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Has a tech entrepreneur come up with a product to replace our meals?

Fowler May 17, 2014 07:47 PM

A somewhat interesting article in the New Yorker. I do not know about anyone else, but this would never be popular with my family or friends.


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  1. ipsedixit RE: Fowler May 17, 2014 07:52 PM

    Meh, I'll pass.

    Sticking with my 1970's stash of MREs and swizzle shots of Ensure.

    1. mcsheridan RE: Fowler May 17, 2014 08:16 PM

      I know a raw food vegan who would jump all over this. He subsists all through the workday on green or grey shakes he whips up in a VitaMix, pulverizing fruits, seaweed powder, greens and goodness knows what else.

      Myself, I'm with ipse. I'll keep eating pizza and lamb kebabs, tyvm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mcsheridan
        Teague RE: mcsheridan Jun 3, 2014 08:41 PM

        My adorable sister, who has some food disorder issues, periodically goes on the raw shake full of kale and seaweed diet. Which, you know, is probably kind of healthy for short periods, but when it goes on too long she starts looking like an insect, all knobby bones and heart attack.

      2. ennuisans RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 02:13 AM

        This is fascinating. Thanks for posting it.

        1. sunshine842 RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 08:04 AM

          Real food made from real ingredients, please.

          <stage whisper> Soylent Green is made of PEOPLE

          1 Reply
          1. re: sunshine842
            mcsheridan RE: sunshine842 May 18, 2014 08:47 AM

            The day this starts really replacing food is the day I follow Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson).

          2. s
            small h RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 09:08 AM

            This was the money quote, for me:

            “Most of people’s meals are forgotten,” (Soylent inventor Rhinehart) told me. He imagines that, in the future, “we’ll see a separation between our meals for utility and function, and our meals for experience and socialization.”

            Meal replacements wouldn't be my choice, but If you regard eating as an unnecessary waste of time and resources (both financial and intellectual), then I think this is a better idea than mindlessly ingesting the cheapest, easiest-to-acquire food you can find. Certainly better than subsisting for weeks at a time on sloe gin fizzes, poptarts and brie.*

            *I know of at least one person who has done this.**

            **Okay, it was me.

            9 Replies
            1. re: small h
              sunshine842 RE: small h May 18, 2014 09:16 AM

              that quote is horribly sad to me, and I hope (pray, even) that we never become such mindless robots that food and companionship become irrelevant.

              Pop tarts, sloe gin fizzes, and brie are neither cheap nor particularly easy to acquire, either, and I'd question considering Pop Tarts and sloe gin fizzes to truly be "food".

              1. re: sunshine842
                small h RE: sunshine842 May 18, 2014 09:48 AM

                I don't think you understood the quote. He's drawing a distinction between meals for fuel and meals for companionship, and saying that he doesn't think he should have to expend the same energy on both.

                You misread me, also, re the poptarts. I meant that a nutritious meal replacement would have been better than what I ended up eating.

                1. re: small h
                  sunshine842 RE: small h May 18, 2014 09:59 AM

                  no, I understood the quote perfectly well. I find it horribly, horribly sad.

                  But you *chose* the pop tarts...as mentioned, they're neither cheap nor more easily-obtained than any other source of "food" (using the term loosely) -- if you were somewhere that sold Pop Tarts, you were somewhere that sold something more nutritious and quite possibly cheaper.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    small h RE: sunshine842 May 18, 2014 10:13 AM

                    Oh, ok. I find mining disasters horribly, horribly sad. I find tech entrepreneurs who choose to eat differently than I do thought-provoking.

                    1. re: small h
                      sunshine842 RE: small h May 18, 2014 10:15 AM

                      Mining disasters are way beyond sad.

                      I find the attitude of "what the hell, let's chug this cocktail of artificial shit because we can't be bothered to buy and consume actual food" to be really, really sad -- regardless of who utters the concept.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        davis_sq_pro RE: sunshine842 May 19, 2014 01:16 PM

                        Some days I go grab a sandwich from the place across the street and bring it back to my desk, where I eat alone while staring at the monitor. The time I spent walking across the street -- especially when it's cold and snowy -- is wasted. The food is not particularly good. And it's not enjoyed in the company of others.

