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Farm To Tablet

October 23, 2018

On today’s episode we tackle a future that was once a staple of science fiction: food pills. Instead of shopping and cooking and sitting down to eat meals together, we all simply pop our nutritional pills and move along with our lives. How feasible is this, really? Where did the idea come from? And what does the rise and fall in the popularity of the idea say about our changing relationships to food, culture and politics?


Further Reading:

Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The voices from the future for this episode were provided by  Tony Garcia, Fernando Galdino and Ed Yong. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.

If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at info@flashforwardpod.com. We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool.

And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! Head to www.flashforwardpod.com/support for more about how to give. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.

That’s all for this future, come back next time and we’ll travel to a new one.



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Luke Powell October 23, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Thank you for this episode! I was glad to hear a bit of discussion over the idea that food is often a part culture as well. I used to live in Hawaii and one of the things that I still miss about it is the Polynesian culture and especially the place that food occupies in that culture. There are times where I would have even be tempted to say that food IS their culture! Both the preparing and partaking of food is often a family/community event and is even an important part in many cultural/religious ceremonies. This culture of making and sharing food, however, has had a different impact that one could say has been even more important in the shaping of Hawaiian society and that is its ability to overcoming cultural differences. Hawaii is one of the largest melting pots in all of the US and arguably even in the whole word. People from all over come to visit and many of them end up staying. Because of this, cultural differences on any given island are as vast as the oceans that surrounds them. One thing they all have in common though is their need to consume food. This sharing of food has helped to bring people together through the years in a way that little else ever could and has proven an efficient way of overcoming all kinds of racial differences and cultural barriers. Its impact, in fact, can still be seen even today. For example, one food that is considered a staple in Hawaiian culture is Chicken Long Rice. Basically, it’s just a kind of chicken soup that is made with green onions and rice noodles. The ironic part, however, is that while this is a staple in Hawaiian food, neither chicken or rice are indigenous to the islands! They were both brought over by immigrants from Asian and North America. While I find the practical application of food pills intriguing, I personally cannot imagine a world without food as we know it today and frankly wouldn’t want to live in one either.

Brady October 30, 2018 at 8:41 pm

First time long time. Great episode!

As a kid growing in a somewhat neglectful household, food was rarely available. Our house was well stocked, but the food itself was tightly controlled and monitored by my stepfather who was, and still is a real piece of work -nuff said. As an adult, I eat healthy but have unhealthy eating habits. Quite often I’ll find myself in the mid to late afternoon having eaten very little, or nothing at all – aside from a couple cups of coffee. Even upon noticing it, I hardly ever feel hungry and have only felt starving a handful of times. Quite often I’ll just push on through to the next day. Rarely will I wake up starving, but when I do, I prefer a huge salad. Lots of greens. Heck, I’d eat a head of broccoli like an apple if I could.

My dream is to be able to somehow enter my nutritional needs (based on blood work etc.,) along with my physical/exercise goals into a 3D food printer that would essentially print out a loaf that I could divide by 3 or 5 and be set for the day. Sort of like the food ration bars scavenged by the crew in the first episode of Firefly. Having said all of that, I’m also intrigued by the idea of the food pellets in the Fifth Element that are quickly rehydrated into a giant roasted chicken. Given the choice, I’d take the loaf.

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