Last month, members of an Illinois family made a titillating discovery while renovating their home: a bag of perfectly preserved McDonald’s fries from over half a century ago, stashed carefully in a wall. NBC News reports that the fries had been sitting for more than 60 years when Rob and Grace Jones opened up the wall to replace a toilet paper holder. Grace told NBC News that the experience was “unreal,” prompting the family to research the history of their neighborhood and speculate about the origins of the fries. The bag was likely either bricked up by builders or left behind as a time capsule of sorts. The latter possibility is unlikely, but it does beg the question: what’s stopping you from putting together a food time capsule for your future self?
The world of food changes at a breakneck pace, which is both good and bad. Last fall, The Takeout team heard from SquarEat, a startup promising to cram a day’s worth of nutrition into a series of small, vomit-colored meal squares. SquarEat billed itself as the meal plan of the future, designed to fit seamlessly into our hyper-efficient hustle culture. While SquarEat may be the most meme-able operation of its kind, the startup isn’t alone in its dystopian approach to gastronomy. Companies like Soylent and Huel also stake their profit margins on a brave new (read: streamlined) culinary world.
My point is that food could look a lot different 15, 30, or 60 years from now. Your beloved Fruit Gushers might stick around—or they could be replaced with flesh-toned magnesium pods meant to be swallowed in secret during a 32-hour shift at the radon factory. Creating a little food time capsule and stashing it away in your home or backyard might be your only hope to inject some color into a very grim, very beige future. On a less jaded note, it’ll be fun!
Yes, you can shove a moldy sandwich into a plastic bottle and bury it in your backyard—but that doesn’t mean you should. There are plenty of ways to put together a nonperishable food time capsule, and none of them involve stashing french fries in a bathroom wall. A few ideas for time capsule contents:
- A grocery list, including prices
- A list of your favorite foods or restaurants
- A label from your favorite wine or beer
- Your favorite individually packaged snack or candy (perhaps with a note advising the capsule opener to taste with caution)
You also don’t have to bury your time capsule in the backyard. You can stash it in the back of your closet or give it to a younger family member with strict instructions to leave it sealed. You can open it in a year or let it sit until you’re old, grey, and hungry. However you configure your capsule, it’s sure to bring a smile (or a disgusted grimace) to someone’s face.