Food, Huh, Yeah What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing.

“Then she’d smelled spaghetti.  Byron had a tincture of this artificial odor on his desk, for sniffing when he ate his meals, which were flavorless nutritional shakes (the shakes were weird enough, but Hazel also couldn’t understand how the only food smell he used was spaghetti.  “Don’t you want to smell something else, for variety?” she used to ask him.  “A cinnamon roll?  A bucket of chicken?”  He’d blink once, twice, then shake his head no.)  Aside from these shakes he really didn’t eat, preferring to get weekly transdermal supplements via pneumatic injection guns.  Eating grossed him out; he felt it was antiquated and menial.  He’d want to get a implanted in his abdomen where he could delivery daily sustenance to his stomach via a gel or blended material, some texture just bulky enough that his digestive organs wouldn’t atrophy, but he’d decided against it since eating is such a metaphorical act across all cultures.  Byron worried that it might affect his business dealings if others, particularly foreign partners from European countries that didn’t romanticize efficiency, found out he did not participate in calorie swallowing and traditional digestion.”

Made for Love, by Alissa Nutting (which you should definitely read right now)

So anyone who knows me knows I have a knee-jerk horror of all the ways Big Tech attempts to hack human’s essential animalness.  Eliminating death, freezing your eggs and implanting them when you’re 80 and unable to put in 15 hours a day at Google so you can give birth to your grandchild: that kind of stuff gives me the willies.  And yet, and YET, I think I maybe coming around on the whole let’s-get-rid-of-food thing.

This is undoubtedly due to the fact that I’ve been home with all three other members of my family, responsible for 97% of meals (save the breakfasts my husband makes––that’s the easiest meal of the day, though––and the very occasional evening we order out for dinner) since March 9th, when schools closed and life as we knew it ceased.  That’s a lot of meals.  Particularly for someone who from the word go, finds food pretty dull.

I mean look, it’s fine.  It’s just a whole lot of work (and time! and money!) for fine.  If I could eat 1-2 enormous meals of my favorite food every day, I probably would basically like it (3 meals is a bit of a to-do for me).  If someone brought me a bagel sandwich or a plate of sushi or a steak with French fries and spinach whenever I was ravenous, that would be cool.  But given where we are right now in the world, it’s taking all my creativity to pour cereal into a bowl.  I think the other day I gave each of my kids half of a stale bagel with a pat of cold butter smushed into it and a cut up cucumbers and told them to get lost.

So the other day I was wondering if there are any times in human history other than Soylent when people––scientists, wackos, wacko scientists––tried to eliminate food.  I don’t mean anorexics.  Even Gandhi or that chick Naveena Shine, who tried to go 100 days living on sunlight (she made it 47), aren’t really embodying what I’m looking for.  I’m not into eliminating food for either destructive or transcendent reasons: it’s solely just to avoid constant drudgery of deciding what to eat, procuring it, cooking it, cleaning up after it.  It’s just a bit much!  I’m hoping for a neat little pill, or that brown (but apparently tasty?) mush from Defending Your Life.  (Feel free to throw other cinematic or literary references my way.)  Unfortunately at the moment Soylent is really the only option out there, but it’s a little too corporate for my tastes.  There’s a whole DIY Soylent movement (hahahahaha people are so weird!) apparently, but now we’re asking for more of a time commitment than I’m comfortable with (it also has a whole “get healthy” agenda and again, I don’t care about that––I’m not out to optimize anything, just eliminate one more thing to do).

When I was a young anorexic, in my second hospital program, they gave us Boost, commonly marketed toward the elderly, as replacement calories when we declined to finish a meal or snack.  This was not a unique feature of the program: the previous program I’d been in did the same with Ensure, and the one I went to after this one actually put you on an all-liquid diet if you came in below a certain BMI.  At this particular program I’m talking about, the Boost was meant to act as a punishment: even if you didn’t finish, say, one pretzel from a bag of pretzels, you’d still get an entire can of Boost, so obviously the calorie intake doesn’t at all even out there.  And yet at some point, for whatever reason, all the girls in our program decided that Boost was by far the easier way to go.  Forget the anxiety inherent in slicing your meant, the awkwardness of trying not to eat as fast as your neighbor, all those intrusive textures and flavors and temperatures, the occasional time we had to actually choose what to eat (the horror)!  Just make it all the same and get rid of

Eventually a therapist caught on to the fact that we had stopped thinking of Boost as something to be avoided and had started actively replacing our food with it (I think they overhead one of the girls saying offhandedly that it “tasted like cake”).  The main therapist, who probably smoked three packs a day and had the voice to prove it, gave us all a big lecture, but honestly, she should have just saluted us: we were the way of the future!

jowen_soylent

Or now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: