Celebrity Foot, Pube And Nose Bacteria Used To Make Cheese
Would you eat a block of cheddar that has grown from the bodily essences of your favourite celeb?
If the thought of munching on human-bacteria cheese -- celebrity or otherwise -- gives you a severe case of the dry heaves, then the results of a new experiment from a UK bio-lab might not be your cup of (cheese) tea.
Open Cell in London has collaborated on a pungent project with celebrities including chef Heston Blumenthal, Blur bassist Alex James, rapper Professor Green and ska band Madness' very own Suggs.
Each celeb volunteered their bodies -- which were swabbed in some particularly bacteria-rich crevasses like inside armpits, up noses, between toe creases and, um, in the groin region -- to create a range of your favourite cheeses including mozzarella, Stilton and cheddar!
According to the Guardian, the sample taken from molecular gastronomer Blumenthal was a collection of pubic hair which was used to cultivate some classic comté -- a mature raw milk cheese from eastern France that has definitely not been made from pubes before.
The project was masterminded by biodesigner Helene Steiner to "educate the public and challenge cultural squeamishness about bacteria".
"Steiner and her team took bacteria samples from the surface of our donors’ skin, using synthetic biology to grow starter cultures which were then combined with fresh, pasteurized milk to create four unique cheeses," an Open Cell blog post about the project reads.
The official cheese menu?
A Cheshire cheese made from Alex James' foot bacteria.
The infamous pube comté from Heston Blumenthal.
Bellybutton Mozzarella created with Professor Green.
Nose Stilton courtesy of food writer Ruby Tandoh.
The project is a sort of protest against the modern world's obsession with "cleanliness and hyper-sanitation" with Open Cell pointing out that "our gut health and experience of the world around us -- taste, smell -- are dependent on the microbial world".
We'd personally like to like to appreciate the wonders of the microbial world from afar, and preferably with a block of Camembert that wasn't produced with any tinea-laced foot scrapings, merci beaucoup!
The human-body cheeses are currently on display at London's Victoria & Albert Museum until October 20, and visitors can actually sample the range of cheese, although we're not sure if there will be a tasting platter with biscuits, olives and plenty of wine to wash that bellybutton lint taste away.
Main Image: Open Cell.