Pratos, 1970

Meal in a Pill On sci-fi’s staple diet.

Meal in a Pill On sci-fi’s staple diet.

  • Words Allyssia Alleyne
  • Photograph German Lorca, <I>Pratos</i>

In 1893, the American suffragette and populist Mary E. Lease imagined a world without food. Writing for the American Press Association ahead of the World’s Fair in Chicago, she described her utopian vision for the year 1993, where a single plant-based pill could feed a person for days: “And thus the problems of cooks and cooking will be solved.” The “problem,” as she saw it, wasn’t food, but obligatory, time-consuming work. At a time when women were responsible for feeding the household, the meal replacement pill must have seemed a sensible solution to the shackles of domesticity, freeing women to stake their claim to the male-dominated public sphere.

But it wasn’t only women who were set to benefit: Lease positioned the pill as a feature of an enlightened society where ...

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