Over the past year, the Menu for Mars Supper Club has met monthly at a different restaurant in NYC. In an approach similar to Mars analog efforts, our mission has been to eat and survey these restaurants; gathering recommendations, suggestions and opinions from restaurateurs about what food they would prepare on Mars. Each dinner we were joined by an expert who has insight into related fields, such as horticulture, nutrition and culinary anthropology, for discussion on the wide-ranging implications of dining on Mars. The supper club’s collected and summarized dinner findings will be made available to NASA and other people and organizations engaged in planning Mars colonization.
Mission 1 – Aanchal Indian food, Food in Space Overview, Heidi Neilson – 5/30/2014
Mission 2 – Vegetarian Dim Sum House, Fungus and Insects in Space, Gil Lopez – 5/5/2014
Mission 3 – Central Park, Meal Replacement Picnic – 5/7/2014
Mission 4 – Van Brunt Stillhouse, Martian Moonshine, Distillery Experts – 8/21/2014
Mission 5 – Uncle Vanya Cafe, The Taste of the Moon and Mars, Arlin Crotts – 9/16/2014
Mission 6 – Awash, Cooking on Mars, Jana Grcevich – 10/22/2014
Mission 7 – Mana, Farm to Table, Ann Nunziata – 1/18/2015
Mission 8 – Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Compost, Mimi Jorling – 2/21/2015
The Menu for Mars Supper Club performs research about food on Mars while dining out in New York City. How exactly do we go about doing this? Below are extremely generalized suggestions for how a dining Mission might proceed–how we might obtain relevant food knowledge from restaurant and guest experts. Each mission will have its own surprises; this is only meant to serve as a reference guide.
First, at the beginning of a dining Mission, it might be useful to remind ourselves of some facts about Mars and what it might be like to live there.
Facts about Mars and living and dining on Mars are at right, we keep these handy for discussion.
Then we might take the following actions in the course of the meal.
Peruse menu. Annotate it with post-it notes, markers, (and/or take photos) noting:
• particular ingredients which could be easily applied to Martian dining, or marked as difficult
• particular cooking methods noted—would these work on Mars?
• points of substitution, e.g. where a sauce is used in multiple types of dishes and could have potential for adaptation to Mars
• how many of the items on the menu are preserved (come from cans or are dried) vs. fresh?
Ask restaurant personnel, ourselves:
What is your favorite item on menu? What could you live without (forever)?
What is the most common ingredient or flavor?
What is the most important ingredient or flavor?
If you could only have 5 ingredients to cook with for a year, what would they be?
What do we know about growing these ingredients—such as:
• do any of these things grow well in greenhouses?
• do any of these items grow well in cold?
• are any particularly hardy or delicate?
Regarding food preparation: how would you handle cooking in an extremely dusty environment, where dust sticks to things? Are there particular things you’d do to keep the dust out of the food, in cooking and in storage?
And each Mission will have a guest expert in a particular field.
How might the menu–the ingredients, how and where the ingredients are grown or prepared, or anything else– relate to the expertise of the guest?
And, of course, how does the expertise of the guest relate to dining on Mars?
Make any notes on discussions from any and all of the above. Photograph food, presentation and menu for further research and the archive.