The Future is Now
Ran across these predictions of food and cooking as it was imagined we would be doing them.
Foods in the Year 2000, Professor Marcelin Bethelot, McClures (magazine), 1894
Wheat fields and corn fields are to disappear from the face of the earth, because flour and meal will no longer be grown, but made. Herds of cattle, flocks of sheep, and droves of swine will cease to be bred, because beef and mutton and pork will be manufactured direct from their elements. Fruit and flowers will doubtless continue to be grown as cheap decorative luxuries, but no longer as necessities of food or ornament. There will be in the great air trains of the future no grain or cattle or coal cars, because the fundamental food elements will exist everywhere and require no transportation. Coal will no longer be dug, except perhaps with the object of transforming it into bread or meat. The engines of the great food factories will be driven, not by artificial combustion, but by the underlying heat of the globe.
“How Things Will Be in the Twenty-First Century” Anaconda (Montana) Standard, January 11, 1914
Cooking, perhaps, will not be done at any large scale at home… and cooking will be a much less disgusting process than it is now. We shall not do most of our cooking by such a wasteful and unwholesome method as boiling, whereby the important soluble salts of nearly all food are thrown away. As animal food will have been wholly abandoned before the end of this century, the debris of the kitchen will be much more manageable than at present.
That last bit was plagiarized from an article in a 1907 Chicago Tribune: “How Our Progeny Will Live One Hundred Years Hence” by Baron Russell. Russell missed some, but he had some remarkable flashes, predicting dishwashers, air purifiers, and the various kitchen uses of electricity.
Cooking perhaps will not be done at all on any large scale at home. At any rate it will be a much less disgusting process than it is to-day. In no case will the domestic servant of a hundred years hence be called upon to stand by a roaring fire laid by herself and to be cleaned up by herself when done with in order to cook the family dinner. Every measure of heat will be furnished in electrically fitted receptacles with or without water jackets or steam jackets, and unquestionably all cooking will be done in hermetically closed vessels.
Animal food will have been wholly abandoned before the end of the century, the debris of the kitchen will be much more manageable than at present, and the kitchen sink will cease to be a place of unapproachable loathsomeness. Dishes and utensils will be dropped into an automatic receptacle for cleaning, swirled by clean water delivered with force and charged with nascent oxygen, dried by electric heat, and polished by electric force. And all that has come off the plates will drop through the scullery floor into the destructor beneath to be oxygenated and made away with.
All apartments in city houses will contain an oxygenator, which will furnish purer air than the air of the fresh countryside. And in bedrooms at least there will be a chemical apparatus which will absorb carbon dioxide and at the same time slowly give off a certain amount of oxygen — just enough to raise the oxygenation of the air to the standard of the best country places. Similar appliances will be at work in the streets, so that town air will be just as wholesome, just as tonic and invigorating as country air.
Since the high buildings of the future wil keep out the sunlight, electric light, carrying an all the ray activity of the sunlight and just as capable of fostering life and vegetation, will serve the street. Thus so far as hygiene goes, town life will be on a par with country life.
Of course, I'm still waiting for the flying car I was promised back in 1955.
"Kitchen duty is awarded only to those of manifest excellence..." - The Master, Dogen