Monday, September 28, 2009

92. Uranium


Cooking With Uranium

Get out those antique red Fiestaware plates! With the new nanotechnology treatments, you don't have to worry anymore about contracting cancer from the uranium in the glaze! Well, technically speaking, you never did … While acidic foods like vinegar and tomato sauce will leach uranium from the plates, the FDA has determined that the "yellowcake" oxide in Fiestaware isn't concentrated enough to be directly dangerous. Though it does ooze seven times more radon through cracks in the glazing than is absolutely safe.

But Fiestaware is only the beginning. Cherché Gourmet paid a visit recently to Nagasaki, the hot new Manhattan "uranium bar" made possible by the aforementioned nanotech and a recent ruling by the NRC. And what an experience it was!

Picture a sushi bar gone ultratech. That's Nagasaki. Diners sit on high chrome stools at long counter tops, directly across from chefs dressed in lead radiation suits. That's not entirely for show! The counter tops are made of depleted uranium, which may not be strong enough for weapons use but is still warm to the touch. Even with the lead suits, the chefs have to undergo full nanotreatment monthly.

But that's the gimmick. The food is cooked directly before the diners on thick uranium platters. When they're set down on the counter tops, the platters achieve subcritical mass and begin to heat up! It's an eye-popping demonstration of the power of technology—particularly since most of the recipes involve flaming brandy.

All the food was excellent, and the mushroom surprise was, as advertised, shaped like a mushroom and a complete surprise. The food is served piping hot, so be careful not to burn your mouth!

The only criticism that might be made of Nagasaki at all is the way they decorated the walls. Blowing up classic photographs is pretty standard in trendy restaurants these days, but whose decision was it to use post-bomb photos of the survivors of the bombing raid of August 9, 1945? Honestly, it's enough to put a diner off his feed.

Still, it's an improvement over the theme restaurant that was in the same space last year. Those who ate there—and there were at least three before they closed—all agreed that never again would any of us ever return to Biafra.

© 2002 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.

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