5

This is from The Expanse tv series, s01e08:

  • This place used to be the jewel of the Belt. I wish I could've seen it in its heyday. It's not a bad district, though. I'm tellin' you, if you guys like okra-infused tank-grown ribs, there's this place on Level Six that's pretty...

  • Please, shut your word hole.

What is okra-infused tank-grown ribs in the context? Wasn't able to decode this phrase.

  • 2
    HA HA... yeah, probably not something that most native speakers would really be able to parse, either. It's created lingo for a space-faring society, so there's no real world analogue of what is being described. – Catija Jun 7 '16 at 15:29
20

Let's use a real world analogue:

Sage infused free range pork loin

This is an actual example of how this phrasing is used and it can be a bit complex to parse.

So, in this case, we've replaced "okra" with "sage" (an herb) and replaced "tank-grown" with "free-range".

So, in this case, the pork loin is infused with the flavor of sage leaves. Meat infusion is done in a variety of ways including through brines, smokes, and injections. It's unclear how the meat in your example is infused but it has been infused with the flavor of okra.

"Free-range" describes the production method of the meat. Modern options include "free-range" - which means the meat wasn't kept in pens but allowed to graze more naturally; "conventionally raised" - which is the "standard"; and other terms like "organic" or "corn-fed".

At this point, we're not technologically capable of growing meat in tanks but it's in the works... here's the real world analogue. It's considered to be a very expensive process right now but, in a space-faring society, where raising livestock in space is not likely to be viable for cost reasons, having an option to "grow" meat in a nutrient solution is a way to have meat products, or at least meat analogues, without the expense of caring for, housing, and feeding livestock in space.

This is additionally complicated by the fact that they are "ribs". At this point, we're only trying to grow the flesh itself... growing flesh on bones would likely be an even more complex process.

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  • 7
    Nice answer. I would only add that "okra-infused tank-grown ribs" is almost certainly meant to be humorous, in that the very idea is so ridiculous. Okra and ribs are Southern specialties; it wouldn't surprise me if the phrase "Sage infused free range pork loin" is being lampooned as a tree-hugger affectation. – Robert Harvey Jun 7 '16 at 18:22
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    +1 for the humor note. Okra is pleasant-tasting, but mild. It certainly is not a spice or flavoring herb. Ribs, on the other hand, are usually prepared for flavor, and would overwhelm any okra taste. – WhatRoughBeast Jun 7 '16 at 22:32
5

It's a food: Ribs (probably pork spare ribs, a popular cut of meat). These ribs have been artificially grown in a tank instead of being produced the normal way (taken from a pig raised on a farm), and have been infused with okra (a vegetable popular in the southern US), presumably for enhanced flavor.

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  • Yes... but why infuse meat with okra? That makes little sense. – Catija Jun 7 '16 at 15:30
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    Lots of food combinations make little sense. :-) Pork and okra is apparently a popular combination in fictional space-farming societies. – Hellion Jun 7 '16 at 15:31
  • Apparently :D My first thought was that they crossed the DNA of the pig meat and the vegetable but I guess they actually mean that they've infused the okra flavor (I don't know that okra really has much flavor...) into the ribs as they were being cooked... – Catija Jun 7 '16 at 15:34
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    Found the roots of my confusion. I repeatedly gave like the sense of similar to and not the to enjoy. Now it fell into place. – Denis Kulagin Jun 7 '16 at 15:50
  • 1
    @DenisKulagin yes. that would be a problem :D "like" definitely means "enjoy" in this case. – Catija Jun 7 '16 at 15:54

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