Bet you didn't wake up this morning to a nice transdermal breakfast patch of assorted cereals which allows the nutrients to be absorbed through the pores of your skin while you read the paper. Bet you didn't finish with an intravenous energy drip of synthetic glucose and energy-boosted fructose.

Bet you didn't wake up this morning to a nice transdermal breakfast patch of assorted cereals which allows the nutrients to be absorbed through the pores of your skin while you read the paper. Bet you didn't finish with an intravenous energy drip of synthetic glucose and energy-boosted fructose.

What happened to all those predictions for the year 2000? Wasn't this was the year we were all going to be spending our pocket money at Imperial Russian zakuski lounges, or hanging about at streetside noodle stalls? I seem to recall half of us were going to be socking down saketinis and guarana-and-tonics at virtual bars. The other half were going to be sitting in conveyor belt cafés feasting on wheatgrass juice and health-giving aquatic cryptogam (eg seaweed) salads.

We were supposed to have ancient grains coming out of our ears by now - fregola, couscous, quinoa, farro. This was going to be the year that Greek food went beyond souvlaki (what's wrong with souvlaki?), and the hearty robust cuisines of Sardinia and Corsica were going to push Provence and Tuscany off the face of the global menu.

The more radical prophecies maintained that automatic food vending precincts would soon replace supermarkets and fresh food stores. That a more mobile population would see traditional meal patterns break down completely. That kitchens would be replaced by heat'n'serve stations - just feed in your imprint and it automatically tracks through your personal record, making note of your food preferences, physical requirements, age and nutritional needs.

Then there were the soothsayers who told us that if we wanted to see a chicken, a cow or a sheep we'd have to go to a zoo, or a museum. In one memorable report, it was claimed that the world would turn vegetarian in 2050 soon after Daisy The Cow, with the aid of a human voice/brain implant or something, presented her case to the international authorities. She was so cute, meat-eating became unthinkable. Besides, what with worldwide food scares and shortages, government taxes on meat consumption and the rise of East-meets-West philosophies and religions, animals will supposedly be as cared-for and as idolised as cars were in the previous century.

Another view proposed that genetic farming would probably save the major fish species, but they would be modified for easy harvesting and handling, and injected with seaweed vaccine to impart a realistic "wild" taste.

Oh joy of joys, nobody will be ill in the future, either, because of the swing to nutraceutical foods, nutritionally altered to combat various viroids. You will even be able to have meals specifically designed for your state of health - low on uric acid for him, high on calcium for her.

Some foods will employ an anti-obesity agent that blocks the absorption of ingested fat. Others will contain mind-altering substances to make the diner mildly euphoric, rather like the satisfaction that used to be gained from eating an excellent, home-cooked meal.

There will, of course, be a huge global swing to organic food grown off-planet, due to the level of soil degradation, salinity, environmental pollution and over-crowding on earth. As always, such foods will be expensive and elitist, with the plebs having to buy a compact particle neutraliser to reduce any toxic or hormonal side-effects from earthbound crops.

I too have seen what is coming. There has been no delivery to my home today of a heat'n'serve cassoulet. I have no microwave molecule-reshaper oven in my car, and no computerised cooking facilities in my kitchen. All I have is a few double lamb chops in the refrigerator, peas in the freezer, and potatoes in the pantry. I don't have any wheatgrass juice, but I do have a nice bottle of red.

I predict that in the very near future, I am going to have to get off my bum and do something about dinner. So what else is new?

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