After hearing about lab-grown beef and one fast-food place that features it, I gave it a fair chance and tried it. To sum up my review into one millennial word: meh.

This "hamburger" included all the fixins' like tomato, lettuce, pickle and onion. But the first clue that the meat patty was not genuine was the perfect roundness, not jagged along the edges nor bumpy like hand-shaped ground beef. The thickness was the same from edges to center, and it more resembled a large, cooked slice of deep grey salami.

In the first bite, I could tell this was not real hamburger meat. After the second I cleared my palate and nibbled just the patty. The texture was different and I couldn't put my finger on why, until I realized the material was not juicy, it lacked moisture. The lab meat had all the texture of really soft jerky.

The lettuce, tomato, mayo and bun helped distract me from the obvious non-meat as I finished the sandwich, but for quite a while it sat in my stomach as I wondered how it would digest.

Lab-grown ground beef would probably work better in those hamburger skillet meals or in casseroles where other ingredients are mixed in for an overall taste. It will take some time and an acquired taste to accept synthesized beef as a stand-alone food.

Perhaps this is my prejudice from a lifetime of grass-fed ranch beef, but I think nature and animals do a better job of creating meat. And they didn't need a fancy degree nor a laboratory.

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