A cute little froggy sits inside a pot and doesn’t notice as the water boils it. This is the modern web. Owned by billionaires and conglomerates. They will take you in promising to stay ‘open’, ‘free’, and ‘democratic.’ Over time people’s trust in these entities increases and many come to rely on them… only for them to screw people the moment they step out of line.
What you do doesn’t matter. It could be an automated system that gets abused… or perhaps something more insidious like deciding certain political beliefs constitute ‘trolling.’ The provider gets to say what is ‘acceptable.’ And as long as a person shares the same values everything goes okay. But occasionally… Something happens. Then you realize that everything you ‘had’ was just an illusion.
You never had a choice. You never had control over your ‘account’, your ‘data’, or ‘services.’ You were being kept inside a pen. The funny thing is. If the platform ever does anything bad (like loosing all your data which happens all the time) they’ll get a fine and go on their merry way. But you have zero recourse for being screwed over yourself.
Welcome to the ‘free’ web in 2023. Destination: you.
Soylent is a powdered food that promises to keep its adherents alive and give them back all the time they wasted on cooking. It comes in many different flavors and over the years its formulation has evolved to mitigate some of the side effects of consuming such a calorie-rich liquid (namely bloating, gas, and digestive issues.) Among certain circles Soylent has a cult following. I myself have tried some of its early formulations and saw the potential early on. But to me there is no getting around the obvious drawback of Soylent: which is it takes away the joy of eating food.
No matter how many flavors it comes in. One eventually gets tired of drinking it. These meal replacement companies focus on powders, drinks, and bars because they’re easy to scale. But actually using them as a viable way to save time cooking is ah… a little deluded. Reducing life to a chemical composition is a robotic way to say ‘fuck you’ to your humanity. It turns out that living on a chemical sludge is no where near as fun as it sounds. But I think there’s a much better alternative to what Soylent is trying to do and it’s called ready-meals. Mind you, I’m not talking about the ready-meals you get in the freezer isle at the local super market, no. I’m talking about ready-meals that are made by hand with fresh ingredients and haven’t undergone processing for long-term storage (e.g. high sodium, vacuum heating, all that stuff that destroys flavor.)
There are now many companies that offer prepared meals that you can refrigerate for immediate consumption or freeze for long-term storage. And the meals are delicious. Chef-prepared, restaurant-quality dishes that are cheaper and healthier than take-away. It’s still more expensive than buying groceries and cooking. But in exchange you get professionally prepared meals that only need 3 minutes in the microwave to eat. No defrosting. No high sodium. No other bullshit. Fresh ingredients. Does that sound better than drinking a chemical sludge? I think so.
During COVID there were a few enterprising people who started businesses cooking meals in their kitchens and selling it. That’s another approach to the problem. There have been some companies that focus on ‘peer-to-peer’ marketplaces for home cooked meals (I definitely would be a customer.) Though I’m not aware of any popular ones. I’d say if anyone is interested in trying these fresh ready-meals: do some Google research as you will need to find the companies that ship to your state. The meals arrive in cooled boxes, delivered in a refrigerated truck. Again, these meals are specifically not frozen so unless you put them in the freezer they will keep for about a week in the fridge.