Nothing terribly new about it, it's seaweed and has been sold (together with Yellow Man, a type of very dense honeycomb) at the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, for centuries. See Lammas Fair. I've never heard it being described as tasting like bacon, though. Frankly it tastes like seaweed :)

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Dulse?

      "a new strain of the plant" and from the linked article "OSU-patented variety."

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Can you smoke it?

    Like proper bacon is?

    I didn't inhale honest!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      POЯCINE ЯEVEЯSAL

      Proper bacon smokes you.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What a convenient coincidence

    Astounding that somebody just happened to fry seaweed and declare that it tastes like bacon. I'm sure that, with a bit of artificial flavoring, it just might.

    I'm also pretty sure that it will never be as crunchy out of the pan. But hey, after months and months in space, it'll probably do.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: What a convenient coincidence

      "I'm sure that, with a bit of artificial flavoring"

      Nope. Not needed. Seaweed has the elusive "umami".

      "'I'm also pretty sure that it will never be as crunchy out of the pan."

      Yep. It is. For values of "pan" that include "deep fat fryer". Knowing how to prep it helps.

      Think outside the box. There is free food out there, if you look for it.

      1. John 62

        Re: What a convenient coincidence

        > Seaweed has the elusive "umami".

        Indeed, wasn't MSG first made from seaweed?

  5. MrDamage
    Pint

    Is it just me...

    Or does everyone now have a craving for a bacon and "dulse salad" butty?

    Maybe something the El Reg post-pub fryup staff should look into having a crack at.

  6. Adam 1 Silver badge

    Sounds like a perfect side dish for my bacon and eggs.

    1. dc_m

      I like your thinking, like quorn, not bad if you add meat!

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Veggie trick to start world domination. It's probably like that devil's food quorn. Tried their sausages. Didn't feel at all bad - throwing the cooked and rest of the uncooked ones in the bin.

    1. The entire Radio 1 playlist commitee

      Quorn is not food, devils or otherwise. It is fungus-derived glop. Don't let them try to fool you into thinking otherwise.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        > It is fungus-derived glop

        Upvote for using glop (although different from my usage of it - leftover roast chicken+pearl barley+potato+mushroom stew. T'wife insists on calling it "roast chicken peral barley risotto").

        Finest food in the universe, guarenteed to cure all ills.

  8. Tromos

    You can't tell it's not...

    Bet I can.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: You can't tell it's not...

      Looks (a bit) like bacon, "tastes like bacon" (honest), strangely no mention of the texture - which presumably resembles a laminated cardboard/styrofoam composite

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: You can't tell it's not...

        It does look a bit like bacon when I squint at it... which might make it work in a post-pub setting, but would certainly add to the list of regrets upon sobering up.

      2. TitterYeNot

        Re: You can't tell it's not...

        "strangely no mention of the texture - which presumably resembles a laminated cardboard/styrofoam composite"

        Ah, so just like abominable water saturated supermarket bacon when you try to get it nice and crispy then...

      3. Vic
        Facepalm

        Re: You can't tell it's not...

        Looks (a bit) like bacon, "tastes like bacon" (honest), strangely no mention of the texture - which presumably resembles a laminated cardboard/styrofoam composite

        It's what they use to make Frazzles out of, isn't it?

        Vic.

  9. frank ly

    Bacon flavoured crisps

    Does anybody know what the flavouring is? Is it related; etc.?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But is it kosher?

    letters

    Is that good enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But is it kosher?

      Certainly not by my definition.

  11. Maldax
    Pirate

    It's people!!

    Does no body learn from history!!!

    Soylent green is made out of people!!!!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: It's people!!

      Soylent pink

      With apology to the original commentary who thought that one up!

      1. Lord Raa

        Re: It's people!!

        "I used to enjoy soylent beige myself. Until I discovered, to my horror, that it was made from soya beans."

        -Professor Nebulous

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's people!!

      Also known a "Long Pig" .

      Reliable sources say the taste is very similar; both are large omnivores.

  12. jake Silver badge

    I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.

    Tastes like bacon. We use it as a condiment.

    I also sun-dry seaweed, which we use for various reasons.

    It's an umami thing.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.

      I am surprised they managed to patent it. This has been around for ages.

      Oh, they did it in the USA. I am no longer surprised.

    2. Martin Budden Bronze badge

      Re: I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.

      Something else to add to the list of jake's many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many accomplishments.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Martin Budden (was: Re: I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.)

        It's not an "accomplishment". It's a learned survival skill.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Martin Budden (was: I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.)

          "It's a learned survival skill."

          Hardly a survival skill

          1. jake Silver badge

            @AC: (was:Re: @Martin Budden (was: I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.)

            "Hardly a survival skill"

            Finding food locally, in a pinch, isn't a survival skill? You are deluded.

    3. PNGuinn
      Boffin

      Re: I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.

