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Smog-Infused Desserts Offer an Edible Taste of Global Pollution Issues

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy mixes meringues with the distinctive reek from the world’s least breathable cities.

Photo by the Center for Genomic Gastronomy.

Most cities take pride in their local culinary and cultural offerings, but one rarely hears anyone brag about the richness, variety, or flavor of their hometown smog. And yet, every urban locale has its own subtle stench and particular blend of bilious, airborne dreck. In order to raise awareness of global pollution issues, a recent project by the Center for Genomic Gastronomy, the Edible Geography blog, and the Finnish Cultural Institute distilled the distinctive taints of cities around the world, using them as the basis of a unique line of edible treats. Setting up a food cart at the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival this past Saturday, the project offered attendees a chance to try meringue cookies made with smog flavors like “London-Style Pea-Souper Smog,” “Atlanta-Style Biogenic Photochemical Smog,” and a cool, retro “Los Angeles in the 1950s Smog.”

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