New Food

Soylent in glassWhen I was young I was incredibly picky. I still am weird about a few things. Maybe because of the anxieties attached with eating as a youth, I think a lot about food now. I think about declining trace nutrients in vegetables. I think about complicated interplay about class and food. I think about the fragility of the supply chain. I think about the environmental cost of meat or big agriculture in general.

For breakfast since June, I have been drinking Soylent, primarily the caffeinated varieties with a couple of Stoks added. I am a two case a month guy. I like it. I feel it is generally decent nutrition, is filling, and is easy. With subscriber discounts it isn’t crazy expensive.

There is a sci-fi trope of highly processed nutrition of the future. Initial food from billed as from the space race such as freeze dried ice cream did nothing to slow that trope down.

Soylent is getting more popular, pushing into chains and replacing food altogether for those on the bleeding edge.

I know I am already on the wagon, and fully adjusted to this food model. With a Soylent for breakfast and a protein bar at lunch, I can go nuts at dinner and still maintain a good calorie count. Is this the beginning of the science fiction future of food? From here on out, do I eat more nutrient dense, nutritionally balanced, grab and go food? Do more people? The maker of KetoChow posted in a Reddit thread on r/soylent that he just bought 38,404 kg of protein. This is a manufacturer of an even more niche meal replacement than Soylent.

People will not eat less of this sort of thing. What does it mean if we all start eating more of this primarily vegetarian cuisine? Will real food become the luxury of the rich?

Climate Change vs Haute Cuisine

Gimlet Media has been consistently producing high quality podcasts since their first days with the StartUp Podcast about the founding of the company. Some of my favorite podcasts *coughReplyAllcough* are Gimlet shows. One of their divisions is Gimlet Creative, which lets brands commission high quality narrative content as embedded advertising. I have listened to a few of these and really, several are of really interesting and well done, despite being a glorified commercial.

One of the latest is Why We Eat What We Eat, which explores the cultural reasons we eat what and the way we do (sponsored by Blue Apron, though I am not). The most recent episode explores the climate change diet, and the way our eating habits may evolve as the biosphere does in relation to climate change. In the episode, people commit to eating the obscure and interesting proteins that could become staples of a world that is a handful of degrees warmer than today and chefs work with making some of these things more elevated.

Food Processing: The Next Generation

Saveur Daily popped up on the Chromecast with this article about 3D printing in the pasta world. It is a good introduction to the world of 3D printed food for the uninitiated. To me, 3D printed food is a natural progression from Wyley Dufresne’s eggs, Homaru Cantu’s edible menu, and either the fulfillment or bastardization of the El Bulli menu. It is a great way for forward thinking chefs to put together something brand new, a tiny piece at a time.
But I can’t uncouple thoughts on 3d printing in the culinary arts with the articles I have been reading about cloned, lab grown meat. Processed food is anathema to those who can afford to avoid it. How does lab meat and 3d printing tools in culinary arts collide and made the high end food of tomorrow? Poor people used to be skinny and rich people fat. The abundance of cheap, dense calorie processed food, especially in the states has upended that model. What do these incoming waves of food techs hold for the future? Will eating an apple be a luxury or will a 3d extruded apple jelly infused with an onion spackle and lab grown chicken be the way the rich enjoy their food? How fast does having meat that used to be on a living creature seem like a cruel decadent behavior for the 1%?