Having read through this discussion, here are the basic threads I sort of pulled from it. Summarized as:
1. There is probably a combination of real and synthesized food on the Enterprise
. Picard's ship has a galley (Complete with a Whoopi Goldberg!), so we can make the general assumption that Kirk has one too. But, thanks to Charlie X
, we know they synthesize turkey.
2. For some strange, unknowable reason
, dilithium is impossible
to replicate. Whether this be the instability of the nucleus or because Kirk said so, you just can't make dilithium.
3. The food replicator may or may not have the ability to replicate things other than food. We see this in the manufacture of flintlocks on short notice, since it is unlikely that the Enterprise
carried 18th century weapons on board.
4. Fascinatingly enough, nobody ever addressed the question of using the transporter
to replicate stuff. Obviously, cloning is possible, albeit with amusing results, so what's so wrong with using it to convert one object into another?