The first colonists on Mars take a one-way trip – is that a mistake?
While we wait for the answer – what’s for supper?
My new science fiction book, Glory on Mars, explores what life will be like on the red planet. There’s exploration and danger. There’s also supper:
I give my first settlers cylinders of macronutrients they can extrude through a 3-D printer into shapes for variety, but that’s not very satisfying and the supply is limited. Vitamin pills are relatively lightweight, but I don’t think our Martian cousins should depend on Earth shipping them pills forever.
If they don’t want to starve, Martians will grow their own food – and if they don’t want scurvy, pellagra, and rickets to make a comeback, that food needs to be healthful.
Ya gotta eat to live, but food must provide pleasure and comfort. Will you go vegan? Here’s another vote for potatoes.
What to grow on Mars
For protein I give my first settlers tilapia – an easily farmed, mild white fish – and mealworms. Also seeds and starter plants – potatoes, tomatoes, squash, salad greens, and herbs.
What herbs would you take to Mars?
Chives, thyme, lovage (which tastes like celery), and parsley seem essential to me.
Imagine you spent a long hard day replacing gaskets and filters in the recycling system. You’ve worked in cramped quarters, your back aches, and you’re hungry. Grumpy-hungry.
Fortunately, one of your teammates has cooked supper. Here’s what you sit down to.
Supper for Four Settlers
Poached Tilapia (Protein)
~ 4 tilapia fillets
~ Chopped parsley – lots
~ 4 tomatoes – sliced or diced as you prefer
~ Salt (You know, salt’s another thing to worry about on Mars. Especially once children are born and the population grows, you can’t rely on recycling human waste – get over the yuck reaction ’cause it’s gotta happen – to harvest enough salt.)
Arrange fillets in a baking dish. Sprinkle with parsley. Cover with tomatoes. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover baking dish.
Bake or microwave until fish is opaque and flaky. Check and add more water if it boils away in the cooking. Serve with salt and more parsley to taste.
Actually, since you were grumpy-hungry, maybe you should double that recipe. And – salt. You brought a supply, of course. But you’ll need more as the colony grows – hope you find a deposit.
Thanks allrecipes for the idea. Sorry – no lemon or oil on Mars yet.
Nuked Potatoes (Calories)
~ 4 large or 8 small potatoes
~ Chopped herbs
Prick potato skins all over. Microwave until done – fork tines will slide easily into the center. (You remembered to bring forks from Earth, didn’t you?) Serve with a choice of herbs – I like chives and thyme. Some potato varieties are a bit dry, so mash in water and wish you had milk.
Wash and dry a selection of greens and herbs. Serve raw. And plain. Sorry, no salad dressing yet on Mars.
Look here for a tasty snack of mealworms.
Would that leave you happy and content? What herbs do you think are vital to cooking?
My Colony On Mars series is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. Read one today.
Dr Proctor got as close to living on Mars as anyone can today. She served on a Mars-simulation mission as an analogue astronaut, and her special mission included food.
See you on Mars 🙂