Japanese Space Food
You’re in space. The trip up took 8 hours- most of which involved you sitting sideways strapped into a second-hand shuttle waiting for air traffic control to give you the all-clear, with no option to get up and go the bathroom (yep, adult diaper). Now you’re on board a creaking old Russian hybrid rust-bucket where everything stinks of Ozone, you’re losing bone mass on a constant and permanent basis, the weather outside sucks, you can’t relax for a second without strapping yourself to a wall because your limbs float off randomly in zero-G, you can’t go to the bathroom without having to attach undignified hoses to your body, and you’re sharing the cramped and claustrophobic quarters with a bunch of super-earnest elitist prats.
The least you could ask for is a bit of honest-to-goodness, home-made cooking just like Momma used to make. Well, you won’t get that, but if you are a Japanese citizen you are entitled to freeze-dried comfort food mass-produced by machines in high-density chunks. Flavors so delicious as Shrimp Gratin, Kimchi, Ramen Noodles, Yakitori, with Ice Cream to top it off.
I picked these J-space foods up at Miraikan a few months back, a science museum that was holding an exhibition on Pterosaurs. There was a wider range, but they were Â¥500 each so I only bought the two you see above.
I opened them to take photographs and since then the opened packages have been sat on my shelf, awaiting the moment when I was bold enough to bite into their dry and dusty ‘goodness’. Every time I fumble in that shelf now, the opened packages spill food-dust. So, I better screw my courage to the sticking place and give them a try. Why not begin with the Ebi-Gratin, or Shrimp Gratin:
Gratin is very popular in convenience stores here- normally a gooey melty white-saucey calori hit, with a few tid-bits of beef or shrimp perched precariously on top. In the space-food version, you can see the red outline of the shrimp baked right into the cookie-like white stuff.
Here goes (yes, I’m really going to eat it, right now, as I write this):
OK. Incredibly dry and chewy- fibrous, light taste of gratin. The shrimp seems to have been vaporized or fossilized or something- there is only a slight color change in the pattie where it used to be. Like I’m digging for gold and find a shrimp-vein in the rock. “Ho! I think there were shrimps here! I can see their color outlines!”
OK. Not bad though. This is my breakfast. I’ll just eat one though. Save the other for another time (yeah, right.)
Mmm, pretty good. Milky, smooth when wettened in my mouth, a little chalky but not too bad. Wow, dry ice cream- tastes like ice cream! The wonders they can create!
Now I expect big things from the space industry. Federation of Planets and Food Replicators and Quantum Torpedoes and etc may be a little way off yet- but I’m all for them all when they come around. When I’m a 200 year old age-corrected cyborg, or a program flitting through the Net (‘Great Link’) seeking out the newness, I rather expect they’ll be prepping roast soy turkeys on a deep-space station out past Uranus, while working on the galaxies first stable worm-hole.
Salut! Let freeze-dried ice-cream lead the charge!
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