Future Food

It seems inevitable that I would wind up writing about food here, given that I do so regularly over on my blog. However, what sparked this train of thought was something a little lower than food… Fads. We know that foods have fallen in and out of favor as long as there has been some options to choose. You may not know, for instance, that the French Aristocracy invested heavily in potatoes, which the peasants wouldn’t eat, and in the course of the publicity campaign for potato eating, Marie Antoinette wore potato flowers in her hair. Cornflakes were originally health food. Butter fell from favor early in the 20th century, to be replaced by the cheaper but dubious health benefits of margarine.

So who can say in a hundred years, or more, what we will be eating? I’ve seen some, ah, interesting ideas expounded in science fiction. Vat meat springs immediately to mind (as does soylent green, but I digress. There are very good reasons NOT to eat people, above and beyond cultural taboos). Protein pastes? Bleah… recently because of my school schedule I’ve had one or two days a week where eating a proper lunch was impossible, and protein bars are not a substitute for real food. When men take to the stars, though, what will their equivalent to beans be? High-protein food that can be packed, reconstituted, and is cheap: what the gold rush carried along at first, and the reason restaurateurs in the San Francisco area sometimes got richer than the miners.

Food weighs, and spoils, and I can remember freeze-dried ice cream being pretty tasty, but what does a generation ship take along to keep the prospective colonists fit and happy? Hydroponics, aquaculture, polyculture, all those are interesting ideas, but as I helped my Dad set up various versions, I know how delicate they can be. Don’t rely on only one system, plan for viroids and fungus and… boredom. Plan for boredom. One of the fun things about John Ringo’s March series is the food, the descriptions of Kostas Matsugae cooking and making palatable food for the few who had little else in life to look forward to, besides a glorious death in battle. A more recent read, Drake’s Dinosaurs and a Dirigible collection, contains a vivid description of what dinosaur meat might taste like (I know from experience with alligator that it’s greasy and slightly fishy. Probably best with a tempura batter and deep fried).

But it’s hard to predict, because, well, people get funny ideas in their head about what is healthy and what isn’t. Like the guy who has decided that to ‘ redress a cultural wrong imposed, he thinks, by his Western lifestyle’ he had to adjust his gut microorganisms to match what humans were before the evils of Western culture: a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. “The pungent tale of an archaeology writer who inoculated his intestines with the feces of a member of the Tanzanian Hadza tribe, whose ancestral lifestyles and dietary habits (they are hunter-gatherers) were perceived to support a more pristine and “healthier” microbiome. Let us pause here to get a visual: a turkey baster was used to deliver the tribal feces a posteriori (as it were). Such procedure goes well beyond the reasonably justified fecal transplants that have been successfully used to treat highly recalcitrant Clostridium difficile infections.” 

You think that’s radical? well… how about government sponsored campaigns for healthy eating that may actually be damaging health? (for those who have academic access) So it’s not a stretch to imagine a colony sent out with, say, a vegan diet, and the horrible long-term deficiencies that could lead to, especially for developing children.

Galactic Gals Shirt

I bought the First Reader this shirt. For Science! and freedom, and because he needed a wedding shirt.

Food… it’s what’s for dinner. Or, as I said yesterday when we were discussing controversy: come to the dark side. We have cookies, and logic. And, evidently, really flamboyant shirts.

102 Comments

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102 responses to “Future Food

  1. One of the gas in the Woody Allen film “Sleeper” was that future scientists had discovered that deep-fried food and cigarettes were healthy and vegetables were bad for you.

  2. Reblogged this on Cedar Writes and commented:

    Food, fads, and the future… what do you think the interstellar space ship kitchen will look like?

    • jselvy

      Much like any seagoing galley today. Eating is one of the few comforts that command should not fiddle with lest they risk mutiny.

      • Yes! Which is why I always found the concept of a meal in a pill, or paste of any sort, highly improbable.

        • jselvy

          Sailors of any stripe will put up with a great deal of privation. Loneliness, isolation, separation and harsh discipline can all be shouldered if the simple things are well. A ship that is a “good feeder” never lacks for crew, where on the other hand a ship known to keep a poor galley will always have to make do with bilge scrapings or greenhorns. It is quite strange.

          • My father spent many years working in logging camps, particularly some in Alaska where access was by plane or boat. It’s the same in the logging camps — people would leave if the food wasn’t both plentiful and good.

        • Anybody remember H.M. Wogglebug T.E. and his square meal tablets, and how the students at the College of Art and Athletic Perfection rebelled when he replaced their cafeteria with a requirement to eat only the pills?

  3. SBP

    Guinea pigs, maybe. Prolific, don’t need a lot of space, easy to raise. They’re still a very popular food animal in South America.

    • This makes some sense. Culture would have to change a bit, first.

    • Better to use rabbits. Guinea pigs aren’t nearly as prolific as rabbits.

