Lore: Food, Glorious Food.

Chip Lawrie

Lead Game Writer

Staff member
Jun 1, 2017
Terran Defense Corps
Rank: Lore Master (R10)
Service Points: 800813
"Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty-four
All we ever get is gruel
-Food Glorious Food, Oliver Twist

Humans require food to live, this means that food is arguably the most vital commodity in the Union. There are 30 billion humans within the Union that require feeding, the Union Caucus knows that part of preventing society from collapsing under its own weight is the fact that the vast majority of citizens are capable of getting their daily bread. State-run assistance centres provide one meal a day in exchange for basic labour and after a disaster, TDC troopers distribute rations to desperate people, while corporate elites eat the freshest food with the highest quality ingredients. This lore article covers the mechanisms of food and cooking within the Union:

Vat Food
Vat food makes up the majority of all food consumed in the Union is dense nutritious protein- and carbohydrate-rich, fortified with minerals and vitamins. Vat food is entirely vegetarian and is very cheaply produced and can be combined into almost any set of textures, flavours to make a wide variety of meals. Within the Union vat food comes in five basic types, each colour-coded for customer convenience: Yellow which comes as flavourless 'staple' granules, 'flour' or sheets that is often made into bread, rice or noodle substitutes, Blue which comes as soft mildly sweet bars and is often considered a 'sweet snack', Green which comes as mildly spicy balls often crushed over other foods or dissolved in a stock, White which comes as 'seafood' sticks these are often combined and flavoured to produce fish substitutes, and Red which comes as meaty cubes that are often shaped and flavoured to create approximations of meat products. Vat food is also often seeded with nano-machines to further provide health benefits, this is particularly important in the inner colonies where citizens may be lacking in many natural nutrients and immunities.

Most citizens of the Inner Colonies eat mostly vat food mixed with various flavourings with the occasional 'real' ingredient as a special treat and most modern recipes focus more on chemical flavouring mixes than precise cooking instructions (since vat food is incredibly simple to cook). Many households subscribe to a meal service from one of many foodservice companies, of which Avalon's Forefront Meals is the most famous. These meal services provide ready flavoured and shaped vat food in pre-portioned meal trays that the 'cook' simply has to place in the oven for a variable period or pre-sliced 'meat', 'vegetables', and 'bread' for meals on the go. Other companies (and a good many stores) focus on selling flavourings and plain vat food in packets and allowing the customer to adjust flavour and texture. Almost all fast-food restaurants in the Union utilise vat food and proprietary flavourings to provide the lowest cost highest output meals, in fact, one of the reasons Forefront Meals is so popular is that occasionally meal subscribers can obtain Castle Burger meals to cook at home.

Ration Packs and Emergency Rations
The Terran Union contracts several corporations to produce specially formulated 'Multi-Environment Ration Packs, Single Day' these packs that contain on average around 4000 calories are designed for the soldier in the field and disaster relief rations. Consisting of nano-enhanced flavoured vat food each pack consists of two meals and several snacks in a wide variety of 'menus.' Though officially discouraged meal trading is common among both the TDC and merc units with some soldiers even hoarding hot sauces for use with blander menus.

Emergency rations or E-Rats are commonly issued to vehicle crews and found in the escape pods of most ships. Consisting of highly concentrated vat food these bland cubes provide 2000 calories in a square inch of special Orange vat food though the taste and texture have been described by those aircraft crew unlucky enough to have eaten them as jellied vomit.

Fresh Food
Non-vat-grown food, even if canned or otherwise preserved is colloquially referred to as 'fresh' food. Requiring vast amounts of land to produce, fresh food is much more inefficient for feeding the teeming masses of Earth and the Inner Colonies but vast amounts are still transported from the frontier with hundreds of Leviathan and Titan transports arriving in Earth's orbit every day.

On the Inner Colonies where pollution and overcrowding mean farmland is limited fresh food is eaten as a rare treat by most of the lower and middle classes with fresh food consumption increasing relative to social class and income. On the Frontier where there are fewer people and more land fresh food becomes much more common with even the lowest of people eating it semi-regularly. Unlike vat food, fresh food is harder to enhance with nanites until the cooking stage without significantly altering the flavours and textures of the ingredients. This means that fresh food is less versatile than vat food nutritionally which helps fuel its perception as a luxury item on the Inner Colonies.