A couple of years ago, a software designer named Rob Rhinehart started making noise about “Soylent,” a nutritionally complete food he’d formulated that was going to change the way the world’s population ingested calories. Soylent was a powder to mix up into – if the reviews are to be believed – a type of gluey shake with the consistency of pancake batter. A seemingly endless tweaking of the product has followed.
My first reaction to hearing about Soylent was, “Hey, this could be an incredible, easy way to feed people suffering from some natural disaster. Earthquake in Haiti? Pack up pallets full of this stuff and water and send it over.”
But that was before the latest version of Soylent – no longer a powder, but bottled as a ready-made shake -- was released in July. To celebrate, Rhinehart took to his laptop and released a very odd essay chock-full of messianic proclamations. Seriously, this is how the piece begins: “The walls are buzzing. I know this because I have a magnet implanted in my hand and whenever I reach near an outlet I can feel them. I can feel fortresses of industry miles away burning prehistoric hydrocarbons by the megaton.”
And don’t get him started on cooking food or, uh, “rotting ingredients.”
“Kitchens are expensive and dirty. … I utilize soylent only at home and go out to eat when craving company or flavor. This eliminates a panoply of expensive tools and rotting ingredients I would need to spend an unconscionable amount of time sourcing, preparing, and cleaning.”
Maybe it was a result of the heat, but July cooked up more food goofiness in the form of the PT Barnum attempt of Whole Foods to sell “asparagus water.” The $6 product was simply bottled tap water containing three stalks of asparagus. Although it was pulled from shelves after much mocking, don’t despair. Cucumber water is still yours for the taking and will only set you back $3.
You want some Soylent and cucumber water for lunch? Have at it. It’s a Thursday, so that means I’m about to tuck into a plate lunch of fried chicken, field peas, yams and cornbread. And keep the sweet tea coming.