When There’s Time

Have you ever sat around, perhaps with friends, and start wondering what you would do if you could go back in time? I know I have, mostly when sitting in traffic. Of course, the usual things are brought up: watching the pyramids being built, seeing if Jesus was a real person, killing Hitler, and whatever. Or, maybe, going so far back that the Earth had plants, but nothing else and just standing there, looking up into the night sky, the only person on Earth. Unless, of course, a bunch of other time travelers had the same idea and showed up at the same time.

Is time travel possible? Yes. We all move forwards in time. It’s kind of a cheap way of doing it, but it is possible. Although, there is a school of thought that says all of time has already happened, it’s just the way we perceive it that makes it look like it’s happening now, or, for the youngsters, “on demand.”

Back in 2009, Stephen Hawking, arguably the smartest person ever, did an experiment where he had a party for time travelers and then, afterwards, he sent out invitations. Nobody showed up, thus ‘proving’ that backwards time travel wasn’t possible.

As I have said, I am not a scientist. Neither am I particularly smart. It seems to me, though, that nobody thought to ask the obvious question of, “Why would they?” Presumably, people from the future would get their invitation (how?), have already researched the ‘party’ and found out it was a trap. If they weren’t going around telling people in the past they were from the future, why in the world would they show up to a party that would ‘out’ them as people from the future?

Giving it another minute of thought, if I were a time traveler from, say, 2750 and managed to come across this invitation. I would look it up and see that nine years after the party happened and the invitations were sent out, an article was written saying that nobody from the future showed. This would make me think that I should definitely not go, because nobody showed up before. If I showed up, it would mean that I changed the future. And that’s probably against some kind of rule.

Is it possible to go back in time, though? As I understand it (and I am not a scientist), it’s technically possible. Or, at least, there’s no reason for it to not be possible. Doing it is an entirely different thing, though. Nonetheless, it can be an interesting thought experiment.

Would I, then, go back in time and watch the Great Pyramid being built by aliens slave labor? It sounds like a fun thing to do. But, me being me, would start worrying about things. Like, I don’t speak ancient Egyptian. What kind of diseases might I catch that don’t exist now? What if someone lopped my head off for being a sorcerer when I used my lighter? Seems like it could be dangerous.

That’s the type of thing I would worry about, because I can’t even fantasize properly.

But, there is one thing I would most probably do. To understand that, we need to take a side trip. I have lived alone for many years, so I have gotten used to cooking. I like cooking. I don’t like cleaning up after cooking, but the cooking part is fine with me. Sometimes I’m lazy, and I just make the same things over and over until I get bored. When that happens, I start fishing around for new recipes. When I get really bored I go fishing for old recipes. Doing searches for old recipes inevitably leads to finding old menus from famous restaurants in the past. For example, after watching episodes of Night Court, something called “Rumaki” was mentioned a lot. Looking it up, I learned it was an appetizer made of chicken liver, water chestnut, and bacon. It was probably invented at Don The Beachcomber in Palm Springs during the early 1940s. A quick search later and I found a menu for Don The Beachcomber from 1965, where I saw ordering it would cost a whopping $1.40. I don’t know how much Rumaki you would get for that $1.40, though. Adjust for inflation, $1.40 in 1965 would be $12.51, today. Gosh! Perusing further, I found Cantonese Pork for $4.95. King Crab Chun King? $5.50 per person, and only made for two or more people. So, $11.00. $11.00! And, yes, I would argue that I would want it, even if it was just me.

Is there really a difference between ducks?

Going further back, say, Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York in 1917, one could dine on a Saddle of Spring Lamb for $8.00. What’s a saddle of spring lamb? It’s the loin area. If I wanted to buy a saddle of lamb and cook it myself, how much would it be? For 2 pounds, it would be around $60.

A Saddle of Lamb

So, obviously, if I had a time machine I would be going back in time and eating at famous restaurants for cheap. Assuming that it wasn’t too expensive to operate a time machine, it would only make financial sense to stop buying groceries and eat out every night at the most expensive restaurants throughout time.

Not only would you be eating like a king, but you could act like one. Imagine ordering everything on the menu, which would probably cost less than $100. JP Morgan’s eyes would pop out of his head. Provided, of course, you went during a year in which he was still alive.

There would be other advantages, too. For instance, you could find out, definitively, what cut of beef was used for Steak Delmonico. Or what Couronne de ris de veau aux champignons is (you probably don’t want to know).

Even better, maybe you can go back in time and learn how to make such things and then using it here, in the now. Imagine, if you will, going on Hell’s Kitchen. While the other people are making things like turbot with mashed parsnips or braised short ribs, you can tell Chef Ramsey that you’ll be making Couronne de ris de veau aux champignons. The man would explode.

Not only would you get to eat fancy dinners in famous (and probably long gone) restaurants, but you’d be eating food from a time when people didn’t care about health. When they didn’t know the difference between trans fats and saturated fats. Foods cooked in butter, lard, and bacon drippings. Sure, you’d probably die, but it would be a tasty death. And certainly better than being hanged as a witch because you forgot to leave your cell phone in the present.

This leads to the question of money, though. It would look pretty suspicious if you paid for your meal in modern money. You’d have to do something like cash in your 401K and buy gold and gems, bring those back, and then sell it for local time currency. I have no idea what that would do to the timeline, since you would be duplicating things.

If you were wanting to ‘set a trap’ for a time traveler, then, it would make more sense to me to stake out restaurants and look for people that are far too comfortable paying for absurdly high priced meals. If you choose to leap out and accuse very rich people of being time travelers in high end restaurants, please, do record it.


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