                        Why wouldn't I replace all of that with a quick trip to the kitchenette? Maybe I could spend the saved time with my family later that evening, eating real food.

                        Still really, really sad?

                        1. re: davis_sq_pro
                          sunshine842 RE: davis_sq_pro May 19, 2014 07:55 PM


                          because when you eat a sandwich you don't enjoy all by yourself, you're only a half a notch better than slurping down some slurry of artificial stuff.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            davis_sq_pro RE: sunshine842 May 20, 2014 06:30 AM

                            "because when you eat a sandwich you don't enjoy all by yourself, you're only a half a notch better than slurping down some slurry of artificial stuff."

                            If I don't enjoy it by myself then why am I only a half notch "better?" I take it from your prior posts that "better" to you means "real" food consumed in the company of others. If consumption in the company of others ("don't enjoy all by yourself") is only a half notch better, then it seems you agree that when in front of my computer I should be drinking slurry and not wasting time with a sandwich?

                            1. re: davis_sq_pro
                              sunshine842 RE: davis_sq_pro May 20, 2014 07:23 PM

                              I'm a veteran of Herbalife, SlimFast, and more than a few other "slurry" meal-replacement diets -- about as close as you can get to having an eating disorder without actually having one.

                              No, I absolutely wouldn't ever agree that anyone should ever consume slurry unless the situation was so desperate that it was the only viable alternative.

                              I ended up sick, malnourished, and worse off than if I'd just learned to live with the weight. Drinking sludge shouldn't ever be a substitute for real food for normal people.

            2. Fowler RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 09:38 AM

              I think this *could* be of value to areas plagued by famine where people cannot grow even close to all of the food they need let alone walk down the street to Whole Foods to get their organic bok choy or wild, line caught sushi grade tuna.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Fowler
                sunshine842 RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 10:00 AM

                they're already got foodstuffs for famines, etc...and I'll agree with you that it's a better option than letting people starve to death...but only until the rest of us can find a way to get them actual, real food.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  INDIANRIVERFL RE: sunshine842 Jun 3, 2014 03:56 PM

                  It was called Operation Chowhound immediately after WW 2. The Mighty Eighth Air Force (USA) bombed Germany with food.

                  Took a while to rebuild the railroads and canals.

                2. re: Fowler
                  ratgirlagogo RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 11:17 AM

                  "where people cannot grow even close to all of the food they need let alone walk down the street to Whole Foods "

                  The places were people can walk down the street to Whole Foods are overwhelmingly places where people cannot grow even close to all the food they need. I have my little container garden and I support all the urban gardening here in NYC. But left to the urban gardeners and poultry and bee keepers, NYC would experience famine in a hurry without massive amounts of imported food.

                  Not trying to be argumentative. Just pointing out that whether it's traditional food or meal pills, it would still have to be transported to whereever.

                  1. re: ratgirlagogo
                    Fowler RE: ratgirlagogo May 18, 2014 12:01 PM

                    I used to live in Manhattan and knew I could not grow all of my food right at home. That is extremely different than someone that lives in a desert in Australia, Africa, etc. where there is true famine that cannot be solved by a truck bringing in organic heirloom tomatoes over the bridge from New Jersey.

                    1. re: Fowler
                      sunshine842 RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 12:33 PM

                      so suppose the bridge from New Jersey is no longer functional -- maybe a storm, maybe (God forbid) an attack, whether foreign or domestic -- and getting food to people in Manhattan is no longer as easy as just driving a truck...now what do you propose?

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        Fowler RE: sunshine842 May 18, 2014 12:48 PM

                        In a case like that, I propose looting Dean & Deluca as well as Eataly. Maybe walk down to Chamber's Street Wine to make sure you have some great wine.

