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Mon, Dec 04, 2006

Gourmet Meals On Menu For ISS Crew

French Master Chef Sends Masterpieces Aloft

So where's the hottest place to get a culinary masterpiece from French master chef Alain Ducasse? Is it a swanky restaurant in New York City? A fashionable Bistro in Paris? How about aboard the International Space Station around 220 miles overhead?

The famous chef teamed with ESA and the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES) to develop special meals for to celebrate special occasions in space like New Years or birthdays.

So what kind of meals are we talking about? Would you believe quail and swordfish? The meals were packed in tins and prepared to the rigorous standards all meals must meet at the ISS.

The crew aboard were served the first of those meals last Sunday evening.

Speaking from on board the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, who arrived at the Station nearly five months ago, was delighted with the meal. "It was absolutely delicious," said Reiter. "It was a really nice treat for a Sunday evening." (Photo below of Reiter working aboard the ISS courtesy of ESA.)

Living aboard the ISS can be an austere experience, likened by some to a survival situation on a deserted island. Crewmembers must take extraordinary measures to monitor morale.

"Food is really something which gives us a break", explained Reiter. "It is something where we find some joy and we are really trying to take some time for our meals."

Ducasse's space menu is the envy of restaurants worldwide. It includes:

Entrees:

  • Shredded chicken Parmentier
  • Riviera style swordfish
  • Spicy chicken with stir-fried Thäi vegetables
  • Quails roasted in Madrian wine
  • Duck breast 'confit', with capers

Side dishes:

  • Sand carrots with a hint of orange and coriander
  • A light puree of celery with a hint of nutmeg
  • Tomato, aubergine and olive dip

Desserts:

  • Semolina cake with dried apricots
  • Apple fondant pieces
  • Space 'far' (a Brittany tart)
  • Rice pudding with candied fruit

With a lineup like that its hard to believe anyone could find fault, but Reiter did have one criticism... no wine!

Hang in there Thomas; if all goes as planned, your ride home will be there around 6:00pm EST on Saturday December 9.

FMI: www.esa.int, www.nasa.gov

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