Life after food

Whether it is a meal in a pill, a feast in a stick of gum, a spontaneous assembly of atoms, a green wafer made of people or a re-hydrated pizza puck, science fiction and fantasy has amassed a widely speculative variety of future foods to fuel the people. What the food in “The Jetsons,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “Soylent Green” and “Back to the Future” seems to revolve around is its convenience.

As I write this, I’m sipping on what

could be the epitome of convenient consumption and possibly the food of the future. A light and neutral beige, it has the consistency of a milkshake and the taste of watered down graham crackers and bread dough. Honestly, it’s not as unpleasant as it sounds.

Billed as full-on meal replacement, this soupy mixture of nutrients is theoretically all one needs to thrive. Its creator, Rob Rhinehart, went a month solely on the substance in order to prove the viability of its vitality. It could possibly replace food for people some day, and that is kinda cool.

I was curious about living on a liquid diet. I generally miss at least one meal on a given day, largely because of convenience. Imagine getting everything you need by sipping down a cup of liquid food in a matter of seconds. Admittedly, I also produce an atrocious amount of food waste on my own, so eliminating the perpetually moldy bread from my cupboard and mushy vegetables from my crisper seemed ideal.

I ordered 28 liquid meals as a trial.

Let me be clear, I’m not here to review the specific product, which I choose not to name here. Rather, I’d like to talk about life after food.

It sucks.

Twenty-eight meals is not actually a whole lot, especially when you need the calories. Had I relied purely on the liquid food, it would have lasted me seven days. I only managed one day on the liquid alone, but not for the reason you’re probably thinking.

Food is a powerful social phenomenon. The tradition of flavor is carried among many cultural identities. People cook together, eat together and relate to various meals with one another. We have whole holidays that revolve around food. I mean, who else is ready for Thanksgiving Break already?

Physically, I felt fine. I just could not relate at all with my food or relate it to those around me. As people munched on their salads, sandwiches and snacks I simply sipped my plain neutral beverage. And when every meal tastes the same, seeing someone eating normal food was enough to make me drool.

Texture was another thing. I craved texture. It is amazing what we take for granted: the crunch of a carrot, the pop of a cherry tomato, the crisp of cold lettuce.

I could go on and write pages about the importance of food to our culture and our psyche, but I’ll leave that for someone else’s senior seminar paper. I think you get the picture.

Life after food, with its sleekly optimal convenience, is dull to the palate and mind. We lose something when we lose the experience of food. I’ll be honest, I ordered a second batch of liquid food, but I think I’ll be drinking it on the side of a nice burger or salad rather than in lieu of it.