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Throwback Thursday: The Future of Food

Maggie Borden

December 18, 2014

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Illustration by Eugenio

From cars that run on electricity, to computers that live in our pockets, to Back to the Future–style hoverboards, you could make the case that we’re already living in the age of the Jetsons. But aside from the market availability of the powdered meal replacement, Soylent, it seems there’s still a lot of room for growth in the way we grow, cook, and eat our food. With the new year swiftly approaching, we’re using this TBT to look back at a look forward: our Spring 1999 Beard House Magazine article “Seratonin-Laced Truffle Inhalers and Other Tales from the Future,” which assembled a motley crew of professionals and intellectuals to predict the food landscape of 2050. Here are a few choice quotes, some remarkably relevant to today, while others seem still a few decades off:

“Because the perishable food ingredients will be pasteurized with electron beams, concern about food-borne diseases spreading from continent to continent will be a thing of the past.”

Dr. Robert V. Tauxe

“We will understand the ethics behind the food. In the case of milk, we will known everything from how the cows are treated and the conditions of the farm, to how the workers are treated and if the truck drivers are paid enough. There’ll be a wider corporate profile, and an ethical ingredient, behind each brand.”

Faith Popcorn

“Tips as we know them know them will be changed to a percentage of the check and automatically added to the bill. Critics will have to get a university degree in restaurant criticism, where their abilities and performance will be reviewed before they can do the same to others.”

George Lang

“Here’s my prediction: Ninety percent of what everyone will drink will be red wine, and one of the biggest markets will be China.”

— Kevin Zraly

“There will be an underground culture of people who do eat hot fudge sundaes but do it in secret…The philosophical descendants of those of us who care about food are going to find ourselves fighting a guerrilla war to eat a hot fudge sundae and a steak.”

— Michael Stern