Astronaut Shares How They Make Snacks While in Space

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have to modify—to put it kindly—a lot of the daily habits we folk here on terra firma take for granted. Going to the bathroom on the space station, for example, is a harrowing experience. Food preparation, as astronaut Megan McArthur shows in the video below, is also very different from what it is here on Earth. Although it’s actually a lot easier.

Digg picked up on the above video, which America’s Test Kitchen recently posted to its YouTube channel. As the channel notes, its team consists of cooks and editors who perform thousands of culinary tests. In this case, we can only imagine the channel’s gathering ideas for more tests.

An astronaut looks at a small, floating cracker snack aboard the International Space Station as she shows how astronauts cook in space.
America’s Test Kitchen

In the video McArthur, a NASA astronaut, oceanographer, and engineer, shows how she makes a full array of snacks and meals. She begins her “cooking” class by noting that the ISS only receives food resupplies every couple of months. Because of these time intervals, and the lack of refrigerator space, she and the other astronauts need to rely on a lot of dehydrated foods. As well as vacuum-sealed snacks with indefinite shelf lives.

McArthur shows off a few different simple snacks for the Test Kitchen host; including dried fruits, nuts, and cookies. But it’s the full-on meals that are really interesting. Making a bowl of cereal, for one, requires McArthur to rehydrate the flakes, strawberries, and powdered milk with water. Likewise, if the astronaut wants chocolate milk she needs to rehydrate cocoa powder with hot water then place it in the (tiny) refrigerator to cool it.

An astronaut preparing a fajita aboard the International Space Station as she shows how astronauts cook in space.
America’s Test Kitchen

As for problem foods? Anything that squirts chunks or makes crumbs is either a special operation or outright no-go. McArthur notes that she must be very careful if she’s eating fajitas; just as they do here on Earth, fajita innards(?) often fall out of their tortillas. Although they fall in all directions, not just toward the ground. And, in a painful dashing of our childhood dreams, McArthur says “astronaut ice cream” isn’t even welcome aboard thanks to how crumbly it is. Delicious things that ooze, however, are absolutely celebrated.

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