Rhys Darby
Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: 3D food about going back to the future


Hydrator signifies the weird and wonderful things to come.

 E.T.  and  Back to the Future  with Michael J. Fox retain their 80s magic. Photo / Supplied
E.T. and Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox retain their 80s magic. Photo / Supplied

I watched the Back to the Future trilogy with my 7-year-old last week.

Within minutes he was hooked. Every other minute of course I was nudging his arm with a "watch this bit" and a "wait for it ... cool eh?" and "see that's his dad!" Eventually he had to tell me to shut up. That's fine, I just wanted to make sure that he was following the complicated timeline of the story. He was.

Timing is a very important part of being a father. You should never show your kids things before they're ready. Especially with movies.

Toys like Lego are okay because the fact that your 3-year-old can't understand the instructions ultimately leads you to constructing it yourself ... the secret plan all along.

Movies, though, are a different ball game (and don't even get me started on ball games).

A lot of new dads don't realise that you can't take your 5-year-old along to see something like The Avengers. Modern superhero films are too violent and the dialogue is far too convoluted for a child. I find if I'm taking my 7-year-old to the flicks it's usually an animated one. Family movies are far and few between on the big screen these days.

Thankfully, at home we have the 1980s back catalogue including Indiana Jones, The Goonies, E.T. and is he ready to handle Gremlins? Hmm, I'm not sure ...

But I'll tell you this for free: I had a "wow" moment during Back to the Future 2 the other night. The future McFlys placed a biscuit-sized pizza into the Black & Decker Hydrator. The mother said "Hydrate level 4 please." and in a few seconds the pizza reappeared ... large and cooked!

My son, Finn, thought it was a microwave but I had to tell him no, it was much more than that. Besides, microwave ovens were invented accidentally in 1946 using radar technology left over from the war. They were commonplace in the 80s.

No this "Hydrator" device was a signifier of something important happening in the future. And by the future I mean now.

"What you talking 'bout Willis?" What am I talking about? I'm talking about the 3D printing of food!

Bizarre isn't it? But yes, it's happening. To be honest, I'm still trying to get my head around the idea of 3D printing and now they're springing food opportunities on us.

Systems & Materials Research Corporation are planning to build a 3D printing machine that works with basic nutrients instead of inedible materials to create meals for humans. Nasa has given them a grant of $125,000 to do it because they see it as the way forward for feeding astronauts on future Mars missions. One day every kitchen here on Earth will have a 3D printer, too. I just wonder if we'll have to wear the glasses while we're eating?

"The food's all blurry mum."

"Put your glasses on and get stuck in!"

- NZ Herald

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