What Soylent’s proponents don’t seem to understand is that food cannot be reduced to mere nutrition anymore than all of movement can be reduced to simple exercise, or sex and parenthood to mere reproduction (although in the latter case, the more strenuous socialists have tried!). Mealtime is a place of communion, conviviality, even sensuality. It is where we learn to be human.
Food production teaches us gratitude, because even with all the advances of chemistry and industrial agriculture, we did not invent photosynthesis, or the sun and rain. We know, or ought to know, that living things were made to die for our sake. There is a satisfaction, difficult to articulate, in making one’s own meal that cannot be found in the mere detritus of packaged meals. Yes, preparing food for others can be hard, annoying work. But as Gracy Olmstead points out in her fantastic defense of family mealtime, it is usually more than compensated in an enriched family life and affection. But in the autistic way that Marxists reduce so many human activities to the detested category of labor simpliciter, they also incinerate labors of love.