​How to Make Tacos in Space

Microgravity cooking lessons from astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

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Jun 4 2015, 5:27pm

Cooking in space: Mackerel taco edition. Image: European Space Agency/YouTube

Complaining about airplane food has become a national pastime for most of us, so you might expect spaceflight meals to take unpalatability to whole new levels. But in a series of videos released this morning, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shows that fine dining is possible on the International Space Station (ISS)—provided you enjoy space tacos.

In her microgravity cooking lessons, Cristoforetti expertly juggles all the free-floating ingredients and utensils required to make two gourmet varieties of microgravity tortilla (which, she notes, makes a great edible stand-in for a plate). One of her softshell taco recipes is packed with turmeric chicken, rice, and champignon mushrooms, while the other is made with mackerel, quinoa, and leek cream.

Cooking in space: Chicken edition. Credit: European Space Agency/YouTube

Not surprisingly, Cristoforetti has to deal with a lot of factors that terrestrial chefs do not, such as using condiments as glue to ensure that ingredients are firmly secured to the tortilla. No doubt the final meal also isn't as luxurious as standard planetary fare, given that it is mostly made from nonperishable food pouches. Nonetheless, it does the trick.

"It's not too bad considering that we are in weightlessness," said Cristoforetti after sampling her latest floating space tortilla. "It's pretty yummy to me."

All in all, it sounds like Cristoforetti is giving the ISS kitchen a solid 3/5 Yelp review. The food might be a tad bland, but the view can't be beat.