                        Your scenario actually supports the purchase of the product in the article so people are prepared in advance of some type of disaster. But good thinking. I do not have those survivalist type ideas.

                        1. re: Fowler
                          sunshine842 RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 01:45 PM

                          we said that it wasn't a bad idea in the case of disaster (man-made or natural) where "real" food simply isn't an option in the first horrible hours or days.

                          But other than life-or-death survival situations? No thanks.

                          1. re: Fowler
                            Bkeats RE: Fowler May 21, 2014 05:25 AM

                            Actually you don't need to worry about attack. I suppose you missed it since I'm guessing you had left by then but when "super storm sandy" struck, large parts of NYC and surrounding towns went without food/water for several days as the power went out and then gas could not be brought in to the area and every gas station around was closed so delivery truck didn't even run. Fortunately for us, we didn't lose power so we had friends who did crash with us. That could easily happen again. Good thing we had plenty of canned goods. My guess is you wouldn't have had to loot Dean & Deluca. They would have been busy throwing everything out as they would have been without power. They probably would give you all you could carry out before things spoiled. Didn't get to starving/famine levels obviously but there was a lot of discomfort.

                            It was totally weird going through a blacked out lower Manhattan.

                            1. re: Bkeats
                              ratgirlagogo RE: Bkeats May 21, 2014 05:28 PM

                              George Orwell once said that London could be said to be the center of England in the same sense that the stomach could be said to be the center of the body. It's just as true for New York or for any large city. We consume more than we produce and almost everything is transported here from somewhere else. Any problems with roads, bridges, airports, the harbor - trouble starts quickly. While it didn't get the point of actual famine in NYC after Sandy or 9/11, many businesses that weren't directly hit by either went under permanently as a result of transportation disruptions in both those cases.

                              1. re: Bkeats
                                Ttrockwood RE: Bkeats May 29, 2014 06:58 PM

                                In my dark electricity free apt in the aftermath of sandy i made a siginifsnt dent in my stash of protein powder since i hesitated to light my pc of crap gas stove with a match.
                                It was easily a year old tub but i was glad to have it.....

                    2. r
                      Roland Parker RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 11:00 AM

                      I laughed.

                      It reminded me of my old Oz books series. The H. M. Wogglebug (Highly Magnified) invented square meal tablets that contained the nutritional value of an entire six course meal.

                      His students threw him into the river when he tried to force them to eat the tablets.

                      I'd probably have the same reaction.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Roland Parker
                        Fowler RE: Roland Parker May 18, 2014 11:05 AM

                        "square meal tablets that contained the nutritional value of an entire six course meal."

                        They actually serve a version of those in some of the U.S. prisons.

                        1. re: Fowler
                          Bkeats RE: Fowler May 21, 2014 05:27 AM

                          Actually if you read the most recent version of Lucky Peach, I get more the sense that prison cuisine is pretty nutritionally deficient.

                      2. p
                        pedalfaster RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 12:22 PM

                        Beside "companionship" there are other sensory reasons for "real" food.

                        Guess I'm thinking about that this afternoon as I am roasting peppers, onions, eggplant and tomatoes. The house ~smells~ mmmmm!

                        Then there is the visual....the colors! The tactile (I love the way my knife slips through the vegetables, the crunch on my teeth when I eat the finished product).

                        I suppose I see the point of food/nutrition pills. Others have mention war, famine, imprisonment. I certainly have known people who found eating a "chore" and a "bother''. I'm not one of them.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: pedalfaster
                          Fowler RE: pedalfaster May 18, 2014 12:34 PM

                          Yes, and as someone who loves to cook and entertain I definitely agree. It is not something that would become popular with my family, friends or me. But I suppose there could be uses for the product such as in famine riddled areas or flights in outer space.

                          It would not be a product for me though.

                          1. re: Fowler
                            ennuisans RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 12:42 PM

                            The thing is, for much of the US at least, even for people who aren't starving, they would probably be better off drinking these meal shakes than they are stopping for fast food.

