One inconsistency always bugged me while watching The Jetsons. During some episodes, machines would cook the family a traditional meal instantly, like a steaming, cartoon roast chicken. In others, poor Elroy would just nosh on some peanut-butter-and-jelly pills. Well, which future is it going to be, Hanna-Barbera? Not a single animator challenged the whole flying-cars thing. Will humanity cease to eat normally or not?
It’s a question that Food & Wine posed to some of the greatest food thinkers of our time--along with architects, artists, and designers. But rather than simply asking the question, they sent out white paper plates to serve as a blank canvas for creativity.
The results were every bit as varied as you’d hope. Some entries were pure futurism, like Nathan Myhrvold’s 3-D printed plate. Some entries were sheer parody, like Dave Arnold’s (delicious-looking) fried plate. And some entries just stuck it to the man with gleeful nihilism, like Anthony Bourdain’s “food of the future for the 1%” plate--a giant bug that’s not going down without a fight.
But laughs aside, the undertones here are often quite serious. Following an era of ultimate abundance and globalized food, we’re faced with a deteriorating climate, overfished oceans, and an industrial farming system that’s inflexibly configured for monoculture. In other words, we’d better stock up on edible 3-D printer cartridges, or start getting used to the texture of antenna.