'space food' on Serious Eats

Christmas Dinner on the International Space Station

[Photograph: NASA.gov] What the astronauts eat as they watch Santa make his rounds: Q: Do you take requests from the astronauts? For holidays, or just in general?A: We can. For every month that the crewmember is in orbit they get what's called a bonus container and they can make special requests, if they have a special candy or cracker or cookie they want to take. But our standard menu includes a lot of traditional holiday foods. Smoked turkey, candied yams, green beans, freeze dried cornbread dressing. The Russian side has really good mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. So there are foods available for them to make a holiday menu, and if they know they're going to be in orbit... More

Quote of the Day: M&Ms in Space

"The first thing to know about space food, it is the ambiance, it is the environment, it is not the food. These candies [peanut M&Ms] come in a piece of plastic, we cut them open, and suddenly everyone starts behaving like fish in a fish tank. That is fun food." —John Grusfeld, astronaut... More

A Primer to 'Star Trek' Food and Drink

To Seek Out Strange New Worlds ... and Eat Their Foods Spaceballs ... oh, wait. That was another movie. The J. J. Abrams–helmed Star Trek movie opens tomorrow. As I was reading up on the new installment, I came across this line in the Wikipedia entry: "Another reference to Abrams' previous works is Slusho, which Uhura orders at the bar she meets Kirk at." That reminded me that food and drink is depicted routinely in the Star Trek franchise—across ten movies and six TV shows. There's no doubt—or at least, I hope—that there will be food references in the 11th movie, which will feature Romulans, Vulcans, Orions. As a refresher, I thought I'd take a look at what passes for... More

Just How Gross Is Freeze-Dried Space Food?

The glorified gift shop souvenir of the National Air and Space Museum is fun to buy, but tasty? Today, astronauts can choose among 180 food and beverage items, including beef fajitas, cranapple cobbler, and “Mexican” eggs with beans—quite a step up from the squeeze tubes during the Project Mercury days. And more complex than the gift shop's ice cream sandwich. Food scientists, not chefs or critics, are in charge of NASA’s space meals. Is tastiness prioritized? On some level, it doesn't matter because aromas don’t waft up in space. Chicago Tribune food and wine writer Bill Daley tried a bunch and critiqued them for Discovery magazine. While he was wild about the shrimp cocktail (an astronaut favorite), he wasn't too... More

Ice Cream That's Out of This World

When I was little, my dad used to take me to the Museum of Science in Boston. Much to his chagrin, my favorite exhibit wasn't the Theater of Electricity, or the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, or even the baby chick hatchery. In fact, what I liked best wasn't even an exhibit at all—it was the gift shop, where they sold Astronaut Ice Cream. It's been about twenty years now since I last had something freeze-dried for dessert. So when I stumbled across a website that sold the stuff for $2.50 a pop, I figured, why not?... More

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