Meal in a Pill
Jonathan Wang '10

The combination of simulacra and chemical technology has allowed big corporations with the funding for massive laboratories to generate new twists on old items. The science fiction miracle of a whole meal in a pill, like the fantasies in numerous science fiction television shows, is closer than ever before, as food science infuses grain cereals with more vitamins and minerals than is natural or reasonable, and whole bowls of cereal, granola meals, and other foods are condensed into handheld bars. In a sort of rebellion against the way Nature has prepared our food, scientists have been able to engineer what we consume from merely the natural, simple pabulum into an extravaganza of minituarization and density. Food is broken down into the basic parts, and reorganized into the most efficient system of delivery possible in an advanced alchemy of an extraordinary scale.

A magazine called Food Technology released an article called "Getting More Fruits and Vegetables into Food," a title that implies that one of the most natural sources of nutrition, the fruits that we eat, are separate from the actual food that we eat. The article, referenced in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, discusses TreeTop's latest invention: a "low-moisture, naturally sweetened apple piece infused with a red-wine extract" that delivers the same amount of cancer-fighting "flavanoid phenols as five glasses of wine and the dietary fiber equivalent of one whole apple" in a single eighteen-gram piece. Essentially, food science is capable of taking a normal, simple fruit and pack so much outside nutrition and flavor that it might as well be a dietary supplement, especially important as nutrition becomes a key factor in the image and perception of a food. The apple piece is an example of cyborg food; it is a new form of the old apple that resembles something ideal, something palatable and aesthetically pleasing, yet its true identity indicates a combination of science and unnatural mixture. Almost all the nutrition required in a meal can be consumed in tiny piece of fruit, bringing the fanciful idea of "a meal in a pill" closer to reality than ever before. Nature did not produce a healthy or delicious enough apple, and human knowledge has found ways to pick up where evolution left off.