Okay, I'm going to be crabby here, but it seems to me that not one single contestant had a clue of what the challenge conditions were: Had to be food that would freeze dry well, not too sweet, spicy and strong flavors go over well in weightlessness, no large chunks... Have I missed anything? And to a soul, they all made fancy schmancy froo froo dishes with stacked entrees and many many things that will never freeze dry! Personal opinion? Someone should freeze dry some steaks and make those contestants (cheftestants if you prefer) eat the damned things!
So what would you have made that fits the criteria? The first thing that popped into my mind was Mexican burritos. Hey, all of the astronauts spend time in Texas, so don't tell me they haven't had a burrito! I do know that space food can be re-hydrated and heated. And some things can simply be hermetically sealed. The sole reason for freeze drying is weight reduction. The first time I had freeze dried space ice cream I thought it was a plastic pillow of air until I opened it and found there really was something in it! So for presentation on the show, I would have packed two flour tortillas per serving in a plastic bag that had the air pumped out of it by the cryovac machine that does that for sous vide preparation. Then I would have fixed a nice pot of beans and picadillo with peppers and onions because ground beef does freeze dry just fine. And some cheese to go in it, that also freeze dries and rehydrates, and maybe even some avocado/guacamole and tomatoes because they will freeze dry well too.
For the show's earthbound guests and judges, I would have served it as an assemble yourself dish with the tortillas in a sealed bag and bags of the bean/beef filling and a smaller bag of shredded cheese. It would require the compromise of serving it hot and un-freeze dried, but it would give them some sense of what it is like to eat in space.
So what is your idea for space food that meets the criteria? As far as I'm concerned, every "cheftestant" on last night's show should have had to pack their bags and go! They all failed miserably to meet the challenge in my book.
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