Soylent and the Purpose of Food - Food52

Soylent and the Purpose of Food

I've been reading about a project called "Soylent" the so called perfect, efficient replacement for food. In the opinion of Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart, the purpose of food is nutrition; it can be distilled into its base elements and has no other worth. What about food, cooking as an experience or part of a heritage? What do you think about Soylent?



Hilarybee May 30, 2013
Creamtea, the geek part is what scares me the most, too! My husband is an AF scientist and I can't trust him to make boxed macaroni and cheese. Maybe he would drink this Soylent potion--but when I asked him about it, he said "not after I married you." Which I also find interesting. The founders are men, engineers. Is their solution truly a nutritional solution or a social solution? Ie--they do not have someone to share food? Do not have the inclination to be social and therefore don't make meals and share them with others? Rob Rhinehart says he wanted to separate the social aspect of food and nutrition. In that he has succeeded, but I think he inherently misses the point. Food is a social experience, a visceral experience--a satisfying experience.
creamtea May 30, 2013
I think you're right. I want to sit them down & give them a piece of my mind. No, wait, I mean a piece of my chicken. They can sit down when I've got a tableful of guests, the main has been served --everybody's taken seconds, the conversation is good, the hostess relaxes and everyone finishes their glass of wine and looks toward dessert...
creamtea May 30, 2013
Oh, goodie, food invented by geeks. (Daddy is a retired Aerospace engineer. I think I can safely say he'll stick with my mother's cooking, thank you very much).
susan G. May 30, 2013
I believe that when the US space program started, nutrient pastes or liquids were developed to send along for the trip (Tang!). I gather that over time an effort has been made to provide what comes as close as feasible to real food, and -- experimentally -- little gardens have been grown in space. Just think of the constipation!
petitbleu May 30, 2013
I guess if I didn't have tastebuds, an interest in cooking, or any enthusiasm for food I would think it's a great idea.
Hilarybee May 30, 2013
I think it is interesting for sick people- like in hospitals, jaw surgery, etc. I couldn't eat for weeks after I had my wisdom teeth removed. But to fully replace all food? I don't understand how Soylent is different than other processed foods. It's distilled ] into base minerals and compounds in that regard, is it that different from say, Wonderbread? One could argue that Wonderbread is nutritious because it has 12 vitamins and minerals. But is Wonderbread actually healthy? Can you subsist off of it? Certainly.
susan G. May 30, 2013
Certainly, or certainly not? I'd go with the latter.
mrslarkin May 30, 2013
How funny. Imagine the possibilities...we wouldn't need teeth anymore so no more expensive dentists bills, or braces for the kids. Score!

Personally, I take great joy in preparing, and chewing, my food. So no Soylent for me.
smslaw May 30, 2013
Apparently, this is not a joke, although I'm still not convinced it isn't some sort of experiment looking at how gullible some people are.
The idea that eating real food is a chore to be endured is pretty sad. I also think that, just maybe, there is more to nutrition and health than a pile of ingredients assembled by a few techies. The product seems puke-inducing anyway, so I wouldn't line up for a crack at the IPO just yet.
Hilarybee May 30, 2013
I think the name is supposed to be intentionally ironic. But the thing is, these guys are serious. Here's some NPR, a light read:
The flippant Gawker analysis:
aargersi May 30, 2013
Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!!!
mrslarkin May 30, 2013
hahahahahahaha! Best movie ever.

SEriously, couldn't they pick a different name? I mean, ewwwwww.
mrslarkin May 30, 2013
I'm going to do a Soylent Scone for next April Fool's Day! Here's a better link to the trailer:

healthierkitchen May 30, 2013
smslaw May 30, 2013
It must be a joke. If not, it's stupid, although the kids behind it have collected 300K, so maybe the joke's on those giving them cash.
lapadia May 30, 2013
Exactly what came to me, "Soylent Green"!
healthierkitchen May 30, 2013
All I can think of is "Soylent Green". Not a pleasant connotation.
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