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You are what you eat:
The marriage of food and anatomical technologies

Neither the butcher shop nor the operating room have a strong reputation for aesthetics. The body--whether human or beast--is a tricky medium to present.

Technologies for crafting meat often originate in human form. Anatomical models explore new ways to present the body in an accurate and tactile manner. They evolve, search out novel and superior mediums for manufacturing the body: wax, papier-mâché, plaster and plastics. Each new technology becomes, in turn, the new standard for representing the wider world of meat.

In butcher shops, restaurants, and food markets, displays of fake meat need to showcase a perfect product. Whether used as didactics or menus, they need to look good: True to life and representative of their cut. Borrowing the media and methods of medical models allows these displays to echo the physical presence of meat not available in the flesh. While use of plastics has eclipsed the fake food market since the 1950s, an earlier history of hand crafted models still speaks to the close bonds between humans and meat.


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