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New York Times

It’s dinner time at the space station. Lobster or beef bourguignon?

French astronauts who have recently left Earth do not leave French cuisine behind. Here are some of the foods French astronaut Thomas Pesque enjoys during his six-month orbital stay, which was launched on the SpaceX rocket at the International Space Station on Friday. Lobster, beef burgundy, black rice cod, potato cake with wild mushrooms and caramel pear almond tart. “There are many expectations when sending French people to space,” Pesche said at a press conference of the European Space Agency last month. “I’m a terrible cook myself, but it’s okay if people do it for me.” Signed up for a morning newsletter from Cooking at the New York Times Space and first space in 1961. Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin has come a long way since squeezing pure beef and chocolate sauce out of a toothpaste-like tube. None of the food of John Glenn, who became the first American in orbit 10 months later, was delicious. He swallowed applesauce. Today, astronauts share their culinary creations, and space agencies around the world should be able to enjoy quality meals, at least sometimes, while life in space is busy. Indicates that As a result, Pesche and his crew at the station will eat with dishes prepared by three separate French culinary institutions. “Obviously, all my colleagues expect good food,” he said. Chef Alain Ducasse, who runs famous restaurants around the world, including Benoit in New York, has worked with the French space agency for many years to create menu items available to astronauts on board the space station. I did. In addition, another Michelin-starred chef, Thierry Marx, and Rafael Howmont, a professor of physics and chemistry at the University of Paris Sacre, specialize in cooking for Pesche. The two run the University’s Center for French Cuisine Innovation and cooked several meals for their first trip to the Pesque space station in 2016. (Peske and Marx happened to meet at a judo conference a few years ago. Both are black belts.) Pesche, a former Air France pilot, also has Servair, a catering company for Air France and other airlines. , Asked him to devise some dishes for him. “I’ve enjoyed their food for a long time,” he said. Pesche does not eat lobster and beef bourguignon every day. These meticulously prepared dishes are intended to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and are sufficient for Pesche to share. But even the everyday space food NASA has recently served to astronauts is “quite great,” said Shane Kimbro, NASA astronaut commander of the SpaceX mission on Friday. Ryan Daudi, who has just left NASA after managing food on the space station for over two years, said there are about 200 items on the menu to avoid monotony. “There is no grocery store,” he said. “DoorDash can’t do anything. You have to do it with what’s there.” He advertises the pulled beef brisket, macaroni and cheese as particularly delicious. “We need to remind people of the experience of eating food on earth,” he said. “It reminds them of all those good things in this truly stressful space flight environment.” Space food cannot be exactly the same as Earth food. Many are lyophilized by extracting water to reduce size and volume. Other foods are heated to high temperatures to kill bacteria, sit at room temperature, seal in cans or plastic bags, and eat for several years before eating. Space food must not be fragile and must not collapse into small pieces that can be sucked or floated by sensitive equipment. Astronauts inject water into plastic bags to hydrate dry food. Forced air convection ovens heat other dishes. For the health of astronauts, foods are usually low in sodium, sugar and fat. “They are high-performance athletes,” Marx said. Alcohol is also banned — a special challenge for French cuisine that admires wine. Marx did not exclude wine from the mushroom sauce that accompanies the slowly cooked beef and vegetable entree. However, after that, the alcohol was extracted with a spinning evaporator without removing the flavor. Next, it was confirmed that the source was alcohol-free via a nuclear magnetic resonance apparatus. Flavors must also withstand a sterilization process that food scientists call heat stabilization. This usually means heating the food to 140 degrees Celsius and 285 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. “Can you imagine cakes, chicken, etc. on Earth?” He said. “Cooking at 140 for more than an hour destroyed the structure, so we had to recreate the cooking technique.” But instead of frustration, Howmont described the process as “exciting”. We play with spices and ingredients that are not traditionally found in French cuisine, such as seaweed. “There is such a small trick to create umami that reveals a particular taste,” he said. Marx’s dishes were hand-assembled into cans to provide a visual flare for