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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Artificial Food  
  Food produced without soil, chemically.  

And the chemists' triumphs of synthesis, which could now give us an entirely artificial food, remain largely in abeyance because it is so much more pleasant and interesting to eat natural produce and to grow such things upon the soil.
From The World Set Free, by H.G. Wells.
Published by Not Known in 1914
Additional resources -

Compare to the compact food pastilles from The Senator's Daughter (1879) by Edward Page Mitchell (another form of chemical food).

Compare to synthetic food from Unto us a Child is Born (1933) by David H. Keller, syntho-steak from Farmer in the Sky (1950) by Robert Heinlein, vat meat from The End of the Line (1951) by James Schmitz, Chicken Little from The Space Merchants (1952) by Frederik Pohl and CM Kornbluth, animal tissue culture vat from Uller Uprising (1952) by H. Beam Piper, carniculture plants (factories) from Four-Day Planet (1961) by H. Beam Piper, butcher plant from Time is the Simplest Thing (1961) by Clifford Simak, pseudoflesh from Whipping Star (1969) by Frank Herbert, vat-grown meat from Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson and ChickieNobs from Oryx and Crake (2003) by Margaret Atwood.

Thanks to Trent Waddington (@QuantumG for suggesting this item and supplying a quote.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The World Set Free
  More Ideas and Technology by H.G. Wells
  Tech news articles related to The World Set Free
  Tech news articles related to works by H.G. Wells

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