      I think goats for milk and cheese and some meat, poultry for eggs and meat, and rabbits for meat. Manure and other waste from all of them would be recycled. You’d need the equivalent of large greenhouses (and yes, aquaponics/hydroponics, but also stuff growing in soil). Personally, I don’t feel well unless I get raw green vegetables frequently. And we drink a lot of kefir (cultured goat milk) which is high in probiotics. The space travelers would need to have a different culture than our fast food culture, for sure. And they would need a huge amount of nutritional training.

      • SBP

        Hmm… I thought I’d read that guinea pigs were better for ultra-tight quarters because they aren’t nearly as territorial as rabbits, but I’m not turning up a reference at the moment.

        The rabbits I’ve seen being raised for food definitely had their own individual cages.

        • Yes, rabbits need their own cages. But the cages don’t have to be large. We’ve always used 30″ X 36″ cages for meat rabbits (New Zealand White size). You could raise something smaller, like a Florida White, and use a smaller cage. And the cages can be stacked two or three high (higher if you don’t mind getting up on a ladder to take care of them). Rabbit manure is really good stuff for the garden, too — another mark in their favor.

          Guinea pigs usually have smaller litters than rabbits, usually around four, sometimes up to seven at a time. Their gestation is longer (but their babies are born fully furred, with their eyes open, and they can be weaned much sooner). .

          • It would probably make more sense to do a beef-style breeding program to develop a better meat animal. Rabbits would probably be a good start.

            IIRC, you can starve trying to eat only rabbit…..

            *looks*

            Ah. It’s too lean. That’s something breeding could fix, and fairly quickly– the change between beef in the 60s and in the 90s is incredible, though in the opposite direction.

      • Only if you eat other things with it. I’d have to dig out my source material again, but if you eat only rabbits, you’ll starve to death. Well, obviously there would be other sources of food…. right?

  4. Bruce Sterling’s “Islands In The Net” has a character who follows a health food fad that avoids vegetable protein. He has a set speech he trots out about how plants evolved to kill off animals who try to eat them. It’s just “scientific” enough to sound like something people would believe.

    • You know, I think I’ve heard something like that… something about poisons slowly building up?

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Humans have a generalist digestive system. We deal well with smaller doses of many different sorts of plant toxins. There are some animals that are specialists, can handle huge amounts of a particular plant’s stuff, but have problems with anything else.

        So a healthy human should be careful about eating large amounts of a particular plant over an extended period of time.

        If someone has the right health issues, other problems can occur.

  5. In David Lavender’s _Across the Wide Missouri_ about the hunters and teamsters on the Great Plains, he talks about how the men adapted to a diet of bison and deer meat. They did it very well, after a few days of mildly upset stomachs.

    And I’d like to know what pattern of tie one wears with that shirt. 🙂

    • Yes a diet of pure meat would have… repercussions. 😛

      And a tie? With this shirt? Well, if you insist… http://www.angelfire.com/folk/lwfish/images/fishties.jpg

      • Uncle Lar

        Protein poisoning was a common concern amongst the early mountain men, brought on by a diet of mostly lean deer meat. Was why bear was sought out, much fattier especially in the late fall. Also a reason why settlers favored hogs as a grow your own food source.
        Pemmican, indian survival and trail food, was a mix of ground jerky, berries, and animal fat. Quite tasty when prepared right.

        • I’m still waiting to encounter a batch that was prepared properly, then. 😛

        • the fat and marrow was needed for more than the taste and binding. I too have not had much good pemican. Had plenty that was close, but it was more like an energy bar ..you’d eat one from time to time, but not often. I’ll stick to jerky and try to get fat from somewhere (I do tend not to trim the fat from my jerky bound meat anyhow)

        • Isn’t the idea that if you live only on animal protein, you should eat the whole animal, fat, offal, possibly stomach contents etc, use the bones for making broth, and then it can be a healthy way to eat.

          And yes, fat is a very important part of that, so at least some of the animals used should have that.

          BTW, anybody familiar with this book: Bradford Angier, How to stay alive in the woods? Good, bad, in between?

      • The Eskimo peoples used to have a diet of mostly meat. They ate it close enough to raw that it supplied their vitamin C, etc. They were a lot healthier on that diet than they were later when they started eating white flour and sugar (I went to college with a lot of Eskimo/Indian/Aleut kids in Alaska — almost all of them needed glasses and tubes in their ears by the end of two years of college).

      • Holly

        Cedar, where do I buy those ties? The Man Who Has Three Of Everything ( aka Dad) doesn’t have one, and he was an avid fisherman until lack of health got in the way. Now he just tells fish stories.

  6. Sam Hall

    I am working on a story about a very large generation ship and food is a concern of mine.
    They raise chickens, pigs and fish, both fresh and saltwater.
    I am assuming that they have vat grown beef that works for ground beef, but not for steaks. You can bring with you as many steaks as you wish for yourself and your descendants. Remember that a spaceship will have very cheap cryogenic storage that should keep food in perfect condition for hundreds of years.
    I assume a number of “fields” to grow food with the largest size being 100 x 50 meters to grow grains and other bulk foods. Each field has a robotic “farmer” (hangs from the ceiling on tracks like a crane) who talks to the robotic kitchens. For example, the farmer tells the kitchens, “I have 50 kilos of tomatoes that should be used tomorrow”. The kitchens then plan their menus around using those tomatoes.
    Waste control is a big deal. The system tries hard to put every gram of food to the highest use. Human food first, then livestock, then fish and then to compost.

