What to Eat in Space?
When we think of space food, the typical image that comes to mind is dehydrated food in aluminum packets and tubes. This paste-like substance which was usually consumed through a straw was the norm in the beginning of space travel. Times have changed, and with that changing of time, feeding our space heroes has changed a lot, too.
These days, eating in space is very similar to eating on Earth. There are some differences, though. When we open a brownie, we don't have to worry about it floating away. To fix this problem of floating food, some of the meals consumed by astronauts is still dehydrated or freeze-dried. By simply adding water, delicious meals like spaghetti and soups can cooked up. To ensure proper temperature, there is an oven on-board the International Space Station. Drinks still need to be consumed using a straw through a sealed package to avoid possible damage to any of the equipment. Some foods, such as fruits and nuts, can be eaten just as they are.
Just like us Earth-bound humans, astronauts eat three meals a day with some snacks thrown in. The foods are stored in special lockers with netting over them to avoid floating away. For ease and convenience, the meals are arranged in the order the astronauts will be eating them. At meal time, the astronauts gather in the galley and begin preparing their meals. This preparation can take up 30 minutes depending on what food is being prepared.
After preparations are complete, the individual food containers, which are often times simply plastic containers, must be fastened onto food trays. The trays are then fastened to a wall or the astronauts' laps. Again, this is all done so the food doesn't float away in the middle of a meal. The eating is done with knives, spoons and forks.
A problem with eating in space is the taste. It isn't that all of this food tastes bad, but with no gravity the smell of the food simply floats away before ever reaching the nose. Since a large portion of our taste is based on smell, the food tends to seem more bland than their Earth versions. Add in the fact that astronauts tend to have stuffier noses thanks to the gravity issue, and you have the perfect recipe for edible food with little taste. Eating in space is very similar to eating on Earth, just with some slight modifications.