This week saw the autobiography launch of China’s first astronaut in Space Yang Liwei, a military pilot who commanded the Shenzhou Five mission in 2003 – and with it comes the revelation that the on-board menu for Chinese astronauts includes dog meat!
This ‘delicacy’ has long been eaten by the Chinese, with the best dog meat reportedly coming from Huajiang County in Guangdong where it is famed for its nutritional benefits. The menu, including braised chicken, steamed fish and the dog meat is part of a special diet drawn up by Chinese nutritionists to keep up the strength of their astronauts as they orbit the Earth.
Needless to say dog meat is not something that will be found as the ‘Dish of the day’ on board the International Space Station (ISS) where the astronauts eat more or less the same food as they would on Earth. Some foods, fruits for example are eaten in their natural form, while other foods require adding water, such as macaroni & cheese or spaghetti. Astronauts have access to an oven for heating food but there are no refrigerators in space so food must be preserved and stored well to avoid spoilage.
Some foods are also best avoided on the ISS due to the microgravity environment. Condiments like salt or pepper are only available in liquid form because sprinkling them contaminates the atmosphere as the particles float away, and thus present hazards such as getting in astronaut’s eyes or inhalation, or even blocking air vents. Likewise bread presents problems due to the crumbs.
Whether you fancy eating dog meat or not I guess is just a matter of location and cultural upbringing - who is to say what is right or what is wrong?
For now though I think I will stick to cuddling dogs rather than barbecuing them!