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Singularity: Food in the Future

What will the post humans eat? Dunno, but whatever it turns out to be, the food of the future will no doubt be perfectly designed to be wholesome, non-fattening, non-cancerous, and non-threatening. It will provide all supplements required for a healthy and contented life. It will give us great skin and a predictable sex life. Our hormones will be there when we need them. It will be bland as hell, but that’s okay because as per Singularity predictions, we will be able to stimulate the proper neuronal centers in our brain, fooling ourselves into thinking it is delicious. We will think we are eating pineapple cheesecake when in reality we will be ingesting bean curd. (Unless of course the latest reports about the hazards of soy products are correct, in which case it will be whatever the scientists discover is perfect food for us. Believe me, though, it will be bland.)

Why do I care? As long as the future me is beautiful, brain-enhanced, and happy, why should the present me even give this a second of thought? I’ll tell you why. Because I’m not buying it. How’s this going to work? You eat something with barely any flavor and you flip a switch and your brain thinks its Godiva chocolate? Do we program all our favorite flavors into our brain bank and then pick and choose what we want for supper tonight? Can we trust us to be imaginative enough? Won’t we get bored? And whatever happened to developing a taste? Don’t you need the lean years of mac and cheese before you decide to try the oysters and escargot? What if you stay forever in the grape koolaid and Franco American stage, skipping even college grub? What’s going to happen to happening onto something new and wonderful? Like Shrimp and grits.

I just don’t think shrimp and grits can be programmed into the brain pan, even if we have the foresight to do it. It’s not easy to come across such a weird dish. Especially in the cuisine-challenged North of the U.S. I don’t know what it is about the South that they figured out how to eat well. Was it that they clung to their agrarian life-style long after we industrialized ourselves in the north? Is it because they had an honest-to-god aristocracy that could support and develop a honeyed palate? Is there just more love down there? Dunno, but they certainly got it going on, don’t they? There’s a reason why most of the obesity in this country exists in the south. The food is damn good down there.

I wouldn’t have thought to put fish with breakfast cereal. Who would? Well…Chef Bob did. Unashamedly. And he does it with such love. Here in Pennsylvania Dutch country we eat our meat wrapped in things. Usually intestines, but shrimp generally comes wrapped in bacon. I’ve never cared for that, but it is wildly popular around here. Chef Bob doesn’t do that; he’s not silly that way. He fries up his bacon, lovingly crumbles it into the creamiest of grits (this ain’t no Quaker Oats fare here), adds barely cooked vegetables and sticks in some shrimp cooked the way nature wanted shrimp to be cooked: with tons of butter.

This is a dish to die for. I cannot imagine how this could be programmed into a food enhancement software for the mind. I don’t even know how all those simple ingredients come out so incredibly. You can’t just mix ‘em up together and slap ‘em in a bowl. They have to meld together, yet somehow retain their individuality. Their rights as entities. You have to feel the crunch of the bacon, the cream of the grits, the slide of the shrimp. And you need to have the fat dripping down your chin to truly appreciate how good it is.

This is comfort food as haute cuisine. And it is fabulous. I don’t often get lyrical over dinner. I love food, don’t get me wrong, but it has to be over the top great before I’ll blog about it. I can remember every over the top great thing I’ve ever eaten: a ribeye in Venice, a carbonara in Rome, a risotto in Sienna, a caramel thing in Quebec, almost anything in NYC that isn’t part of a franchise restaurant. There might be more, but I doubt it. Chef Bob’s Shrimp and Grits has made the list. And as soon as I get my GPS working I’m going to find my way back The Good Life Café in Lebanon, PA where Chef Bob is cooking up a gumbo that am. Bring your own bib.

This week’s Virtual Book Tour stop is Books and Postage where they’re circulating copies of Tritcheon Hash and We, Robots around the world via mail. They’ll be reading and discussing at this community site. Cool idea.


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