Human society is built on dining tables. In our dim and distant past we ate in communal groups and tribes with everyone providing a portion for security and survival. In more recent history, the breaking of bread settled differences, brought families together, and marked celebration and tragedy alike. These days, food is, when not a celebratory or social thing, a hassle that we try to avoid when possible. We eat garbage and we’re turning into garbage people. No amount of “green juice” will fix it.
My wife sent me an article about Soylent, the technically engineered food substitute that, like the fictional Brawndo sports drink, has everything the body craves. All of the vitamins and minerals of a daily meal is packed into a couple of “shakes” that are said to taste like anything from wet cardboard to the aftertaste of Cheerios. That may sound less than appetizing, but that’s not the point. The point is to provide sustainable food product that won’t go bad to areas that can’t grow or don’t have food or to free up the time it would take to sit down to a meal for people too busy to eat.
A great invention, this Soylent, but it’s now making people sick according to the article in Gizmodo referenced in the article my wife sent me and a massive recall of the food bar version of the product was issued by the company. The bad batches were produced in July and could be the result of “contamination” according to the Gizmodo piece.
The future of food is uncertain. With honey bees dying out at alarming rates and genetically modified crops over specialized for specific regions, we’re going to run out of food eventually. The planet can only sustain so many people for so long so we have to eventually look to the future. Local foods are great, but expensive and hard to come by for many people. Soylent is the right track, but lack of regulation is not a benefit to them, it’s going to come back to bite them.
We have to change how we view food. Right now, It’s comfort, not sustenance. It’s celebration, not survival. If that idea changes, then we can look at the future of food.