For Love of Food: The Case Against Soylent


If you haven’t heard of Soylent, be afraid — very afraid. This nutritionally complete compound has been called “the end of food,” and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, it’s now being mass-produced and sold online. Disturbed by the thought, we asked our team what they’d miss most on a liquid diet. They came back with a more-than-solid case for solid food. Our top picks ahead!

Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas

Fried Chicken

“I’ve got summer on the brain, so that means spicy fried chicken and anything with home-grown tomatoes. Throw in some crunchy, salty snacks and an ice-cold beer — can I have that on my liquid diet?” — Jen LoBue, associate creative director

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 whole fryer chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal
Safflower or canola oil, for frying
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving (optional)

1. In a large bowl, stir together 10 cups ice water and 2 tablespoons coarse salt. Add chicken, submerging all pieces. Cover; let soak overnight in refrigerator.

2. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon each cayenne and black pepper. Transfer chicken to marinade, submerging all pieces. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

3. Let chicken stand at room temperature 1 hour. In a shallow dish, whisk together flour, cornmeal, remaining 1 teaspoon each coarse salt and black pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.

4. Heat a heavy pot filled halfway with oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade, a few pieces at a time (do not shake off excess); dredge in flour mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet.

5. Fry chicken in batches until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into thickest part (avoiding bone) reads 160 degrees, 6 to 7 minutes for small pieces, 9 to 10 minutes for large. Adjust heat to maintain a temperature between 340 degrees and 350 degrees during cooking. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet; season with sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Related: 19 Easy Barbecue Recipes to Make This Season


Swiss Chard with Poached Egg Salad

"The idea of Soylent is insane to me. What kind of life do you lead if you view food as a burden? I could eat this kicked-up Caesar salad every day.” — Lauren Magenta, Web producer

1 clove garlic, minced
4 anchovies, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
6 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard, stems removed
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Cook’s Note
Perfectly Poached: Crack one egg at a time into a teacup or small bowl and gently slide into barely simmering water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Cook until white is just set and yolk still loose, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove eggs from water using a slotted spoon.

1. Combine garlic, anchovies, mustard, and vinegar. Add oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium skillet, bring three inches of water to a simmer. Poach eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Toss chard with vinaigrette and divide among four plates. Top each with a poached egg and Parmesan.

Related: 22 Chicken Dinner Recipes in Less Than 30 Minutes


Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Caramel Sauce

“Having cooked and eaten my way through tons of our recipes, I have to call out the quiche from Living’s recent feature — I sampled more than a few slices when the test kitchen was perfecting it a few months ago! On the sweet side, our apple-pie upside-down cake is unreal, as are these pudding cakes.” — Christina Tobia, project manager

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus more, room temperature, for ramekins
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for ramekins
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Caramel Sauce, for serving
Whipped cream, for serving

Cook’s Note
For the best texture, don’t overbake the cakes. Lightly coating the ramekins with sugar helps the cakes rise as they bake and makes them easy to unmold before serving, if you like.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 6-ounce ramekins, then coat lightly with sugar, tapping out excess. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Microwave until melted, about 1 minute; stir until smooth. (Or melt mixture in a heatproof bowl set over, not in, a pan of simmering water.)

2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, yolks, flour, and salt; add chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Fill each ramekin three-quarters full with batter; place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate 15 minutes.

3. Bake until center of a cake is soft but not wet when pressed, 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve cakes warm, topped with caramel and whipped cream.

Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen


Aussie Burgers

“Categorically, toast is my favorite food — my family planned a five-course toast fest for my birthday — but if this is the end, a loaded burger is how I want to go. On second thought, who wants to back my Toastburger campaign?” — Emma Aubry Roberts, associate digital editor

1 small yellow onion
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80% lean)
4 split plain or sesame-seed buns
4 large eggs, cooked over easy
Ketchup or barbecue sauce
Sliced canned beets
Lettuce leaves

Cook’s Note
Indoor Method: In an oiled grill pan or cast-iron skillet, cook onion over medium-high. Wipe skillet clean; cook burgers in same pan.

1. Heat a grill to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Cut onion into thin rings and season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Form ground beef into 4 patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill 4 minutes per side for medium. Transfer to bottom halves of buns. Top each burger with an egg, grilled onions, your choice of sauce, sliced beets, and lettuce.


Coffee Ice Cream

“The pure joy I get from eating ice cream — specifically, coffee ice cream — could never be replaced. Without it, I fear I’d spiral into madness. I’m being serious.” — Kristine Solomon, executive digital editor

8 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup crushed espresso beans
2 cups heavy cream

1. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in milk.

2. Cook over medium, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard thickens slightly and evenly coats back of spoon (it should hold a line drawn by your finger), 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Stir 1/2 cup crushed espresso beans into custard. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

4. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl set over ice. Stir in cream. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until chilled. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer ice cream to a resealable plastic container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours (or up to 3 months).


Antipasti Sandwich

“Publix subs are the best. With limited access these days, I end up ordering my specialty — a 16-ingredient combo sub — but I’ve been told that the buffalo chicken is the way to go.” — Chanhtha Thach, associate director of syndication and content partnerships

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 red bell pepper
1 loaf crusty bread (about 1 pound), sliced in half lengthwise
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound mortadella, prosciutto, or thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered or sliced
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan (1 ounce)
1/2 cup pepperoncini, drained and halved if large

1. Sprinkle a double layer of paper towels with salt and place zucchini on top. Sprinkle with salt and roll up like a newspaper. Let sit 10 minutes to draw out excess liquid.

2. Over a low gas flame or under the broiler, roast bell pepper until skin is charred, 10 minutes, turning frequently. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit 10 minutes. Rub bell pepper with a paper towel to remove skin, then core, discard seeds, and slice flesh into strips.

3. Pull out about 2 cups bread from inside loaf halves. In a food processor, combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, and oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Completely cover inside of both bread halves with an even layer of bean puree.

4. Arrange zucchini on bottom half of bread. Top with mortadella, parsley, roasted pepper, artichokes, Parmesan, and pepperoncini. Sandwich with top half of bread and wrap tightly in plastic. Place on a baking sheet in refrigerator. Place another baking sheet on top and weight with several heavy cans. Let sit at least 3 hours (or up to overnight). To serve, unwrap and cut into wedges with a serrated knife.


"Love" Dip with Tortilla Chips and Crudites

“Texture is the most satisfying part of food for me. Give me apples, tortilla chips — anything with crunch!” — Jessica Anderson, social media editor

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions (from 3 or 4 scallions), plus more for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup hot-pepper relish or salsa verde
Tortilla chips, for serving
Crudites, such as cucumber, carrots, and jicama, for serving

1. Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high until fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in salt and scallions. Fold in relish; garnish with scallions. Serve with chips and crudites.

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