As in early Terragen history and prehistory, food is the common source of materials and energy to support the body for humanity and many of its descendants. The ritual, recreational, and practical ingestion of biomatter continues through much of Terragen space.
This is not to say that the nature of food is unchanged in posthuman times. Food has expanded to cover materials far beyond baseline, historical human comestibles. There are clades that subsist quite happily on organic-rich dirt, others that are filter-feeders garnering their nutrition quite literally 'on the fly', and still others whose approach to eating is better described as fuelling their biologics.
There are some large, common areas of food legends, however, shared amongst many of those who've chosen or been chosen to eat. These include, but certainly aren't limited to:
- The belief that you 'are what you eat'. This is sometimes quite literally true, but rather more rare than the saying would have it.
- The belief that specific food type or types are optimal for a given being or polity. For example, the zinfal-herders have taken this to an extreme, proselytizing religious form, stating only zinfal-produce is fit for sophont ingestion. This is the prime reason that zinfal-herders are not allowed off of their habitats.
- Physical disgust at other sophont's choices of ingestion. (You eat what?(Gag)). There are few beings which could be considered truly omnivorous, given the large scope of foodstuffs offered.
- Artificial Meat Production - Text by Steve Bowers
Food production takes many forms.
- Autovory - Text by John B
Eating (a clone of) oneself; a bizarre but not unknown practise. For the rich pervert, there is always the option to clone oneself, insert a self-awareness emotion-broadcast module, surgically paralyse the clone, and have a feast. Disgusting, it is true, but the height of fashion in a couple of the clades and phyles, and it comes into style along with other such shock-fads every so often in parts of the NoCoZo and other less regulated zones.
- Bacca - Text by Anders Sandberg
Family of crops derived from the tobacco plant through gengineering during the interplanetary era and later. Designed for use in space hydroponics, different strains produce livestock feed, vegetables, drugs and decorative flowers. Especially common is Qianxuesen, a bacca vegetable eaten by terragen bionts boiled or mashed.
- Biotics - Text by Anders Sandberg
Biotic drugs consist of genetically modified living plants or animals that are consumed to provide the effect of pharmaceuticals.
- Bombard Fruit - Text by Thorbjørn Steen
A citrus-derived fruit that is seedless and lacks a peel.
- Centurion Chili Cookoff - Text by John B
A prestigious competition between culinary institutes at New Daffy to produce 'the best chili available'.
- Chef - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
One who prepares foodstuffs for other sophont beings (usually bionts but in some cases vecs).
- Cimri - Text by Anders Sandberg
Kitchen MRI tool, used to check temperature, texture and juiciness of food by nuclear magnetic resonance.
- Corporate Cannibalism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, amended by Steve Bowers
Popular fast-food genre - late Re-Evaluation Period to recent.
- Cybernetic Livestock - Text by Steve Bowers
Robocows & so on
- Deliplants - Text by Stephen Inniss
Deliplants are splice or neogen plants designed to provide equivalents to the animal products once consumed by human baselines on Old Earth: not only meat, but also other products such as eggs, milk, blood or cheese.
- Edible Table - Text by John B
The Edible Table appeals to those who do not wish to spend too much money or attention on food. It regrows rapidly to a preset size if provided with a mild electrical current, water, and nutriments (which it can filter out of other matter, fecal waste in particular). Comes in many flavors, but it is recommended that the purchaser also augment their teeth and jaws, as the material is quite stiff.
- Endurasoy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev after original by Kevin Self
Interplanetary age gengineered edible grain. A genetic blend of baseline soy and Cis-Lunar neogen plants, endurasoy is high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, and resistant to almost all known diseases and pests. Although its robustness makes it indispensable as a high yield plant, it can disrupt ecosystems on low and medium tech biospheres if not kept in check.
- Filigliders - Text by Peter Kisner
Small, about 5-8 cm long organisms with a nervous system only slightly above that of a flatworm. In appearance they vaguely resemble moths or humming birds, with a slightly elongated neck and a 1.2 cm bulb of various primary colors where a head would be.
- Flera - Text by Michael Walton
A genetically engineered plant derived from lettuce.
