A Meal In A Matchbox, 1956

Matchbox-sized meals. The utopian food of the future, as envisioned by British scientists of the 1950s.

"the housewife of the future will never have to worry about dishpan hands if science puts pills and water on the table instead of steak and potatoes."
— Port Angeles Evening News - July 25, 1956

Synthetic food, as tasty and more nourishing than the real thing, yet so compact that a three-course meal goes in a matchbox, has been made in top secrecy by Government scientists....
Matchbox meals can be kept almost indefinitely without deterioration. An example of the matchbox food could be soup, a dish of synthetic stewed steak followed by a sweet in the form of, say, apple puree. There would not be as much as you might be accustomed to see on a well-filled plate, but it would be satisfying to eat, and the flavour would be indistinguishable from the real thing. The soup will probably be in a tablet form. The stewed steak will be a packet of course granules. There will be a teaspoonful or so of white powder which will be the mashed potatoes. Another little packet of powder will contain the apple puree. The only thing to be added to the chemicals will be water.
— Keystone Wire Service, July 17, 1956




Port Angeles Evening News - July 25, 1956

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 29, 2015
Category: Food, 1950s



Comments
Oh, No! GMO...
Hell No GMO...
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/29/15 at 09:37 AM
Not even GMO, it says synthetic. So some remote form of plastic with vitamins and minerals add. It will not biodegrade in your colon for 100 years!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/29/15 at 10:28 AM
Synthetic food? Here's an old recipe from NASA:

Composition of an artificial diet entirely composed of purified chemical compounds

Amino-acids
l-Lysine·HCL 3.58 g
Sodium L-aspartate 6.40 g
l-Leucine 3.83 g
l-Threonine 2.42 g
l-Isoleucine 2.42 g
l-Proline 10.33 g
l-Valine 2.67 g
Glycine 1.67 g
l-Phenylalanine 1.75 g
l-Serine 5.33 g
l-Arginine·HCL 2.58 g
l-Tyrosine ethyl ester·HCL 6.83 g
l-Histidine·HCL·H20 1.58 g
l-Tryptophan 0.75 g
l-Methionine 1.75 g
l-Glutamine 9.07 g
l-Alanine 2.58 g
l-Cysteine ethyl ester·HCL 0.92 g

Water-soluble vitamins
Thiamine.HCL 1.00 mg
d-Biotin 0.83 mg
Riboflavin 1.50 mg
Folic acid 1.67 mg
Pyridoxine.HCL 1.67 mg
Ascorbic acid 62.50 mg
Niacinamide 10.00 mg
Cyanocobalamin 1.67 mg
Inositol 0.83 mg
p-Aminobenzoic acid 416.56 mg
d-Calcium pantothenate 8.33 mg
Choline bitartrate 231.25 mg

Salts
Potassium iodide 0.25 mg
Potassium hydroxide 0.83 g
Manganous acetate 18.30 mg
Magnesium oxide 0.38 g
Zinc benzoate 2.82 mg
Sodium chloride 4.77 g
Cupric acetate 2.50 mg
Ferrous gluconate 0.83 g
Sodium glycerophosphate 1.67 mg
Calcium Chloride·2H2O 2.44 g
Ammonium molybdate·4H2O 5.23 g
Sodium benzoate 1.00 g

Carbohydrates
Glucose 555.0 g
Glucono-δ-lactone 17.2 g

Fats and fat-soluble vitamins
Ethyl linoeate 2.0 g
α-Tocopherol acetate 57.29 mg
Vitamin A 3.64 mg
Menadione 4.58 mg
Vitamin D 0.057 mg

Wouldn't pass muster these days though, No fibre, and missing a few essential micro-nutrients they didn't know about back in the nineteen sixties, But you could live off it for a couple of years with no ill effects.
Posted by Captain DaFt on 08/29/15 at 06:36 PM
The components the body breaks food down to, no waste products. But very boring.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/29/15 at 07:07 PM
Thanks for sharing this Alex, and Captain DaFt for the ingredient list.

I love when science meets journalism (virtually synonymous with fiction).

The 555.0 g of carbohydrates would not fit in a (small) matchbox as shown in the picture. 550 grams is roughly 1.2 pounds (19.2 ounces) of carbs, and most aren't very dense.

Assuming it was pure sugar (a fairly dense form of carbohydrates at 0.92 oz/in³ (1.59 g/cm³) according to Bing, that means that the 550 grams of carbs would take up almost 20 cubic inches, or a rectangular area approximately 2.75" on each side (for those of you stuck in one of the three or so countries in the world that still use the English measurement system, as I am). And that's without the other ingredients.
Posted by Kyle in Pittsburgh on 09/02/15 at 10:52 AM
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