It's Not People

Soylent Is Not for People: The Soylent Diaries, Day Seven

One foodie's struggle to subsist on Soylent for seven days

By Nicholas L. Hall November 2, 2014

Read the first installment of The Soylent Diaries here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, and the sixth here.

Day Seven

10:27 am

Celebrating my final day with a batch of Soylent pancakes. I added a bit of extra powder to a cup or so of mixed Soylent, to thicken the stuff to a batter consistency, and cooked the pancakes on a lightly buttered griddle. The kids, for whom I had made standard buttermilk pancakes, were clamoring for their own Soylent pancakes. I poured a handful of quarters-sized samples for them. They proved far better than the full-sized model. In miniature, they had a lacy crispness that almost completely offset the powdery texture. Almost. Full sized, they were like a thin crispy shell encasing a chewy/creamy/powdery center with a very odd chew. There's a nice caramelized flavor on the outside (these cook fast, watch them closely and use a thinner batter than you would expect for normal pancakes), and the sweetness and vanilla notes are softened, lending background notes that are almost pleasant. Almost. If I had to do this longer, I'd definitely make the pancakes again, if only for variety and a chance to chew. I'd make sure to pour the batter thinner though.

1:42 pm

The fact that I couldn’t eat anything anyway actually helped temper the annoyance of post-church restaurant selection. Two stops, two closed restaurants. I don’t even care. Finally wound up at House of Pies and my entire family can’t believe I’ve made it this far. They keep apologizing, but they also keep stuffing hash browns in their mouths. My dad figures this would be a great time to pick my brain about cooking. I make a mental note to send him a few Soylent recipes

7:32 pm

I would have guessed that I’d be so very eager for this to be over with. I’m not, though. I’ve…acclimated. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, and I wonder if I’ll have any trouble reintegrating into normal dining. It would be nice to have a glass of wine, though. I wonder how Soylent would be, mixed with a nice structured Syrah. That’s what my wife is drinking, along with the spaghetti Bolognese I made them for dinner. And they were worried about my willingness to cook.

9:15 pm

Work tomorrow starts at 5:15 am (on the day shift turnaround). Otherwise, I’d be bookending this week with those taquitos I wanted so badly that first night. Oddly though, the desire is now more intellectual than physical.

10:22 pm

I just realized that I have two and a half bags of this stuff left. It was supposed to be a one week supply, three meals a day. One bag per day. That means that, over the course of the week, I effectively missed more than one meal per day. Given the fact that the vegan blend of Soylent only clocks in at around 1500 calories, which I figure is already somewhat significantly below my usual per-meal count, this comes as somewhat of a surprise. A significant one, I think.

10:45 pm

As I get ready to turn in, the prospect of actual food not quite the glimmering jewel I’d figured it would be seven days ago, I wish I had some sort of significant thoughts on Soylent. I don’t. It’s just food, after a fashion. That, though. The fact that I don’t have much to say about it. That says something. I can usually find plenty to say about food. I can tell you how it makes me feel, how it tastes, what memories it brings boiling to the surface. At this point, Soylent doesn’t make me feel anything. The taste is so blank as to not warrant the few mentions I’ve already made here. Memories? You don’t form memories around Soylent.

Soylent is for people who can’t be bothered about food, and who put little stock in all of its attendant joys and complications. Soylent is for people for whom, at least some of the time, food is just a means to an end. Fuel. Arguably, we all find ourselves in that position from time to time. Still, for all its benefits of ease, of nutritional certainty, of the ability to disengage somewhat from the complicated act that is eating, Soylent is not for me. If you believe, as I do, that the way in which we eat informs and supports our humanity, then you’ll understand when I say that, in a very real sense, Soylent is not for people.

Addendum: Day Eight

5:35 am

I picked up those taquitos after all. They were glorious. 

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