Line Between Sustenance and Happiness Actually Quite Thin

Are we approaching a senior food utopia, where evolving tastes and aging foodies will restore dignity to the elderly diet?

The Chefs there purée roasted, free-range chicken for residents who can’t eat solid food, then mold it into an approximation of the real thing, garnishing the plate with a reduction of balsamic vinegar… In a nation where food has become a cultural currency and the baby-boom generation is turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 people a day, it was only a matter of time before expensive ingredients, elevated cooking techniques and old-fashioned food snobbery hit the nursing home.

Or, actually, is it a refinement of the senior lifestyle dystopia, where, according to their means, some doomed people eat delicious food while others are coaxed into nourishment by apps?

For people with memory loss, waiters may use photographs on tablet computers to help them order and serve food on red plates. People tend to eat more when there’s a strong contrast between the food and plate, some studies show. For people who can’t eat solid foods, a consortium of European countries is investing in 3-D technology that can transform, for example, pineapple purée into something that looks like a pineapple ring on the plate.

“The race is on in senior housing,” explains a character in this short piece of speculative science fiction, published by the New York Times.