The Astronauts Gold Reserve

Written by Sara Rocci Denis
June 21, 2022

Today, we’re off to some myth-busting.

Today, we’re off to some myth-busting.
Remember those fancy pouches of freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, for sale in every NASA gift shop and many science museums?

Well, it was not used on any space mission, not even the Apollo ones it was originally developed for. In fact, there’s not even a clear record that it ever flew to space – so technically, it is no space food at all! Besides being brittle, crunchy, and crumbly, three adjectives that do not get along well with safety on any space outpost, it was reportedly also not very popular among astronauts.

Ice cream aside, there is often the misconception that space food remained in the “cubes and tubes” era of the early missions when astronauts snacked on bacon and other cubed foods coated in starch to avoid crumbles floating at the first bite. But those missions were fairly short, so it was acceptable to compromise on taste and aesthetic appeal and just provide the needed nutrition.

Nowadays, with the average mission to the International Space Station lasting over five months to make them cost-effective, food became a key factor to maintain the health and performance of the astronauts, and a team of nutritionists, doctors, food scientists, and chefs works with them individually to prepare their nutrition plans and space meals well ahead of their mission.

While 80% of their food allowance is typically chosen from the standard options of the space agencies, the remaining 20% is personalized and provides the extra comfort and well-being that only something we really crave can deliver. Officially called “bonus food”, it has been the realm of some of the most famous chefs who made treats like bacon sandwiches, macarons, pizza, beef bourguignon, and even lobster space-ready, to gift their special guests with a genuine taste of home while they are away from home.

Because let’s face it: it may look easy when we see astronauts lifting off in their badass space suits, floating around the ISS, or performing a spacewalk, but in reality, there are years of personal and team preparation and hard work to pull off those missions successfully, and what seems like a tiny 20% has been recognized as a key enabler long since. 

If we think about it, we all have our personal “bonus food” in our backpacks when we break out on an adventure. A few slices of salami, some Parmigiano bites, a piece of chocolate, or a treasured fresh apple on day 6 of a long trek: we know the importance of bringing along a “gold reserve” for comfort and reward.

And that’s what our meals are about: the experience and creativity of our Astrochef condensed into 12 delicious treats that have the power to take you straight to Italy wherever you venture and boost your spirit while taking full care of your nutrition needs.

So, dessert anyone? EAT freedom is at your service



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