By Natalie Serafini, Opinions Editor
Bon appétit; we’re inhaling food now.
Rather than being bogged down by cumbersome calorie-counting and mastication, you can now sip cloud food. Although I’m tantalized by the thought of being able to eat a cheesecake without the calories, this isn’t exactly what foodie dreams are made of.
This gastronomic innovation is a sequel to scientist and Harvard Professor David Edwards’ “Le Whif,” which is an aerosol that sprays particles of dark chocolate, among other foods. He later came up with “Le Whaf,” the newest in glutton-avoidance. Essentially, food is boiled to a liquid, strained, and poured into a vase-like structure. The structure has ultrasound planted in the bottom, allowing it to agitate the food into a cloud. The cloud floats out of the Le Whaf, and the dieters float up to the cloud, little straws clutched in hand.
First world problems much? Oh no, I want to taste all the food, but I don’t want all the calories! I’ll just have to inhale it, getting absolutely no nutrition! Not to sound like a mother attempting to force-feed their children Brussels sprouts, but there are people starving in this world. This food inhalation is an example of badly distributing food that could actually provide sustenance. I’m not saying we should be shipping food off to Third World countries, but perhaps we could do something other than cook up clouds. Hey, there are people going hungry in our country too! Rather than continuing in our obsessive endeavors to be thin, why not consider the people in this world who are endeavoring to stay alive?
A lot of the joy of food is in the texture, not just the flavour it leaves behind. Aroma alone cannot replace the ooey-gooey cheese on pizza, or the crunch of a potato chip, or the smooth density of chocolate ice cream. Of course, eating all these foods does not a healthy person make, so it’s understandable that people go in search of ways to taste the forbidden non-fruit without suffering the consequences. But really. Eat an apple, or eat a piece of cake. If you need help with your eating habits, replacing food with clouds won’t solve anything. If you have a food addiction, maybe this food cloud can function as a sort of nicotine patch. But food clouds most likely won’t help an unhealthy relationship with food, particularly since they foster the sense that you can’t actually eat or indulge. This is a form of food shaming, rather than a healthy alternative to your favourite treats. Don’t go suckin’ up food clouds.
Eating is an interactive experience, not passive inhalation. I’m sure there are foods you eat in a certain way that you wouldn’t consider changing. I wrap my spaghetti around my fork on top of my spoon because I remember struggling with it for years when I was younger till I finally mastered the technique. When I make peanut butter and banana on toast, I always line the banana slices up in perfect little rows on the toast, snugly swathed in a thick layer of peanut butter. Eating isn’t even just the flavour, or the smell, or the texture. It’s the whole process wrapped up in one. As much as this clever new gimmick may be worth a try, I would hate to think of it catching on. What would Sloppy Joe’s be without the sloppy? Or cheesecake without the thousand calories stipulated in the fine print? Eating may be a love-hate relationship for many people, but I think it’s more of a labour of love.
I’ll confess that I’m vaguely hopeful someone will decorate a restaurant in a manner reminiscent of an opium den, and serve cloud food exclusively inhaled through hookahs. That is one experience I wouldn’t want to pass up. Until someone makes this hookah-cloud-food-restaurant a reality, I’ll have to stick with eating my solid food the old fashioned way.