October 21, 2014
Only barroom bores bemoan the real-life dearth of science fiction’s long promised “flying cars.” (As I”ve said before, we already have flying cars. They”re called “helicopters.”)
I don”t drive a normal car, so I have no need of one that’s airborne.
Sure, I enjoy the occasional hot fudge sundae or slice of good pizza (or six). But eating”or, more specifically, cooking”is mostly a chore, a duty, a speed bump. I”d rather be writing, reading”anything that holds out the promise of novelty, creativity, and discovery.
Eating, on the other hand, is so … ordinary. It feels more like a job than the activity it’s always so rudely interrupting: my actual work.
Long before I was old enough to earn a living, I was enchanted with the food pills on The Jetsons. Imagine: No dishes to do, no oven to remember (or, in my case, forget) to preheat before my mother got home. Such meaningless tedium. Didn”t my mother”didn”t the world”understand? I had better things to do.
(It doesn”t help that I”m also missing the gastro-porn gene. I hear tell that food-themed movies like Eat Drink Man Woman and Babette’s Feast and even 9 ½ Weeks are all terribly sensuous, or maybe sensual”I could never be bothered keeping those two straight. Whereas these “hot” films all leave me colder than yesterday’s leftovers.)
I never outgrew my pubescent impatience with interruptions; with kitchen noises and messes; and, particularly, with that warped inverse ratio between the time spent on food prep versus its consumption.
That’s why I don”t feel the same resentment regarding other chores: none of them are so tied up with time.
Getting up to shift the laundry from the washer to the dryer actually provides a welcome break. But if I leave the clothes in the dryer after the cycle ends, they won”t burst into flames.
Whereas I resent being the clock’s kitchen slave. Knowing I have to jump up in 20 minutes to turn or stir something or other leaves me with 19 minutes to stew about that looming 20th.
But meals in capsule form? I could scarf those down without ever leaving my desk. I could get more work done. Make more money. Whatever satisfaction I experience after polishing off a big, tasty meal (ideally, prepared by someone else) simply can”t compare to the sweet sensation of hitting “send” on an assignment, or getting a big check in the mail.
Does Rob Rhinehart have a solution?
Last year, the 25-year-old engineer invented a “thick, odorless, beige liquid” meal replacement, consumed it exclusively for 30 days, and shared his experiences in an instantly viral blog post called “How I Stopped Eating Food.”
Being the geeky sort, Rhinehart dubbed his food substitute “Soylent,” which is one of the reasons I won”t be trying it. I want iron in my meal replacements, not irony.
The other? According to the journalist who dutifully downed it for five days straight, Soylent tastes like “oversweet vanilla body wash, but with the texture of silt.”