                            For that matter, one thing I've noticed about fast food is that it's not enjoyed or even eaten so much as inhaled. Ground beef on a soft-dough bun is about as close as you can get to pre-chewed food. There's almost no work to do and little to enjoy. Now that I think about it, a Big Mac is probably worse than this stuff because it's big on calories and low on nutrition. But it -looks- like food.

                            On the other hand, now I'm craving a Big Mac and I can't imagine craving this yeast drink stuff.

                            1. re: ennuisans
                              Kris in Beijing RE: ennuisans May 18, 2014 12:46 PM

                              Would you say
                              the aroma opening the box/ bag/ wrapper
                              and the first bite of most fast food
                              are tempting? Appetizing?
                              (I Would)
                              After that, it's the inhale, or it was a 5 bite burger anyway.

                              Pancake Batter Broth does not have the same appeal!!

                              1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                ennuisans RE: Kris in Beijing May 18, 2014 03:44 PM

                                Oh absolutely. The combination of salt, tang and sugar in a quarter pounder's onions, pickles and ketchup trips a big switch in my lizard brain. And yeah, after that first bite it's all over.

                                1. re: ennuisans
                                  Bkeats RE: ennuisans May 21, 2014 05:29 AM

                                  Not so much for me. When ever I eat a quarter pounder within a 1/2 hour I feel queasy. There is something going on with the processing of that meat that does not agree with me. So my pavlovian reaction to smelling the aroma upon unwrapping one is queasiness. Not at all appetizing.

                          2. re: pedalfaster
                            pedalfaster RE: pedalfaster May 18, 2014 01:20 PM

                            In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that I have been on TPN. Kind of the same idea, delivered intravenously.

                            Much prefer eating. Chewing. Real food.

                          3. Kris in Beijing RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 12:42 PM

                            I read the article this morning before going to church and have been mulling it all day.

                            Armchair theorizing-- he was raised Christian in the South and attended a legalistic religious school.

                            He says his parents "compartmentalize."

                            I think he does too-- he's rejecting everything about the culture of his youth (faith, food, and fellowship) for "efficiency and economy."

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Kris in Beijing
                              MplsM ary RE: Kris in Beijing May 18, 2014 01:23 PM

                              As a Sci-Fi fanatic I don't want to envision a future with us in cubicles with feeding bottles hung from the ceilings so we can all be more efficient, but for some applications this food makes sense. Surgeons performing delicate hours-long procedures; astronauts on spacewalks; and yes, perhaps for the starving.

                              Newfangled thoughts and ideas com from those who break from what they've been taught, even how they were raised, to conceive of new ways to tackle things big and small.

                              1. re: MplsM ary
                                sunshine842 RE: MplsM ary May 18, 2014 01:48 PM

                                sorry, but I want that surgeon to step away and take a break....if it's going to be that long a surgery, have a surgical *team.*

                                But the last person I want cutting on me is a sleep-deprived, stressed-out surgeon who's low on blood sugar.

                                1. re: sunshine842
                                  Bkeats RE: sunshine842 May 21, 2014 05:36 AM

                                  Have you talked to many neuro/cardiac surgeons about your suggestion? I know more than a few. Walk away in the middle of a 12-18 hour surgery to take a break and have a meal and a nap? While I'm sure they would love to be able to do that, its not likely that you can ask the patient to put off potentially dying while you take a break. They keep going until its done. One of the reasons that I did not make particular career choices.

                                  1. re: Bkeats
                                    sunshine842 RE: Bkeats May 21, 2014 07:15 PM

                                    If, heaven forbid, I should ever have to face a marathon surgery, I *will* speak with the surgeons, because no, I don't want a sleep-deprived, stressed-out surgeon whose blood sugar has tanked and who's been on his/her feet for hours and hours wielding a scalpel anywhere near me.

                                    Same as I don't want any other professional whose job carries unthinkable responsibility being sleep-deprived, stressed out, hypoglycemic, and exhausted.

