“Cooking for the New Mars” began as a thought experiment. I started out as a technical illustrator for a well-respected food scientist. As I worked to illustrate and chart the many different concepts and data runs from his research over the years, I read everything. Food science was WAY cooler than I ever had expected it could be. The things we can do to make food better, the ways we can make it safer and the ways we can goose the natural world to produce superfoods provide a stunning array of possibilities.
One of the things that stuck with me during our conversations about food was a conversation he had as a consultant for NASA back when the idea of a Mars-shot was still new and fresh.
“Gentlemen,” he reportedly said, “Gentlemen, I can guarantee you foods that will survive the long trip to Mars. I can also guarantee you that your Astronauts would rather starve than eat it.”
I have since moved on to other careers, but I still keep an ear on the goings-on in the food industry, particularly where MREs and other long-storage, prepackaged foods are concerned. While there is a lot of visible research going on about food in SPACE, there is not as much visible research going on about how we handle food and food preparation once we LAND somewhere. Eating when you travel always sucks. I don’t care if you are taking your 100th turn around the planet on the center deck of the ISS or are trapped in the back seat of the family minivan on a road-trip to go visit your Aunt Ida, something happens to the body, to the way you taste and smell while in transit from point A to point B.
But when you get there, when you arrive on Mars or Europa or Aunt Ida’s beet farm in the great Northwest, that falls away. You are once again able to enjoy food as a process, as an experience, rather than as a simple fuel.
Cooking for the New Mars will be waiting for you when you land.
Contact the author at: MartianBlu at cookingforthenewmars dot com for media copies