I often see Mizora from 1880 thrown around as the earliest title where artificial/cultivated meat makes an appearance but I'm wondering if it was really the earliest. For instance, I know Winston Churchill makes utopian references to cultivated meat in a speech in 1931 and I'm pretty sure he never read Mizora, which suggests the idea was firmly established at that point. So, what was the earliest science fiction text to mention or depict some kind of lab-grown/cultivated meat?

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    I would be tempted to try searching the works of Jules Verne. I remember many unusual and inventive meals described in 20,000 Leagues beneath the sea. Commented Apr 7 at 21:26
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    Honorable mention to Kurd Lasswitz "Auf zwei Planeten" which has artifical meat made from petrochemicals, but that was in 1897 so not a first. But the casual tone in which it is mentioned seems to confirm that it was not considered a particularly unusual idea. Commented Apr 9 at 7:57

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I found a reference just one year earlier 1879. Though I am unsure if it exactly fits your question. A character in the story objects to eating both animals and plants on ethical grounds. He eats artificial pastilles which supply all his dietary needs.


The short story mentioning the artificial food is The Senator's Daughter.

He took from his waistcoat pocket the small gold box, scarcely larger than a watch, and opened the cover. In the palm of her white hand he placed one of the little pastilles.

"Eat it," said he. "It will satisfy your hunger."

She put the morsel into her mouth. "I would do as you bade me," she said, "even if it were poison."

"It is not poison," he rejoined. "It is nourishment in the only rational form."

"But it is tasteless; almost without substance."

"Yet it will support life for from eighteen to twenty-five days. This little gold box holds food enough to afford all subsistence to the entire Seventy-sixth Congress for a month."

She took the box and curiously examined its contents.

"And how long would it support my life--for more than a year, perhaps?"

"Yes, for more than ten--more than twenty years."

"I will not bore you with chemical and physiological facts," continued Wanlee, "but you must know that the food which we take, in whatever form, resolves itself into what are called proximate principles-- starch, sugar, oleine, flurin, albumen, and so on. These are selected and assimilated by the organs of the body, and go to build up the necessary tissues. But all these proximate principles, in their turn, are simply combinations of the ultimate chemical elements, chiefly carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen. It is upon these elements that we depend for sustenance. By the old plan we obtained them indirectly. They passed from the earth and the air into the grass; from the grass into the muscular tissues of the ox; and from the beef into our own persons, loaded down and encumbered by a mass of useless, irrelevant matter. The German chemists have discovered how to supply the needed elements in compact, undiluted form--here they are in this little box. Now shall mankind go direct to the fountainhead of nature for his aliment; now shall the old roundabout, cumbrous, inhuman method be at an end; now shall the evils of gluttony and the attendant vices cease; now shall the brutal murdering of fellow animals and brother vegetables forever stop--now shall all this be, since the new, holy cause has been consecrated by the lips I love!"

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    This is very interesting, especially the timing in comparison with Mizora. However, I think I was looking for something closer to animal cells/tissues been grown in labs or apart from the animals themselves. Commented Apr 4 at 3:33
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    I'm not making any assertion about "earliest", but I'm pretty sure it's in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World", written/published 1931/1932, which could conceivably have influenced Churchill (or vice-versa).
    – Anthony X
    Commented Apr 7 at 22:03

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