What would a future be like feeding on pills | The weekly country

The idea that in the future human beings would eat pills, without worrying about the cumbersome task of cooking, or wasting time in the rudimentary action of eating, caught on in the American urban society of the first third of the 20th century, trapped in the frantic acceleration of progress. This occurrence was a natural evolution after vitamins were discovered and artificially synthesized between 1920 and 1940. Science fiction and the space race widened the dilemma.

The dystopian genre drew a future of societies dominated by technology in conflict with freedom and the traits that make us human: feelings, imagination, morals. In the film Metropolis, By Fritz Lang, inspired by Thea von Harbou’s 1926 novel, 2026 is prophesied with elites inhabiting the surface as workers support the system from underground ghettos. A diet based on pills was already venturing there. A few years earlier, the Russian writer Yevgueni Zamiatin predicted in Us a destiny monitored by an authoritarian state where everyone dresses, lives and must have the same opinion. In this scenario, Zamiatin fuels the destiny of his characters with gasoline. This work inspired the British writer George Orwell, who in the novel 1984 it reproduces a controlled society incapable of thinking critically while consuming meat or chocolate substitutes, anticipating this time of substitutions, caffeine-free coffee, tobacco-free cigarettes, contact-free sex or food without food, as the writer Martín Caparrós says.

Throughout the 20th century, an ethically impoverished future – which today is our present – has been predicted, with a citizenry concerned about trivial matters while being watched over by a kind of technological big brother. Fortunately, that dystopian tradition that fictionalized a pill-based diet in a fast-paced world was wrong … but not entirely. Laboratory-designed shakes arrived a few years ago, presenting themselves as “the nutritional drink for the 21st century lifestyle.” They are justified by claiming that if food is made up of chemicals, they can be broken down and rebuilt to make them healthier for people and beneficial for the planet. Food for a world without time to spend on peripheral issues such as eating.

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Soylent is a reality beyond When destiny reaches us, the film that in 1973 starred Charlton Heston. In an overpopulated New York, hit by pollution and global warming in the year 2022, a vision of the future broken by environmental disasters and a dehumanized technological development is exposed that, given the impossibility of feeding the population, nourishes it with a few preparations called Soylent. Recognizing ourselves in the gloomy predictions of a film from 50 years ago invites us to wonder who will win tomorrow this dispute between gastronomic hedonism and the intellectual pleasure acquired after overflowing it.

In light of the events, who assures that this coevolution together with the technology that illustrates a future of convergence of our species with the machines will not progress towards a tomorrow without food? Contact lenses, dental implants, hearing aids, pacemakers and prostheses are components outside the body that are already common in our lives and that open the way to devices that will improve or complement physical and sensory capacities in people, making the crossing between humans more and more real. and robots. But perhaps that is why the confluence of artificial intelligence, robotics and biology will be more needed than ever to deploy the most human part, the social one, which has one of its most complete and complex manifestations on the table, and which opts for the natural over the artificial, culture versus performance, diversity in conflict with homogeneity, the artistic over technological supremacy. When destiny reaches us, we will know the answer.

Tomato and bread


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(for four persons)

For the tomatoes in oil:

4 ripe tomatoes.

250 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil.

1 head of garlic.

For the tomato water:

400 grams of pear tomato.

For the tomato gel:

120 milliliters of tomato water.

30 milliliters of extra olive oil.

10 milliliters of cider vinegar.

A third loaf of Vienna bread.

For the tomato crumbs:

Leftover bread.

Remains of the liquid from the previous preparation.

Nutritional contribution

The tomato has a low caloric intake, about 19 kilocalories per 100 grams of raw product. It is mainly composed of water and its main macronutrient is carbohydrate, although in a not very high proportion. It is a natural source of lycopene, a carotenoid with a high antioxidant power and which gives it its red color.


Tomatoes in oil:

Peel the head of garlic and crush them by hand. Immerse them and confit them in oil for half an hour over very low heat. Wrap in transparent kitchen paper and let it infuse for four hours. Peel the tomatoes with the help of a lace,
Cut them naturally into three-centimeter pieces and marinate them in the garlic oil.

Tomato water:

Cut the tomatoes in four and freeze. Defrost them and squeeze them over a strainer with a fine cloth to be left with only their water.

Tomato gel:

Mix all the liquids and add salt. Shave the bread and cut 5 × 5 centimeter squares with a thickness of one centimeter. Soak the pieces of bread with the liquid in a gastro and set aside at room temperature.

Tomato crumbs:

With the remains of the bread and the liquid, proceed as in the previous step. Soak it and put in an oven at 60 degrees Celsius for six hours. Crumble and reserve hot.

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Finishing and presentation

Heat the tomato gels to 55 degrees Celsius. Drain the tomatoes from the garlic oil bath on a clean cloth. Put the tomato on the plate, place the crumbs on top and cover with the warm tomato gel. Put some flakes of salt and oregano leaves and basil flowers in a harmonious way.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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