Could Food Be a Thing of the Past?

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    soylent-blendedThis column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose, in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

    I’m going to Belmont to see if American Pharaoh makes Triple Crown magic. I’m going to wear a gigantic Carmen Miranda-style hat made of fruit because June is the beginning of my favorite season: strawberry and later, stone-fruit season. (Pick-your-own at these local farms.)

    Who doesn’t love a peach grilled over charcoal to caramelized perfection? The people who drink Soylent. Soylent is a terribly-named but nutritionally complete meal replacement beverage created by software engineer Rob Rhinehart, when he was too busy computer coding to shop for, prepare, and eat food.

    I live through my stomach, yet I agree with Rheinhart; all that shopping, preparing, and bellying up to the table does take precious time and can be totally irritating. For example, one might bust one’s butt making a delicious antipasto platter with smoked mozzarella to expand one’s children’s palates in preparation for a trip to Italy — a trip that exists mostly as a fantasy of Under The Tuscan Sun in one’s mind — only to find that said children say, “Paper-thinly sliced asparagus is gross, Mom.” And, “Nobody I know eats caper berries.”

    What does Soylent taste like? (Here’s the website, where you can order 56+ meals for $130.) My cousin, a coder like Rhinehart, says it tastes like raw pancake batter. “Not bad, but not what you would call delicious, either. Neutral. Convenient.” I have to admit, sometimes “neutral” and “not bad”  is all I want for my children when it’s after baseball practice and everyone’s ravenous; they’re looking each other as if they are turkey legs, like in a cartoon, and I’m too tired to roast an umpteenth chicken and use a carrot peeler. “Have a nice glass of Soylent, my darlings,” I could say, and I would be free to watch more of The Chef’s Table.

    Freedom from the tyranny of preparing food! Daily meal planning reduced to a bag of raw pancake batter you receive in the mail, easy and breezy!  “Meals” and “food” (those archaic things) could be for special occasions, when I really want to knock myself out slicing dewy, perfect and just-picked strawberries and tossing them gently with long-aged balsamic vinegar from Modena.



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