Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Whole Meal in Pill (1923)


The August 17, 1923 Rock Valley Bee (Rock Valley, IA) ran a short piece titled, "Whole Meal in Pill Is Scientist's Dream." The entire piece appears below.
A good hearty meal, all in one pill that can be carried in a vest pocket, is the dream of scientists of today, according to Hugh S. Cummings, surgeon general of the public health service.

Some day dish washing and the dinner table will be gone and forgotten. The farthest scientists have progressed, according to Mr. Cummings, is to remove all the water from foods and condense them some 70 per cent.

See also:
Just Imagine (1930)
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Closer Than We Think! Hydrofungal Farming (1962)
Food of the Future (Indiana Progress, 1896)

11 comments:

zdubs said...

Does anyone know why people in the past were so obsessed with this idea? Did they not enjoy eating? Or did they just think it would be "cool"...?

Anonymous said...

Also its physically impossible to pack all the calories you would need into 1 pill.

Gary said...

You'd probably need a choke down a pill that'd weigh about a pound. Could that fit in a vest pocket? Would a giant suppository be a better option?

Anonymous said...

I've got to say, I consider a good meal to be one of the finer things in life, a simple and incomparable pleasure. To be sure, there are times when a quick pill might be convenient - long hikes to remote areas, space travel, emergency food aid - but I can't imagine the masses actually wanting to replace normal eating with pills.

Aaron T. said...

Indeed, based on the current U.S. Dietary Reference Intake, a male age 19-30 needs 130 g of carbohydrates, 56 g protein, 38 g fiber, around 18 g of various vitamins and minerals, and about 65 g of fat, for a total of roughly 307 g (0.68 lbs) of "food pills" every day. If the pills had a density of, say, 1.5 g/cm^3 (the same as sucrose), thats about 205 cm^3 (12.5 cubic inches) of pills each day. Nutritionists in 1923 must have had huge vest pockets. You'd think that even back then they'd have had a better idea of how much a person eats in a day.

Mark Plus said...

DARPA has reportedly funded development of a transdermal nutrient patch for soldiers too busy in battle to eat. That would have sounded science fictional back in the era of food pills.

Bob said...

"Ah dunno boys, gib me de good ole days!"

(Hope someone gets the reference)

Aaron T. said...

"Vaht? More pills?" "In my day, a meal vas a meal!"

RichM said...

They didn't forsee that the pill would come wrapped in foil and that we'd call it a "sports bar."

kaz said...

With a pill, you'd still starve! Sounds a lot like a multi-vitamin, and no one makes a meal out of those.
Reminds me of an episode of Garfield where he has a nightmare about a future with pill food.

Chris Shore said...

Sadly, he didn't foresee Saturday Night Fever killing off the vest, which is only now making steps towards convalescence.