Chefs these days are becoming more and more like scientists. From molecular gastronomy to spherification, to sous vide, what won’t they do to food, eh? Not that we’re complaining — creativity is awesome — though we’d probably rather just have a slice of pizza if you gave us the choice! Now, however, science, food, and psychedelics have collided to create a dish that we think sounds just delicious. 

Through the same scientific hocus pocus that brought us the pomato (or the tomtato), researchers at the Swiss School of Gastronomic Science have managed to create a potato-mushroom hybrid. And not just any mushroom — a psychedelic mushroom — the Psilocybe cubensis in fact!  

Psilocybe cubensis via Creative Commons

Creating a Super-Food

As unbelievable as it might sound, this is actually a project that scientists have been working on for many years, aiming to create a food that combines the filling carbohydrates of the potato, with the essential B vitamins of the mushroom. It was only a recent decision however, to introduce a psychedelic mushroom into the mix. 

Why Psychedelic Mushrooms?

So why did they choose a psilocybin mushroom, (the Psilocybe cubensis to be precise) to cross-breed with a potato? Well, it turns out that due to P.cubensis’ aptitude for being bred into new mushroom strains — such as the Golden Teacher, the Penis Envy, the B+ — it is a lot more adaptable when it comes to cross-breeding with other species too. Additionally, like potatoes, mushrooms enjoy damp undergrowth. You will often see mushrooms sprouting near where potatoes are planted. 

So How Did They Do It?

The researchers tried many different pollination and grafting techniques before alighting on the successful method. 

Potatoes tend to reproduce via asexual reproduction through tubers, which are the swollen underground stems of the potato plant. Each tuber contains nodes from which new shoots and roots can grow. When a potato tuber is planted in soil, these nodes sprout, and new potato plants emerge. 

Mushrooms, on the other hand, (as you might know if you are reading this article!) produce spores which are then released into the air, and onto the ground, to produce new baby mushrooms. By grafting together a Yukon Gold potato tuber and a P. cubensis mushroom spore, researchers were able to create a viable hybrid. 

Head researcher, Greta Frankenstein PhD., explained;

“The chances of the graft actually taking, and becoming viable were very, very, small. We were incredibly shocked when we saw we had created life!”

The Invention of ‘Trippy Chips’

Once the sample was viable and began to grow, the researchers were able to clone it. Once these clones had also matured they were able to study this hybrid further. The next question, of course, was if the new creation was actually edible, not to mention tasty. The Yukon Gold potato that was used to create the hybrid is known for being the best kind of potato to use for chips, so fries were seemingly the only way to go on this never-before trodden path. Frankenstein stated;

“We had a mini deep-fat fryer brought up to the lab, and then we sliced up the specimens into strips and fried them. They have an interesting taste and texture profile… Honestly, they are a bit slimy, not fluffy like real potato fries… They also have a slightly off-putting gray color.” 

They may not look edible… but they certainly are… via Creative Commons

The volunteers who were enlisted to test the Trippy Chips found them to be certainly edible — but in terms of flavor, a little underwhelming. However, there was another element to the hybrid fries that made the researchers sit up and pay attention. They had actually inherited the psychedelic characteristics of their mushroom parent. And so, ‘Trippy Chips’ were born! (Kudos to whichever witty lab assistant came up with that…)

You Need a Big Appetite to Trip on These Chips

Before you lose your head, however, the research suggests that you would need to eat quite a large amount for a full psychedelic effect. After eating 100g of the Trippy Chips, 72% of the volunteers felt the equivalent effects of a high microdose of psilocybin (around 2g of magic truffles or 0.2 of dried magic mushrooms). 

“100g was the largest portion we asked our volunteers to consume… More research needs to be done into how the Trippy Chips affect the body at higher doses. However, we can assume that like magic mushrooms, the more you eat the stronger the psychedelic effect would be. 

In the case of Trippy Chips you’d likely have to consume at least 1 kg for a ‘trip’ experience. Only one of our 50 volunteers said he would be happy to do this, because he liked the ‘earthy’ taste.” Frankenstein said. 

Will Trippy Chips Soon Be Coming to a Restaurant Near You?

Short answer: no. Despite the novel effects of Trippy Chips, currently they would be too expensive to produce, don’t taste especially nice, and in many countries would actually be illegal. 

And, not least





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