Eating in your home with your friends and family and eating in space must be different. Eating in space can be a real challenge sometimes. Why? Simply, because of gravity. You can't eat a slice of pizza in space the way you eat in the bedroom while vibing on something.
Otherwise, the food will float off and drift around your spaceship. Not even water or any liquid substance stay in a cup. It will float in the air. So, how do astronauts survive in a situation like this? How do they eat?
After so many years of experiments and research, scientists have come up with a solution. The first space foods were soft foods packaged in tubes similar to toothpaste. At present, astronauts can also have tasty, nutritious, and fancy foods in space. But for this, they have to maintain some caution especially while packaging and eating those foods.
Nowadays chefs use the freeze-drying technique. In this method, food doesn't need to be refrigerated and lasts for a long time. To eat freeze-dried food, astronauts squeeze water into the food packages.
After the food absorbs the water, it's ready to eat. Today we eat dried fruits a lot in our day-to-day life, which is also a good example of freeze-dried food. Drinks also have to be dehydrated (powder form) and also have to be kept in special pouches with straws or nozzles. In that way, astronauts can add water into the pouch and drink it straight through the straw.
Astronauts can now also enjoy restaurant-style gourmet meals and all credit goes to Servair. The European space agency has asked Servair, the French and American leading airline catering, to develop a menu for the astronauts for the upcoming alpha mission which took off on April 22, 2021.
To develop this menu, the Servair team had to follow some strict nutrition rules. For instance, less than 50 grams of salts per serving and no use of alcohol at all. The biggest challenge for them was to develop a gourmet product with the heat treatment and reduced sodium while also offering a menu that tasted good and offered a dense texture suitable for consumption in weightlessness, the team explained.
Servair's chef offered 10 dishes to the astronauts and they chose crunchy and creamy small spelled, melting celery, and Périgord truffle; Beef bourguignon, smoked farm breast, mushrooms, and small glazed onions and Crepes flambéed with Grand Marnier and orange zest, Suzette style.
Sounds quite fancy, right? But we have no idea how hard the chefs had to work to create and package the products.
"For me, it was essential to preserve the flavors of the dishes, whether they were fresh or in sterilised bags," Adamski said. "We work diligently to adjust the seasonings every time until we obtain a product that is very close in taste to its non-space version," he added.
So, if you want to be an astronaut, why not try out some dehydrated foods? How about dehydrated french fries or pizza? It may not taste good, but it will provide you with all of the nutrients you require, just as it does for astronauts.