On the pill

Food capsules don't exactly sound delicious, but they do sound convenient.

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Food is great and all, don’t get me wrong, but can we all admit that the efforts to keep ourselves and our families fed is just downright exhausting. It’s relentless and has been so since the dawn of time. Every damn day, three times they say.  

As someone who has done this stay-at-home mom thing — which in my case has included doing all the meal planning, shopping, prep, cooking, and cleaning-up for four people — for the last nearly seven years, I’m so over the chore. But women lamenting hours spent in the kitchen is as old as kitchens themselves. 

Sure, I bring a lot of the work on myself with my uppity attitude about avoiding processed foods — making things like hummus and yellow rice and soups from scratch, and many other things easily bought and ready to eat by simply opening a container or boiling some water. But even beyond the whole bored housewife thing, just getting the food in my body can be pain in the ass. Sometimes I just want to feel full without taking the time to deal with food. 

Maybe I’m busy and don’t feel like stopping to eat; Maybe I’m drinking and know I need to eat but just can’t find the gumption — and that’s a recipe for regret. Maybe I’m on a roadie and trying to get somewhere and finding a decent place to eat is elusive. Maybe I’m broke and don’t want the trans-fat-laden food I can afford. With all our advances in technology, the best we can come up with so far seems to be Soylent. Ew. 

It’s not that I don’t love good food. I often like cooking and I’m even good at it. But doing anything all the time gets old. Which is why I wish there was a magic food pill, like the kind that still exists only in science fiction. It would fill us up, provide necessary nutrients and preferably even be flavor-enhanced to the point that we could enjoy taco burps complete with the illusion of Cholula hot sauce in our sinus cavities. This doesn’t have to be the way we eat on the reg; just a convenient occasional option. 

Back in 1893, American suffragette Mary Elizabeth Lease wrote an essay theorizing about the future for the American Press Association. She predicted we’d be eating synthetic food by 1993, “...And thus the problems of cooks and cooking will be solved.” Meaning, women could get out of the kitchen and have a life. But that was back when they had to make their own pasta, so we modern ladies really can’t complain. 

Maybe if there had been more women scientists throughout the last century and change, Lease’s predictions would have come to pass; but even then it’s doubtful. The real problem with food pills is that even though we can stick a bunch of nutrients in something like a vitamin, we can’t get enough calories in a little capsule to sustain us long-term.  

And OK, so food pills don’t exactly whet the appetite. But they don’t have to. In my sci-fi fantasy scenario, if we want real food, we get it. If we are lazy or busy or sick, or otherwise predisposed, we just pop a pill. Which, if you think about it, is already pretty much The American Way.

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