Santa Cruz, CA (April 1, 2016) – The Penny Ice Creamery founded in 2010 by Santa Cruzans Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis has been selected for inclusion in “The Food Capsule Project”, a multidisciplinary initiative of the University of California system led by the Gastronomica Journal at UC Santa Cruz and the advanced energy research division of Lawrence Livermore Labs. Intended to capture a snapshot of dining in the early 21st century, The Food Capsule Project will preserve iconic food items in a “food vault” for distant future analysis and study.
“It’s already frozen” said Chef Baker. “So I guess we’re making their job a little easier.”
Baker refers to the scoops of “Dark Chocolate Sorbet”, “Straight Up Strawberry” and “Verve Coffee with Chocolate Almond Praline” selected for inclusion in the collaboration between the Anthropology Department at UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore Labs. The goal to develop a chamber capable of holding everyday food items in their original state for a millennium or more proved more successful than anticipated.
“As a community we have unearthed beautifully preserved humanoid records dating back hundreds, even thousands of years,” said Anthropologist Helmut Simon. “Yet the likelihood that we will leave a similar anthropological record for the future is in some doubt.”
To combat the uncertainty swirling around climate change and its impact on the human record, Lawrence Livermore Labs, and their notoriously guarded research, was willing to share with the the UCSC Anthropology department a nascent technology enabling long term food preservation.
“They said ‘We can freeze whatever you got for… maybe two thousand years’ and we said ‘Hmmmm, sounds delicious!’”, said Anthropology graduate student Yang Zhifa.
The collaboration yielded a self contained, and self powered, chamber capable of hosting over 100 meals. Potential “preservation sites” for the chamber include guarded closely locations beneath the Hetch Hetchy dam system and an undisclosed location within the Swiss Alps.
Yet despite all the technology and security surrounding the project, food remains the primary focus.
“The jury is till out which burger will be selected,” said Helmut Simon. “I am pushing for something local to Santa Cruz proper but In-N-Out is very popular. Maybe that Assembly burger…”
The project is not without controversy. Several UCSC student groups have called for protest of the initiative on varying grounds.
“Why are we putting perfectly good ice cream in a container where we can never taste it?” Shouted an unnamed activist at a recent rally who asked to be identified only as Mr. Thaw. “Free the Penny ice cream!”
When reached for comment Penny Ice Creamery founder Davis said “It’s a great honor to be included in the project, but we’re also very happy to be making ice cream for people to eat today!”