      "which we use for various reasons"

      Yes? Yes?

      Inquiring Commentards Need to Know what and why.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @PNGuinn (was:Re: I've been drying seaweed in my smokehouse for decades.)

        "Yes? Yes?"

        Yes!

        "Inquiring Commentards Need to Know what and why."

        Where would I start ... Soups, salads, eggs, sausages, salsas, pasta, breads ... pretty much anywhere you would use fungi, really. Obviously, you need to know your local seaweed.

        As for "why" ... because it's really fucking tasty, that's why!

  13. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I dont remember Oregon bacon being that shit.

    Well fried dulse isn't actually shit but if it tastes like bacon then you should seek help.

    Or sue your butcher.

  14. Warm Braw Silver badge

    About that frying...

    Any chance if produces acrylamide? Seaweeds typically contain non-starch polysaccharides - anyone know sufficient chemistry to advise whether this may be a false dawn for the safe sarnie?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: About that frying...

      Might depend on the type of fat used for frying? No idea, really. Wouldn't be surprised though if in, say, 15 years someone finds that this particular type of seaweed can cause cancer in laboratory animals, too. Cue Joe Jackson.

      1. Felonmarmer

        Re: About that frying...

        Fried in bacon fat maybe?

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. The entire Radio 1 playlist commitee
      Thumb Up

      You get all the iodine you ever need from iodised table salt - they iodize it for a reason. Sea salt is richer.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. jake Silver badge

        @The entire Radio 1 playlist commitee

        "iodised table salt"

        Narsty, narsty, narsty stuff. Tastes metallic & ruins everything it's inflicted on.

        Side note: Do you REALLY want to take the blame for the Radio 1 playlist?

        God Save The Queen! (Never Mind the Bollocks).

  16. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Ah... another fake bacon*.... just what the world needs. You guys go ahead and I'll just sit back have the real thing. including your share since you'll be eating the fake stuff.

    *There's been fake bacon for years in the form of those jars salad crumbles. The label mentions "bacon bits" (or words to that effect) but there's no bacon in them.

    1. Trumpet Winsock IIIrd

      Yes, a strange world we live in where until fairly recently Walkers Cheese and Onion flavour crisps weren't " Suitable for Vegetarians ", yet their Smoky Bacon and Roast Chicken flavour were.

      ( The Cheese was made using animal rennet )

    2. g e

      Facon

      There, sorted.

  17. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Bacon with care ...

    Take seaweed, as it's the US, fry in pork dripping and liquid smoke and, after only four hours of char grilling in the BBQ with the 16 hog carcasses it tastes like bacon ... not at all like wet lettucy, irony, snail poo.

    Perhaps it's the Pringles crisp thing - tell them what it is supposed to taste like then people will agree just to not look silly?

  18. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Facon

    That's all

  19. SuperNintendoChalmers
    Happy

    A bacon replacement is already out there

    Tempeh Rashers are the best replacement out there. You can fry it to nice and crispy, has a similar texture, and generally just tastes amazing. You can either make your own using a marinade for flavour or buy ready made from brands like VBites.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good substitute for Real Bacon(tm)...

    ..until other earnest boffins discover that when consumed in excess (above a sarnie per month) causes nausea, hiccups, hallucinations, liver failure, eyeball worms, kidney implosions, irreversible impotence, brain rot, and a sudden, irresistible desire to watch Jersey Shore which may be related with the brain rot, so forget we mentioned it.

    This and/or it costs four times the price of the porcine variant.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who doesn't eat meat anymore, but isn't an evangelist about it, all I can say is don't bother. All these so called substitutes for meat, like Quorn and other faux whatever products are crap. "It tastes just like....." No it doesn't.

    If you like bacon then eat bacon.

    if you don't want to eat it for whatever reason then just do without and don't pretend.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fellow vegetarian here

      and yes, I eat Qourn and many other substitutes. For me it has absolutely nothing to do with the flavor, or supposed thereof, it has to do with protein intake; those "meat substitutes" are pretty much the only mainstream (readily available and purchased) high protein foodstuffs available to us.

      Words cannot describe how tired I am of going into a restaurant that claims to have vegetarian food options available, only to find a list of side dishes and salads - where the hell is the protein?! I note that you add meat proteins to EVERYTHING yet there is none, not one, on the vegetarian list. Vegetarians are apparantly supposed to be able to subsist on carbs and fiber alone!

      I work out and am constantly aware of my protein needs, I guess they figure most vegetarians don't bodybuild. So, therefore, all those "meat substitutes" are in my diet because that's the way the food industry, from producers to the sellers, wants to market any type of vegetarian protein to me, as fake "meat". I can't stand the ones that are very close to "real" flavor (don't know how else to say that) but the ones that aren't too close, or not meat flavored at all (like Morningstar Farms Veggie patties) are my favorites. Beans, nuts and legumes are protein sources, as well as eggs and dairy, but there is only so much of that you can eat every day (beans and legumes are bulky, nuts are fatty, eggs can change your cholesterol and I try to stay away from dairy).