                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                      Bkeats RE: sunshine842 May 22, 2014 05:36 AM

                                      I understand your sentiment but will tell you that's there very little that can be done about the marathon surgery session, I have a close relative who is one of the best in the field in dealing with brain tumors. Extracting them can be 12+ hour sessions. Its not like in the middle he can stop to take a break or hand the scalpel to someone else. Once the patient's head has been opened up, it's non-stop until the operation is done. There will be sips of something taken along the way to stay hydrated and get some calories but the primary surgeon is there for the duration. Most patients want their surgeon to complete the task. That's why you picked him/her. But let's hope we never need those kind of services. It's a pretty grim prospect when your facing these situations.

                                2. re: MplsM ary
                                  Kris in Beijing RE: MplsM ary May 18, 2014 07:29 PM

                                  "Live long and prosper" doesn't sound like feeding bottles to me, either.

                                  >"Newfangled thoughts and ideas com from those who break from what they've been taught, even how they were raised, to conceive of new ways to tackle things big and small."<<
                                  There's also the concept of standing on the shoulders of giants.

                              2. b
                                benbenberi RE: Fowler May 18, 2014 01:59 PM

                                Seems to me that anybody who's reading forums at Chowhound is precisely NOT the target audience for this type of product.

                                For those people who really don't enjoy food and regard it as merely fuel whose preparation & consumption is mostly a waste of time they would rather spend doing other things, something like "Soylent" makes a lot of sense. (I can't comment, however, on all those DIY types who (a) don't want to waste their valuable time on food but nonetheless (b) spend an awful lot of time experimenting with personal formulas for home-made Soylent, which aren't as good as real food or original Soylent...)

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: benbenberi
                                  Kris in Beijing RE: benbenberi May 18, 2014 07:31 PM

                                  There might be one crossover -- if it is true that a monthly food budget would be cut by 50%, that'd free up a lot of cash for a splurge meal.
                                  Then the one MEAL a month would be incredible, and the rest could be paste.

                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                    sunshine842 RE: Kris in Beijing May 19, 2014 03:50 AM

                                    no, thanks.

                                    1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                      LMAshton RE: Kris in Beijing May 30, 2014 03:31 AM

                                      There are other reasons for a crossover.

                                      I have sensory processing disorders. Every now and then, they act up and I can't stand the smell or taste of just about anything. I can't be within five or six feet of any food other than, say, oatmeal. I live on oatmeal until it's over, and that's hardly a good way to get a proper amount of nutrients.

                                      I would love something like soylent for those times.

                                      1. re: LMAshton
                                        sunshine842 RE: LMAshton May 30, 2014 03:48 AM

                                        totally get that, and yeah -- it would probably work for you.

                                        There are cases where this stuff would be a good option, and your situation is one of them...but for two meals a day on a regular basis? Nah.

                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                          LMAshton RE: sunshine842 May 30, 2014 05:51 AM


                                        2. re: LMAshton
                                          ratgirlagogo RE: LMAshton May 31, 2014 07:03 PM

                                          Have you ever used Ensure as a food substitute during these problem periods?

                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                            LMAshton RE: ratgirlagogo May 31, 2014 10:36 PM

                                            It doesn't exist where I am. Nor do any other reasonable substitutes.

                                            1. re: LMAshton
                                              sunshine842 RE: LMAshton Jun 1, 2014 08:29 AM

                                              where are you? I know in Europe there are meal-replacement shakes for both adults and toddlers....

                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                LMAshton RE: sunshine842 Jun 1, 2014 05:56 PM

                                                I'm currently in Malaysia.

                                                There are probably protein powders here. There were in Singapore. But I haven't seen meal-replacement shakes.

                                                At any rate, my bland food does the job when needed. Meh.