- Fogfo - Text by Anders Sandberg
Aerosol interactive food, developed at Regina in 360 by belter cooks at Hamblin Comemptives habitat.
- Food Production - Text by Anders Sandberg
There are many ways of making food: hunting/gathering from the environment, traditional farming and animal rearing, industrialized farming, meat factories, culturing plants hydroponically, vat grown meats, artificial meats based on yeast, algae or bacteria, as well as food built directly by matter compilers.
- Googlider - Text by Xaonon
Type of filiglider that carries biogoo, especially blue goo and is larger than a standard filiglider so that it can handle a photosynthetic waste recycler system.
- Infestation - Text by John B
Also known as N-Fest, Fest, Enfa, etc., this meal takes many forms. The most common is a nearly tasteless 2x5x8 cm brick of putty-like material of a pastel brown, green, or gray. The putty is a 'smart substance' which activates on contact with various digestive enzymes to form 0.1 - 0.5 cm (depending on catalog number of Infestation being ingested) worm-like structures. These structures burrow through the body causing pain, swelling, and discomfort as would parasites of a particular species. Most forms of Infestation deactivate often leaving the body after a predetermined period of time.
- Interactive Food - Text by Anders Sandberg
Food composed of smart materials or nanotech components enabling complex behavior patterns, texture shifts and taste modulation.
- Lagrange Snow - Text by Anders Sandberg
Traditional Sol System dessert/confection, invented by the early space colonists. It consists of cream (bovine or from soy) and egg whites whipped together with flavoring and then exposed to a minute of vacuum and sunlight. The vacuum causes air bubbles to expand, while the ultraviolet radiation denatures the protein into an elastic matrix. The result is an ultra-light, foamy dessert usually served immediately with fruits. Due to its instability it cannot be stored.
- Maxcap - Text by John B
Genetically enhanced capsicum plant. Hotter than hot to any Terragen mammal, since for mammals capsaicin is a powerful irritant. Actually a kind of weapons-grade spice. Some mammal-derived bioborgs especially like it as a good way to wring out the max in their sensory aids (and also sensory blockers, for that matter).
- Meatshrooms - Text by Stephen Inniss
Gengineered mushrooms, with fruiting bodies that have the taste, texture, and nutritional qualities of animal flesh.
- Milk Tap - Text by Tony Jones
also known as the microdairy
- Mushrooms - Text by Stephen Inniss
The large fleshy fruiting body produced by some varieties of Terragen fungi.
- Rustshitter - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
In Fastman argot, a fortunate person.
- Safeshrooms - Text by Stephen Inniss
Genetically engineered mushrooms, intended to prevent alcohol abuse.
- Sapient Food - Text by Espen Antonsen
Food in any shape or form that can feel pain, have the ability to solve problems and think. Banned throughout much of the terragen sphere except for some barbarous regions.
- Sentient Fruit - Text by Anders Sandberg
One of the more disturbing pleasures developed by biotechnology is sentient fruit. Sentient fruits are traditional fruits gengineered to contain a neural net making them able to sense touch and pain. Using a simple biotech neural interface the experience of the fruit can be experienced by the eater.
- Slide - Text by John B
Utterly tasteless and transparent foodstuff. It also has effectively no coefficient of friction, and may be infused with most any flavor. Favored as a texture by several clades, and sold in sealed single-swallow capsules, it's often held in the mouth until the taste overwhelms the taste buds then swallowed. Also very useful in sabotage.
- SweetBark - Text by Todd Drashner
Originally an edible bark from the Chegech tree from the planet Trees. Highly prized as one of the relatively rare species of Garden World plant or animal that are naturally edible to Terragens, without re-engineering. Although easily nanocompiled, the certified natural version, harvested in limited quantities from Trees itself is both highly prized and highly priced. Only the very wealthiest can afford to purchase it.
- UltiFood Competition - Text by John B
A competitive judging of various 'ultimate' foods on a plethora of criteria.
- Watermelons - Text by John Edds
A popular and diverse gengineered food plant.
- Wer-water - Text by Todd Drashner
Colloquial term (originally a brand name) for a class of programmable drinks
Text by John B
Initially published on 15 October 2003.