I’ve always had a problem with the food replicators in Star Trek. I don’t understand how something can be made from nothing. Is it a hologram? Are you eating refracted beams of light? How does that sustain a lifeform? It doesn’t make sense. Maybe if there were entire planets dedicated to the production of, say, a nutrient-rich algae that could be made to look and taste like anything in the universe and all the replicator does is beam up an appropriately-sized chunk of moss and apply a portable holodeck image to it along with some sort of space drug that fools your taste receptors into thinking it’s truly a medium-rare earth cow steak .. but that’s just silly and complicated. So how is it done? What are they actually eating?
I’m much more of a realist. Yes, it’d be nice to feed the planet with instant food producers that can make anything imaginable, but that’s pure science fiction and at the very least, several centuries ahead of our time. I’d settle for something still futuristic, but a little more based in reality: a food filter.
In my head, a food filter is like a colander. It works by scanning the item(s) within the main chamber, and displays the contents on a touch screen. You can select one or more things on the list, and the filter will work to separate those items from the rest of the food. Example: a delicious batch of granola that has been tainted by horrible raisins. It is sticky and time consuming to pick the offending raisins out of the granola, but eating them is like eating garbage. What to do? Dump your bowl into the Food Filter™, select raisins on the screen, and voila! Your food is separated into the delicious and the awful, which you can then feed to someone you don’t like! Picky child? Filter the offensive food of the week right out of their meal! I’m eating a delicious yogurt with a granola mix-in, except some idiot assumed I wanted white chocolate chips with my breakfast. Wrong! I spent 15 minutes picking them out of my yogurt like a petulant three year old, but if I had a handy Food Filter™, I could have easily sorted the chips out and eaten my newly adult-breakfast-worthy yogurt without a care in the world. So simple!
I fully accept that we are nowhere near food replicators, if they’re even possible (Elon, get on that). However, we have scanners. We have colanders. We have a planet full of people with weird tastes. Let’s filter out all those things we hate, and get back to enjoying our food again!
I’d blame New York for making me weird, but let’s face it – I got to weird decades ago.