      1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        Re: Fellow vegetarian here

        "I can't stand the ones that are very close to 'real' flavor (don't know how else to say that) but the ones that aren't too close, or not meat flavored at all (like Morningstar Farms Veggie patties) are my favorites."

        So, does one get these from the same Nutrimatic dispenser which produces a beverage which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fellow vegetarian here - Nutrimatic

          Not sure really, but most people discount vegetarian food before even TRYING it. Good vegetarian food will rock your world, it is SO much better than most meat-based dishes because it is far more complex - unlike meats, they is no 'primary' flavor so the taste profile is built up from many sources into complex flavor profiles. Almost every meat eater I've dined with, who tastes my food, called it astounding; one guy, an 'avowed meat eater', was so floored by the vegetarian restaurant I took him to that he tweeted it far and wide to his friends, saying it was one of the best meals that he had ever had.

          1. Vic

            Re: Fellow vegetarian here - Nutrimatic

            Good vegetarian food will rock your world

            Completely agree with you there.

            it is SO much better than most meat-based dishes

            But disagree with you there.

            I've yet to have a veggie dish come close to a really good meat dish. Thaat, of course, is partly because I really like meat :-)

            It is commonplace in the UK, of course, for meat to be mahoosively overcooked. It's not too tricky to make something taste better than that...

            Vic.

          2. Sherrie Ludwig

            Re: Fellow vegetarian here - Nutrimatic

            Yeah, veg food can be great, but when you NEED a rare steak, nothing else in the world tastes, s, satisfies like nice, thick T-bone.

        2. PNGuinn
          Pint

          Re: Fellow vegetarian here

          Apparently not. It appears some Yank thinks they taste almost, but not quite, entirely unlike bacon.

          @Lester--

          New project for the Special Projets Bureau:

          A vending machine that ..... a beverage which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike BACON.

  22. Indolent Wretch

    First problem.... it'll taste like American bacon...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      American Bacon?

      Now there's an oxymoron

      That grilled to death apology that is served in 99% of US food outlets is not proper bacon.

      Sigh,

      Just like US Cheese and ... and ....

      Even their steak is full of Hormones and Anti-biotics.

      Let them eat this stuff. You never know it might actually improve their diet.

      McDonalds should not be labelled a Restaurant.

  23. Grikath

    And there's the problem...

    If it tastes like bacon, instead of íts normal flavour, then that must be attributed to the stuff developing the same chemicals that make bacon taste so good...

    Of which most are the exact (type of) substances that gave cause to the WHO designation.....

    Bit pointless then, isn't it?

  24. Chris G Silver badge

    WWF

    Keep the bacon substitutes coming, then soon I'll be able to start a pig farm with an endangered species grant from the WWF. All the real bacon will be mine!

    Too much pork in a short period of time can be a hazard for good health, a flying pig crash landing on you for instance.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: WWF

      Too late. I have my small herd of breeding Gloucester Old Spots nicely hidden away in Devon.

  25. Rob Crawford

    Balls Mr Langdon, simply balls

    “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavour,” Langdon says.

    I take it when he says as I have done, it involved a large quantity of bacon and some imaginary dulse.

    Unless of course their idea tasting like bacon involves simply being salty.

    I have eaten dulse on several occasions (it's very commonly available here) and it's awful

  26. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

    "without the bad bits the Doctors at WHO say could cause your untimely demise."

    Doctor WHO says bacon could cause my untimely demise?!? Oh, wait...

  27. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I looked at the picture supplied with the article.

    I had no problem believing it was not bacon.

  28. Bbbbit
    Facepalm

    Old news

    This has been around since the mid 1800s. Turns out General Custer found something similar at Little Big Horn. Oh no wait...it turned out to be an ambush.

  29. John Savard Silver badge

    Ah, but it's unlikely to be nutritionally equivalent!

    For vitamin B12, there are two choices: meat, or supplements created with bacterial cultures. Even though there are plant-based foods with complete protein - not just spirulina and quinoa, but even soya and buckwheat - if the difficulty of getting the larger numbers of essential amino acids that humans need, as compared to herbivorous animals, doesn't convince people that evolution expected us to include meat in our diet, vitamin B12 is the clincher.

    Mind you, we have bacteria in our guts that make vitamin B12, just too far down to be of any use.

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Angel

      "...we have bacteria in our guts that make vitamin B12, just too far down to be of any use."

      I seem to recall that the film "The human centipede" shows a solution for that particular issue.

    2. NomNomNom

      Evolution expects us to travel by foot everywhere and only to communicate with people who are in earshot. We have all gone beyond evolution. I don't eat and product from animals

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