The future of your food: take a fun trip to 2118 with your family!
Could the soup you make tonight be the start of a delicious family tradition? Voyage into 2118 with us: we're talking about space gardens, science-fiction food, kitchen robots and how your family dinner can take you on a trip to the future.
Have you ever tried astronaut ice cream? If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, this freeze-dried ice cream developed for space might have seemed like a taste of the future. Re-discovering it at a science museum got us thinking about how our ideas of future food change over time. What will your family’s food of the future taste like? What do your kids think food will be like when they are grandparents? Get ready to travel to the future: with a little experimentation in your kitchen (and some youthful imagination) the possibilities are limitless!
First, we’re going to have to bust a fond myth: while it was developed for use in space, astronaut ice cream has never actually been included on a mission...it just doesn’t taste very good. Today, the astronauts on the International Space Station enjoy real ice cream instead. Make your own 5-minute ice cream, or pack a stellar star-gazing picnic and watch the ISS sail overhead together. And while the astronauts are always excited to get their favourite foods from Earth, there’s one home-grown treat for future missions the ISS is working on that might surprise your kids: fresh vegetables. Ongoing experiments in the ISS have included lettuce grown in space (you can tell the kids that because fresh food is limited up there, juicy greens are a big deal to the astronauts who get to gobble them up). Make like an astronaut and start your own greens indoors with our handy tutorial.
Once you’ve got your space garden started, it’s time to get started imagining food that’s even further in the future—and for that, there’s no better place than your local library. Elementary schoolers might enjoy Diana Wynne-Jones’ Time City, where kids living in the distant future eat made-up treats like seaweed chews, along with dumplings in delicious sauces, and butter pies for dessert (think ice cream, but with hot vanilla caramel inside). In Star Wars, food also plays a starring role: think the blue milk from a New Hope, or Rey’s instant ration bread from The Force Awakens. Some fictional future food is closer to becoming a reality than you might think—the food replicators on the classic TV show Star Trek are becoming more plausible as 3D printing becomes able to print food. Right now you’re mostly limited to pourable foods like pastry or chocolate (and by the cost of a food printer), but it's one of many futuristic food gadgets that might have a place in your kitchen some day. For more, take a look at some of these kitchen robots and smart ovens to see if any of them seem like they have a future making your dinners with you.
In fact, the real future of your food lies in your family recipes. How old are your oldest family recipes? A recipe for soup from your grandmother, or holiday recipes from even further back? What recipes could you make into traditions today that your family could still be making a hundred years in the future? Maybe that tomato sauce you’ll try for the first time tonight is about to become a tradition! To get you in the mood, try looking through the family friendly recipes in our archive and picking one or two to try. To make sure your recipes are passed down, start a family recipe book, and get all those floury recipe cards in one safe place.
If you have a family recipe you’d like to share with our community for the future, click here! We’d love to see it, whether it’s been passed down for generations or it’s your newest tradition. And for more futuristic inspiration (hmmm, what should you make for dinner next Tuesday? Don't worry, we’ve got ideas!), voyage over to our Facebook and Instagram feeds.