                                                1. re: LMAshton
                                                  sunshine842 RE: LMAshton Jun 1, 2014 06:04 PM

                                                  I'm sorry you have to deal with that.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                    LMAshton RE: sunshine842 Jun 1, 2014 06:19 PM

                                                    Thanks. Me, too. It's just another "feature" of my genetic collagen defect, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, the gift that keeps on giving...

                                                  2. re: LMAshton
                                                    Kris in Beijing RE: LMAshton Jun 2, 2014 08:14 PM

                                                    In Chinese grocery stores, all of that was on the row with oatmeals and toddler/ preschool/ kindergarten/ elderly powdered "milk" formula cans.
                                                    Would it be similar in Malaysia?

                                                    1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                                      LMAshton RE: Kris in Beijing Jun 3, 2014 05:11 AM

                                                      Not that I've noticed, but I haven't really looked. I know I can get protein powders here, but that was about all I'd seen. I'll take a look. Thanks! :)

                                      2. jrvedivici RE: Fowler May 20, 2014 07:20 AM

                                        Back in the late 90's I survived on a mostly powder chemical diet, only eating a handful of "meals" each week. I was full of energy, felt like superman most of the time and had terrific energy for work, play and everything in between.

                                        Of course my powder meal supplement was cocaine so I wouldn't suggest it for most people, but hey it worked!

                                        1. JTPhilly RE: Fowler May 20, 2014 07:50 AM

                                          In the beginning part of the article the problem stated

                                          "They had been living mostly on ramen, corn dogs, and Costco frozen quesadillas—supplemented by Vitamin C tablets, to stave off scurvy—but the grocery bills were still adding up. Rob Rhinehart, one of the entrepreneurs, began to resent the fact that he had to eat at all. “Food was such a large burden,” he told me recently. “It was also the time and the hassle. We had a very small kitchen, and no dishwasher.” He tried out his own version of “Super Size Me,” living on McDonald’s dollar meals and five-dollar pizzas from Little Caesars. But after a week, he said, “I felt like I was going to die.” Kale was all the rage—and cheap—so next he tried an all-kale diet. But that didn’t work, either. “I was starving,” he said."

                                          Unfortunately the solution is learning how to shop and cook - pressed for time it would probably have been less time consuming than launching a science experiment - get a rice cooker - steam that kale over the rice open a tin of tuna and shake on some soy sauce kids - jeez its not that hard, oh and there is that amazing new invention called a sandwich too - they're pretty versatile :)

                                          and the article admits they did nothing more than basically reproduce Ensure, ridiculous. You CAN live on Ensure - it is the only thing my poor dad has been able to consume for months since the radiation zapped his salivary glands - he dreams of real food - was waxing about what he can cook for me when I visit - who would CHOOSE to live on Ensure I don't know.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: JTPhilly
                                            mcsheridan RE: JTPhilly May 20, 2014 10:08 AM

                                            Predictably, the Soylent story is garnering attention outside the US.
                                            I came across this food column in today's The Independent (a UK newspaper site):

                                            Two sentences stood out: First, "Rhinehart sounds as mad as a box of frogs." Second, "The problem, it seems to me, is that he has been eating in all the wrong places." Hard to argue with his assessment, but then again, there are people out there who just couldn't care less about food. Incomprehensible to Chowhounds, naturally, as well as to the food writer quoted above.

                                            1. re: JTPhilly
                                              ratgirlagogo RE: JTPhilly May 21, 2014 05:34 PM

                                              "the article admits they did nothing more than basically reproduce Ensure, ridiculous. "

                                              That's kind of the punchline to the whole thing - that an established product (and one that I'd guess is a lot more nutritionally reliable) already exists! It's like in the movie Knocked Up where the slacker housemates spend months working on their brilliant plan for a website that, as it turns out, is identical to Mr. Skin.
                                              The real genius idea they did have and the one that's garnering the press is calling the stuff Soylent.

                                            2. Kajikit RE: Fowler May 20, 2014 11:11 AM

                                              Sounds bizarre to me... I know there are some people who see food purely as essential fuel and otherwise a total waste of time but it's totally alien thinking to me. I like food too much! I guess it would be good for emergency situations - it couldn't taste any worse than current 'meal replacements'!