fine dining. Servair’s corporate chef François Adamski also had to try his recipe. Risotto-like dishes use ancient wheat grains, einkorn wheat, instead of rice to add a crispy texture and thicken the sauce to prevent water droplets from floating. The history of the French chef cooking for French astronauts is that French astronaut Jean-Pierre Heinere has returned from a visit to the Russian Mir space station and everything in the universe is fine except for food. It goes back to 1993 when I said that. Richard Filippi, a chef and culinary instructor in southwestern France, heard Heinele’s complaint on the radio and offered assistance to the French National Space Research Center (equivalent to NASA in France). Philippi and his students then cooked beef dove, quail, tuna, lemon confit, and other foods that accompanied French astronauts on subsequent missions to Mir in the 1990s. When the French space agency tried to resume the program of the International Space Station in 2004, Philippi retired and proposed Ducas. Ducasse’s first dish for distributors was eaten in space in 2007. Ducasse’s team has devised more than 40 recipes for astronauts, including flour-free gluten-free chocolate cakes and vegetarian options such as carrot craft with smoked paprika. Quinoa cooked with saffron soup and vegetables. Jerome Watercress Nier, chef director of Ducas’s consulting firm, which manufactures space food, said: That’s despite having to cook longer and hotter than accepted at Ducasse restaurants on the planet. Despite the best efforts of chefs and scientists, some things go wrong. “Initially, we were trying to make a croissant,” said Alain Milet, a French space agency scientist working with a Ducas cook. The result was terrible, he said. “It wasn’t working at all,” Maillet said. “We couldn’t put the croissants in a can for heat stabilization.” NASA continues to add to the space menu. Probably suitable for a rocket engineer’s agency, the process of making food is recorded as a specification, not as a recipe. Food is produced hundreds of pounds at a time and must be manufactured the same way each time. “Like other rocket engines and spacesuits, our food is government-approved spaceflight hardware that performs certain functions,” Daudi said. One of the latest components of NASA’s edible spaceflight hardware is the sweet and tasty kale salad. With advances in food science, kale retains some texture and texture after adding 75 milliliters of hot water and waiting 5-10 minutes. “It’s not like eating straight raw kale,” Daudi said. “We have developed a specific cooking and lyophilization process that does not make it completely muddy.” Space station astronauts sometimes eat ice cream. There are freezers on both the spacecraft that carries cargo to the space station and the space station itself. “If there’s a little extra space in the cold storage area, we’ll try to fill it with frozen desserts for the crew,” says Daudi. With real ice cream available, you don’t need space for a block of chalky Neapolitan astronaut ice cream that parents buy for their kids at the museum’s gift shop. Indeed, for 60 years in the Space Age, at least in space, astronauts have never eaten astronaut ice cream. Freeze-dried ice cream was developed for NASA in 1974 — for the gift shop at the agency Ames Research Center in California. The company that makes it, Outdoor Products in Boulder, Colorado, currently sells millions of units annually. Freight missions to the space station will also feature fresh produce such as apples, oranges and tomatoes. Recently, refrigerated cheese has also begun to go to space. This is a request from Shannon Walker, a NASA astronaut currently at the station. Daudi found Belgian Gouda in collaboration with a Houston cheese shop. “We actually developed a way to send refrigerated cheese as Class 1 government-approved spaceflight hardware,” says Dowdy. “The crew absolutely loved it.” Future food issues in space include cooking and growing crops. This is very important for longer missions where supply vessels do not arrive continuously, such as trips to Mars. Already, astronauts have grown and ate small harvests of lettuce and radishes grown on the space station. Using an experimental weightless oven, astronauts in 2019 also baked a pouch of raw chocolate cookie dough to produce a total of five cookies. Astronauts did not eat the cookies that were sent back to Earth for safety testing. But without gravity, the oven cannot function in the same way. Other common cooking techniques, such as sautéing and stir-fry, can be devastating if the ingredients are not only floating everywhere, but the flames spread out of control. Physics is also different: heat is transferred by direct physical contact with radiation, rather than by the flow of hot air as in ovens on Earth. “I’m looking forward to coming up with innovative solutions to tackle that challenge,” said Daudi. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company