Does anyone remember the Jetson’s cartoon and “food pills”? They came in all sorts of flavors, satisfied biological functional needs and seemed enjoyable to consume? Personally, I don’t envision food pills in our futuristic society, but it’s an interesting concept. Are food pills in the future because they are convenient? Will they be well accepted? or is it because food pills are safer to consume?
Deadly food allergies are increasing, more people are sensitive to gluten,there are deadly new pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 and natural plant materials can be toxic. Realistically, one could make an argument that food pills could provide a safer food supply for our society. In contrast, one could argue that the food “experience” is an important part of human socialization and general societal happiness.
A spice that one can argue is essential to the food “experience” is Nutmeg. Traditionally, this spice is used in holiday recipes, root beer, ketchup spice, creamy sauces, and as a masking agent (used to hide off flavors). I can’t image a custard, pumpkin pie, cream sauce or egg nog without nutmeg. Nutmeg is derived from the seed of trees in genus Myristica. These trees are found in India and Indonesia.
Nutmeg as a powdered spice is superior to the essential oil which is steam distilled from the less visually appealing nutmeg pieces. Nutmeg oil consists of d-myrcene, camphene, elemicin, pinene, dipentene, p-cymene, d-linalool, terpineol, geraniol, safrol, eugenol, isoeugenol, myristicin and other minor components. Eugenol and isoeugenol contribute to Nutmeg’s sweet, creamy spiciness and these aromatics are also found in bay, cinnamon and clove. Myristicin is the hallucinogenic agent in Nutmeg. In fact, because of the of myristicin, Nutmeg has been implicated as toxic drug. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=E88175E0-BDB5-82F8-F86A8ABCB1061C7C.
Nutmeg is natural and it can be toxic? Maybe that is why our “futuristic” society eats food pills and not food. Because of the passion many of us have for nutmeg, we can continue to justify its use in food using the Paracelus’s principle of toxicity, “The dose makes the poison”. We only need a little bit to add flavor to our food.