Astronauts Are Getting Gourmet Meals In Space This Holiday Season

Space food doesn't have to be so dull.

Generally, the food that astronauts eat in space is freeze-dried or dehydrated and far from something most people on Earth would choose to enjoy for flavor. Given weightless conditions and other safety concerns, many conventional meals wouldn't make sense because they'd fly all over the spacecraft and risk messing up sensitive equipment. This holiday season though, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have been lucky enough to receive safe, special gourmet meals prepared by world-renowned chefs.

London-based chef Heston Blumenthal prepared meals for British astronaut Tim Peake, currently on the ISS, that included Christmas puddling, Thai chicken curry, Alaskan salmon, and a roast. The idea was to give Peake a reminder of life back at home while he's on his 6-month stint in space. Blumenthal is already known for incorporating science into his cooking, and in this challenge was faced with creating both delicious and gravity-defying food.

"I felt a surge of pride to be involved in such a historic moment for both astronomy and gastronomy. Imagine telling a young boy that when he grows up he will create food for astronauts to eat in space – it's a dream I couldn't even envisage, let alone it coming true!" he told The Guardian.

French Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse pointed to these special meals as "a way for astronauts to keep touch with Earth," and also adjusted dishes of his to be safe for space consumption. They included variations on roasted quail, scallops, and Caponata, a kind of ratatouille.

So if you're feeling hungry just reading this, maybe it's time for you to become an astronaut. When food is this good on the ISS, imagine what the meals will be like on a journey to Mars. Then again, you could always just fly to Europe and try these meals on land. That's a little closer than space, apparently.

Cover image: Wikimedia