As a side note… I am really annoyed by one thing about Star Trek.
“Replicated food is not as good as real food.”
That’s ridiculous. In Star Trek, replicator technology is part of the same tech tree as transporters. Replicated food would be identical to the food it was based on, down to the subatomic level.
Proposal for a Watsonian explanation:
In a blind taste test, nobody, but nobody, can tell the actual difference between replicated food and “real” food. (Think back to our youth and the New Coke vs. Pepsi taste tests, only worse.) BUT, humans being What We Are, the human Starfleet members insist that “real” food is better than replicated food for reasons including, but certainly not limited to:
1. Hipsters have survived even into the 24th century. “No, you just can’t make good curry from a replicator! You gotta toast the spices yourself right before you cook it or it’s not the same, maaaaaan”
2. All military and para-military members everywhere always grouse and bitch about the food and sigh over What We Get Back Home. It could literally be the same replicator recipe you use at home when someone has to work late or just doesn’t feel like making the effort to cook, but people are people everywhere so they’re going to complain about it.
3. Humans tend to think we’re smarter than we actually are and we can totally tell when something is going on; as a result, human crew members insist they can “taste the difference” because their minds are making shit up, as our brains do.
4. One could presume that, generally speaking, a replicator recipe programmed into a starship or base replicator database would come out the same every time. This is perhaps the 24th century equivalent of mass catering. (I won’t try to account for the nuances of replicator tech that might allow for variances, and leave aside for the moment the fact that some people probably tinker with the standard “recipes” to suit their own taste.) The single thing that would be different in this case about “real” food is the variation, since of course the “real” dish will have slight variances every time due to the whims of the cook, the oven temperature fluctuation, freshness of ingredients, etc.. And since we are an easily bored species who really, really hates boredom, I bet people would jump all over that to lament the lack of “real” food when they’re out exploring strange new worlds and new civilizations and whatnot. (This is the only reason I can think of that might hold up to scrutiny.)
The Vulcans in Starfleet (and Data), of course, remain baffled by this human insistence that “replicator food isn’t as good as ‘real’ food”, as it defies all known forms of logic.
Hmm. This is a fair point. It occurs to me that I once met a Texan who commented that the chili in a restaurant I worked at was not as good as what they made in Texas, and when I pointed out that the cook was a Texan and the chili was his personal recipe, for which he had won awards in Texas, just said “Doesn’t matter. Wasn’t made in Texas.”
I gotta be honest, Replicator technology is one of the things I am SUPREMELY jealous of, and I’m… okay, I’m not a great cook, but I can cook and there are several dishes I do very well. I think if I had access to the technology I would cook a lot less, though, and I would for sure use replicated ingredients.
1. It is not just hipsters that act like this about food. All the grandmothers I know feel this way too, and I don’t see that ever changing.
The missing ingredient is love, obviously. You can’t get that from a replicator.
Right, for that you need the holodeck.