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Data Cuisine creates meals based on cultural statistics

Sarah Silbert

We've seen IBM's Watson computer serve up unlikely food pairings, but Data Cuisine takes culinary experimentation to a whole new level. Developed by data-visualization specialist Mortiz Stefaner and curator Susanne Jaschko, it's an initiative to create recipes that reflect a particular set of statistics. In the case of a workshop in Helsinki, that meant translating local fishing data, ethnic population stats and crime rates into a variety of dishes, from different types of fish stacked to represent various kinds of crime to a map of the country's alcoholic consumption made with various amounts of wine and regional dishes. (See the photo above for the latter.)

What makes these edible visualizations so compelling is how different ingredients are used to represent the statistics in question -- there's a reason behind every culinary decision. In Barcelona, for example, a cake based on the amount of national science funding for 2013 contained 34 percent less sugar than a cake representing the funding for 2005. Even if the results are not always delicious, it certainly changes the way we consume facts and figures. The Data Cuisine will likely expand to more cities around the globe, translating more information into food in the process.

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