Did you know that astronauts are allowed to take “bonus foods” with them to the International Space Station as long as the foods meet the requirements for space travel? One of the bonus foods Tim Peake chose was a bacon sarnie, which is a popular bacon sandwich made with white bread. Getting bread into space is much more difficult than you would think. The book Ask An Astronaut has a great discussion on how foods are prepared, packaged, heated, and then eaten in a zero-gravity environment.
NASA holds a yearly Culinary Challenge for high school teams to have their entrée selected as food aboard the space station. The entries are tasted and evaluated the entries in the Space Food Systems Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. In June 2015, just in time for Tim Peake’s mission on the ISS, this recipe for Jamaican Rice and Beans with Coconut Milke was chosen as the winner. Tim mentions it in the food selections, along with scrambled eggs (watch this video), curry, fruits, nuts, peanut butter, chicken, beef, seafood, candy, brownies, and pizza.
This Jamaican Rice and Beans with Coconut Milk recipe is a perfect combination of sweet (coconut milk) and heat (scotch bonnet or habanero pepper). The rice is extra creamy. This is the most unique Red Beans and Rice I have ever prepared. I can see why the astronauts enjoyed this while dining on the ISS.