MIT scientists have developed ‘pop-up’ foods — flat sheets of edible pastas that sprout into 3D structures when submerged in water, an advance that would make the dining experience interactive and fun.
The ‘edible origami’ consists of flat sheets of gelatin and starch that, when submerged in water, instantly sprout into 3D structures, including common pasta shapes such as macaroni and rotini.
The edible films can also be engineered to fold into the shape of a flower as well as other unconventional configurations. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US created flat discs that wrap around beads of caviar, as well as spaghetti that spontaneously divides into smaller noodles when dunked in hot broth.
The shape-morphing creations are not only culinary performance art, but also a practical way to reduce food-shipping costs, researchers said. For instance, the edible films could be stacked together and shipped to consumers, then morph into their final shape later, when immersed in water. Wen Wang, a research scientist at MIT, said: “We thought maybe in the future our shape-changing food could be packed flat and save space.”