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The New Food

I see from the current columns of the daily press that
"Professor Plumb, of the University of Chicago, has just
invented a highly concentrated form of food. All the
essential nutritive elements are put together in the form
of pellets, each of which contains from one to two hundred
times as much nourishment as an ounce of an ordinary
article of diet. These pellets, diluted with water, will
form all that is necessary to support life. The professor
looks forward confidently to revolutionizing the present
food system."

Now this kind of thing may be all very well in its way,
but it is going to have its drawbacks as well. In the
bright future anticipated by Professor Plumb, we can
easily imagine such incidents as the following:

The smiling family were gathered round the hospitable
board. The table was plenteously laid with a soup-plate
in front of each beaming child, a bucket of hot water
before the radiant mother, and at the head of the board
the Christmas dinner of the happy home, warmly covered
by a thimble and resting on a poker chip. The expectant
whispers of the little ones were hushed as the father,
rising from his chair, lifted the thimble and disclosed
a small pill of concentrated nourishment on the chip
before him. Christmas turkey, cranberry sauce, plum
pudding, mince pie--it was all there, all jammed into
that little pill and only waiting to expand. Then the
father with deep reverence, and a devout eye alternating
between the pill and heaven, lifted his voice in a
benediction.

At this moment there was an agonized cry from the mother.

"Oh, Henry, quick! Baby has snatched the pill!" It was
too true. Dear little Gustavus Adolphus, the golden-haired
baby boy, had grabbed the whole Christmas dinner off the
poker chip and bolted it. Three hundred and fifty pounds
of concentrated nourishment passed down the oesophagus
of the unthinking child.

"Clap him on the back!" cried the distracted mother.
"Give him water!"

The idea was fatal. The water striking the pill caused
it to expand. There was a dull rumbling sound and then,
with an awful bang, Gustavus Adolphus exploded into
fragments!

And when they gathered the little corpse together, the
baby lips were parted in a lingering smile that could
only be worn by a child who had eaten thirteen Christmas
dinners.

Stephen Leacock