                                              1. Jacquilynne RE: Fowler May 21, 2014 10:20 AM

                                                I've read about this before, and, I actually think I might be really happy with something like this as my regular meal consumption, assuming it actually was nutritionally complete and healthy. (That's a big assumption.)

                                                There are two very distinct ways that I eat:

                                                -- Great meals with great friends and/or in great restaurants.
                                                -- Feeding myself every day because I have to.

                                                The former is where I concentrate all my houndly energy -- I like preparing elaborate dinners and shopping for neat foods and trying great (or new and hopefully great) restaurants. I probably only do these things once a week, but they make me happy and I would never want to give them up.

                                                The latter, though, generally fills me with negative emotions. A lifetime of yo-yo dieting has left me with a somewhat complicated relationship with loving food, and I have trouble not feeling guilty about what I eat. Plus, I hate doing dishes and I'm single, so I can spend an hour or more to cook and clean up for a meal that I'll actually eat in 10 minutes.

                                                I would never, ever want to give up the great meals, but if I could keep having those great meals and replace all the ones that are boring and stressful with something I don't have to think about, that would be a good fit for me personally.

                                                Of course, it might actually turn out to be unbelievably depressing to drink that shit every day. Hard to say for sure.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                  davis_sq_pro RE: Jacquilynne May 21, 2014 11:22 AM

                                                  "I would never, ever want to give up the great meals, but if I could keep having those great meals and replace all the ones that are boring and stressful with something I don't have to think about, that would be a good fit for me personally."

                                                  My thought exactly. I like how the guy refers to "real" food as "recreational." That's exactly what the great meals are. They're not about nutrition. They're about enjoyment of food, setting, and companions.

                                                  Sitting in my cubicle at work eating my crappy sandwich from the place across the street? That's pure nutrition. Probably tastier than the sludge, but socially on the same level, and almost certainly not as nutritionally sound. Assuming those guys have properly done their homework.

                                                  1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                    kmcarr RE: Jacquilynne May 22, 2014 09:54 AM

                                                    "Of course, it might actually turn out to be unbelievably depressing to drink that shit every day."

                                                    Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

                                                  2. mcsheridan RE: Fowler May 28, 2014 06:56 PM

                                                    Another write-up, this time in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/29/tec...

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: mcsheridan
                                                      davis_sq_pro RE: mcsheridan May 29, 2014 02:42 PM

                                                      I want to print and frame the first paragraph.

                                                      But I still think it's cool tech :-)

                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                        kmcarr RE: davis_sq_pro May 30, 2014 09:52 AM

                                                        As a food lover and tech lover that line was poetry.

                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                          mcsheridan RE: davis_sq_pro May 30, 2014 10:12 AM

                                                          In case anyone can't access the article, here's the first paragraph:
                                                          "I just spent more than a week experiencing Soylent, the most joyless new technology to hit the world since we first laid eyes on MS-DOS."

                                                        2. re: mcsheridan
                                                          pedalfaster RE: mcsheridan May 29, 2014 03:06 PM

                                                          Ever read "Microserfs" (Douglas Coupland). I seem to recall a character who only ate "flat food" that could be slipped under his office door.

                                                          The source of this magical meal does not surprise me. It's not like they ever go out to eat on dates or anything.

                                                          1. re: pedalfaster
                                                            Fowler RE: pedalfaster May 29, 2014 05:18 PM

                                                            That is kind of what I was thinking. The guy might change his mind if he had a girlfriend.

                                                          2. re: mcsheridan
                                                            sunshine842 RE: mcsheridan May 29, 2014 05:23 PM

                                                            the NYT piece links to this, which is laugh-out-loud funny:


                                                            My question is...it's bad enough that you're drinking sludge for sustenance...why does it have to be shit-brown and have no flavor? It's like they're TRYING to make it meh.

