Growing up in the sixties, I looked forward to a future in which I’d get to eat like The Jetsons, whose cuisine consisted of little tablets that magically turned into full-sized meals. 

Which is to say that I’ve never been much of a foodie. Call me a “fuelie.” Food, for me, isn’t about enjoyment.  It‘s about sustenance. 

I don’t get a kick out of cutting-edge cuisine, fabulous new restaurants, or creative food combinations. Sitting around a table for hours, ordering innovative entrées, tasting each other’s food, and yakking endlessly about what we’re eating as we gobble it down? I have more fun vacuuming the living room.    

Check out that amazing new bistro?

No, thanks. I’d rather stay home and open a can of Campbell’s. 

One reason that Mark, my sweetie, and I get along is that we’re both perfectly happy always eating at the Same Dam Chinese restaurant or, even better, staying at home to enjoy vegan chili, made from the recipe Mark has used for decades. 

When I’m on my own for dinner, I’ll either pick up something nutritious from the neighborhood gourmet take-out place or fix myself a salad.  Or, on rare occasion, indulge my sweet tooth with a serving of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (a serving being, of course, an entire sleeve).  

“Don’t you ever feel like cooking?“ people ask.  

Not I.  There isn’t a meal in the world I enjoy eating enough to want to actually cook it. I use my stove not to cook, but to store the pots and pans that I’m not using. 

Which is all of them. 

So when I first heard about Soylent, I was thrilled.  

soylentSoylent, the creation of software engineer Rob Rhinehart, is a new food substitute that can supply 100 percent of your daily nutritional needs, costs next to nothing, and takes no time to prepare.  Using himself as a guinea pig, Rhinehart was able to thrive on nothing but homemade Soylent for three months.  After which he  crowd-funded it to the tune of  $1.5 million. And then the venture capitalists moved in.

The original  recipe is being tested and refined, and the first orders (including mine) should ship in early 2014.  

So what does it taste like?  

“I’m not trying to make something delicious,” Rhinehart said in a recent  Gawker interview. “There are already a lot of delicious things. It’s all about efficiency. It’s all about cost and convenience.”

Which is to say that it tastes like Glop. Or, according to one Gawker staffer, like “the homemade nontoxic Play-Doh you made, and sometimes ate, as a kid. Slightly sweet and earthy with a strong yeasty aftertaste.“ 

“Perfectly balanced nutritious sludge that you can live on instead of preparing delicious meals?“ I thought. “I’m in!”  

When he named his creation Soylent (after a foodstuff central to a movie whose tagline every Boomer knows by heart), Rhinehart was being ironic, although a few of the folks who posted responses on his website claimed to feel betrayed.  “If it’s called Soylent,” one huffed. “It had better be made out of people!” 

Let’s hope he was kidding.

I can’t wait to mix up my first batch. I’m excited at the prospect of thriving on a nutritionally perfect, hassle-free diet.   

It might even catch on! Maybe 2014 will be The Year of Glop. 

I’m dreaming of a Soylent-centered  Christmas for 2014. No hours of preparation. No groaning board. No overeating, then sinking onto the sofa in a ham- or turkey-fueled stupor. And no mountains of dirty dishes to wash. 

Instead, friends and family sit around the table enjoying witty, literate conversation as we cheerfully sip our Soylent.  (Perhaps, for the holiday, we’ll spike it with a little vodka.) We’ll donate the money we’ve saved to charities that fight world hunger.

Then, on to coffee and pie! Having satisfied 100 percent of our nutritional needs, we can indulge in a bit of food-as-pure-pleasure.

Okay, so that probably won’t happen. But aren’t the possibilities Soylent offers, at the very least, food for thought?      

As for me, it may have taken five decades, but I’m finally going to be able to eat like Jane Jetson! 

Now, where’s my jetpack? 

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  • Sparkina July 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    OK, opinions are like noses, everyone has one, and here’s mine. I really can’t get behind this. I happen to like food and I eat as much for enjoyment as to sustain a healthy body. I feel that food is about more than sustenance because people are more than just bodies. This goop strips out the whole aesthetic, cultural, gustatory, social, psychological, emotional, HUMAN aspect of food and eating, reducing us to machines that need to be fueled. I respect your viewpoint, but my viewpoint is, Rob Rhinehart can include me out

    Reply
  • kelly January 8, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    can’t it just taste like chocolate milk? then I’d be all in!

    Reply
  • kate January 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I’m so happy to know the reason I keep wishing for “food” in the form of convenient pills that need no cooking, no cleaning, no prep time or decision making, and best of all that have no pesky flavor, is from watching the Jetsons! Soylent sounds almost perfect. Thanks, Roz, I can’t wait for the Soylent era to begin.

    Reply
  • jody January 5, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I’m with you, Roz. Soylant for me all the way. But what will my gormand of a cooking slave hubbie do if I no longer want to eat his creations?

    Reply
  • roz warren January 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Isabella my mom used the same egg-in-a-milkshake trick with me!

    Reply
  • Isabella January 5, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    It looks a little bit like the milkshakes my mom used to make me for breakfast, which included a raw egg. The only way she could get me to eat eggs in the morning was to hide it in a chocolate drink.

    Reply
  • Toni Myers January 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    There will be a soylant frenzy, thanks to you, Roz, soon as it’s on the shelves. Second only to the Cabbage Patch Dolls madness, in which I did NOT participate. Soylant will be an exception. Thanks for the Paul Revere early warning!

    Reply
  • Wanda Vickers January 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

    The Martians have landed!

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  • hillsmom January 4, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Well Roz, at least they did resist the temptation to make it green.

    Seriously though, this might solve some of the problem feeding people in countries trying to recover from famine, flood, earthquake, and/or war. I’ll never forget the sight of women in Africa walking to Aid Stations with bundles of sticks in their arms…only it wasn’t sticks, it was their starving, emaciated children. It still brings a tear to my eyes. Sorry, perhaps this comment doesn’t belong with a humor piece.

    Reply