What is the "next course" for humankind? A glass of a nutrition drink called "Soylent"? Along with some freeze-dried ice cream like the astronauts eat for dessert? Our Cover Story comes from David Pogue of Yahoo Tech:
Most folks really like food. Trouble is, we can't keep eating the way we're eating if we're going to keep breeding the way we're breeding.
We like meat. But raising the animals we like to eat requires a crazy amount of land, water and energy. And all that meat isn't actually that good for us. Something will have to give.
Maybe we'll eat meat that's grown in a lab. Maybe we'll eat meat made from plants.
And maybe we'll take a cue from Megan Miller, who makes things with flour made from ground-up bugs.
Yes, Miller's company, Bitty, sells cookies made from cricket flour. She believes that the future of protein is bugs.
"People all over Asia, Latin America, Africa already eat insects as part of their everyday diet," she said.
Pogue sampled one of Bitty's Chocolate Cardamom Cookies, made with cricket flour (which, he said. "has a very farm-like, organic scent to it").
Pogue asked, "How much crickets are there actually in one of those cookies?"
"Each one of those cookies probably has 25 crickets in it," Miller replied.
And to supply all those insects, there are now cricket farms.
Crickets have almost as much protein as ground beef, but are much quicker to raise than cattle - they mature in just six weeks -- and they require much less land and water.
As Pogue discovered, cricket-flour recipes taste exactly like regular-flour recipes, once you get past the idea that you're eating bugs.
- Recipes: Cookies baked with Cricket Flour (from Bitty)
Not all food futurists think bugs are the answer. Rob Rhinehart thinks we won't wind up eating anything -- we'll drink our nutrition.
Rhinehart explained his creation, Soylent, "an engineered staple food. It's something that is designed to deliver the maximum nutrition to your body with minimum effort and cost."
And what's in a glass of Soylent? "Everything the body needs," Rhinehart said.
When he was an electrical engineer, Rhinehart resented the time he had to take away from his work to buy food, prepare it, and then clean up after it. So he invented a drink called Soylent: cheap, nutritionally complete, environmentally sound -- and very bland.
"I did a lot of research, and I collected what would really be necessary for the body to be healthy," he said. "And then tried to package it in a form that's as convenient and affordable as possible."