                                                            Beige is rarely a good attribute.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                              pedalfaster RE: sunshine842 May 29, 2014 05:35 PM

                                                              "Beige is rarely a good attribute."

                                                              And yet computer cases were that shade for ~years~.

                                                              1. re: pedalfaster
                                                                sunshine842 RE: pedalfaster May 29, 2014 05:46 PM

                                                                nah, that was "putty"

                                                                (that's not a good attribute, either)

                                                            2. re: mcsheridan
                                                              DGresh RE: mcsheridan May 30, 2014 04:46 AM

                                                              That Times article did the product no favors, did it!

                                                              1. re: DGresh
                                                                mcsheridan RE: DGresh May 30, 2014 06:16 AM

                                                                Nope. :)

                                                              2. re: mcsheridan
                                                                babette feasts RE: mcsheridan May 30, 2014 12:20 PM

                                                                I particularly enjoyed the video of the sommelier, fitness trainer, and others tasting it.

                                                              3. EatFoodGetMoney RE: Fowler May 28, 2014 07:01 PM

                                                                Live to eat > eat to live
                                                                That is all.

                                                                1. Teague RE: Fowler Jun 3, 2014 08:35 PM

                                                                  I love food, and (mostly) eat healthy stuff, lots of lovely vegetables and beans and some of my fellow creatures (not people). I've had ensure, once, and won't again unless I have some sort of medical reason. But some people just don't care about food. This guy, for example. And people have a definite tendency to believe their idiosyncrasies are a virtue. But if all I had to eat was soylent green or ensure? Well, better give me soma too, or I may do something antisocial.

                                                                  1. mcsheridan RE: Fowler Jun 12, 2014 05:20 PM

                                                                    Stephen Colbert tries Soylent:

                                                                    "Melted cheese, my friend..."
                                                                    And I won't tell you all what Stephen did that had me laughing out loud in the middle of the segment - you will, too.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: mcsheridan
                                                                      davis_sq_pro RE: mcsheridan Jun 12, 2014 07:53 PM

                                                                      Wow, Rob Reinhart is just terrible at giving interviews. If he wants this thing to last he needs to hire a marketing person, stat, and let him or her talk to people like Colbert...

                                                                    2. greygarious RE: Fowler Jun 16, 2014 03:05 PM

                                                                      I was listening to "On Being" on NPR. The topic discussed was how to get people of different viewpoints to negotiate with each other and come to a mutually acceptable agreement. The interviewee said that having a meal together is a powerful tool in consensus-building. It's a corollary to the "everybody poops" truism. Though people don't consciously realize it, sharing a meal creates a bond because it reinforces the partakers' ability to see their tablemates as ordinary people, not just conglomerations of opinions/beliefs.

                                                                      In this respect, Soylent, if it became commonplace in work environments, would be damaging to group dynamics. It might also put a damper on creativity and job satisfaction, because there would be fewer opportunities for brainstorming in the cafeteria or over after-hours pizza while worker burn the midnight oil.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: greygarious
                                                                        Kris in Beijing RE: greygarious Jun 16, 2014 07:09 PM

                                                                        Just from my sample size of one office, I can concur that strict dietary rules have created a sharp divide among three groups at work -> followers, culturally similar who know how to "play along," and "local Americans." The latter group has certainly increased its sarcasm and had a decrease in morale.
                                                                        Kris now in DC/ NoVA

                                                                        1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                                                          ennuisans RE: Kris in Beijing Jun 16, 2014 07:27 PM

                                                                          Back in my Walmart days it was a minefield for the office folks trying to put together employee dinners. Jews, Muslims and Hindus don't share many foods in common, at least as far as St. Louis foods go, and of course you had those who felt that catering to "their" dietary needs was an unnecessary burden. I got so hypersensitive to the matter that when one coworker suggested a pig roast I didn't realize at first that she was not serious.

                                                                          edit: I should have said Jews, Muslims, Hindus and spoiled carnivores, to be more clear.

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