    That is some of my thoughts.

    • You’ll want to look into that saltwater fish idea… the systems for controlling marine aquariums are on an order or two more complicated than freshwater. One of my things I was thinking about as I wrote this was mass. How are you going to boost all this out of the gravity well? What about gravity? Why keep the grow beds on a single plane? Have you ever looked at vertical gardening? Why doesn’t your vat beef work for steaks? If you’re force-growing muscle cells, think about that!

      • Sam Hall

        I understand that the saltwater system in Biosphere 2 worked fairly well, plus I had my own saltwater aquarium when I lived near the ocean so I understand the issues.

        This doesn’t work without cheap access to space. Playing with a space elevator, hey, the Japanese are going to built one in 2050
        Japanese firm to build space elevator by 2050

        • Nifty! I’m not trying to shoot down your ideas, just bouncing back things as I thought of them. Years of playing with intensive/sustainable gardening methods have taught me one thing, that you never know what’s going to go wrong.

          • Sam Hall

            I understand and I value the feedback.
            I am a engineer and years of experience have taught me that Murphy was an optimist.

            • I’d think you’d need a “Grayson Style” space agriculture system in place well before building a ship like that so everything is already out of the planetary gravity well, then you’d want to slingshot everything out of the solar well.
              That’s just an off the top o’ me head thought there.

              • jselvy

                On the soft science side, how are they going to remember what they’re about?

                • well, barring some disaster, or somehow it being cheap enough to compete with terran grown stuff, or it becomes some kind of delicacy worth enough to make hauling it back and forth (especially the forth) worthwhile, just having it up there, and working on it would be the driving force to remembering what it is about. You’d need it to be somewhat self sufficient so your main cargo is always foodstuffs going out system, and anything needing resupply is light stuff.

                  • jselvy

                    Sorry, I wasn’t clear.
                    I was referring to the generation ship. After three generations (@ about 100 years) the mission passes out of living memory. At 200 years we go from George Washington to Jimmy Carter. Three or more generations under naval discipline may smother the spark so to speak.
                    Heinlein and Sarah both have approached this particular hurdle. “Orphans of the Sky” is what occurs when it all goes wrong, and “The Big Ship and the Wise Old Owl” is everything going exactly right. Both stories confront the fact that the current crews have forgotten why their ancestors set out on this journey.

                    • Mr Dave and Eric Flint dealt a bit with this in Slow Train To Arcturus. Some folks forgot just what it was they were doing, others only a few knew and others everyone knew what it was they were up to. I think that is why so many go with the hibernation of some sort themes, then the folks who arrive are the same ones who left and the reasons why are always at the fore.
                      Education would be key. Channelling innovation, keeping folks informed of consequences of wandering from the goal, while not getting too single sighted, a way to vent those who decide they don’t want to play (whether that is to a place they can do no harm or vented to vacuum), and heck, a ton more issues are going to be vital …. and I’ll guaranty they will overlook something important.

                • Are you talking about the colonists on board the ship? I read a book a few years ago (no idea of the title or author, sorry!) that was about some people on a space ship who had not only forgotten what their trip was about, they’d forgotten that they were ON a space ship! And they had become smaller than normal and lived at a higher speed than normal humans — their space ship had stuff growing all over it. It was an interesting story.

                  • jselvy

                    Yes it was the colonists and crew I was thinking of.
                    A space going farm should be feasible given fully realized space industry. Built in space and run in space, never meant to land, size is not an issue. Build as many farm and animal decks as you need to do the job. Rates of consumption can be planned for. Don’t forget the vices. Tobacco, barley and hops at a minimum. Its the little luxuries that make big privations bearable.
                    How to keep succeeding generations on task? How to keep population levels in an adequate range, not too many or too few?
                    These are the soft side questions.

                  • Grubmas

                    It is nonstop by brian aldiss

  7. Reblogged this on The Worlds of Tarien Cole and commented:
    Always good to think about how your characters eat. 😉

  8. Uncle Lar

    Factoid for y’all.
    What is the densest, most concentrated, and safest method for storing and transporting oxygen in a space environment? Answer: as long as you have power H2O does quite nicely.
    Mir when it flew, and ISS today rely primarily on electrolysis to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. The H is vented to space and O2 released to cabin to replace what the astronauts use. Some tanked O2 is kept for emergencies along with some nitrogen to replace the inevitable bit of leakage, and a store of oxygen candles is on board for real emergencies. But for the most part water is a very safe stable form, no high pressure containment required.
    The ECLSS hardware on ISS also processes waste water into clean potable water. While perfectly drinkable, the crew tends to prefer to break this output into H and O2 for some reason.

  9. On these fads and diets, I am going to throw out something that will probably sound weird to people. But it took me years to realize that not everyone experienced food the way I do.

    You know how they talk about pregnant women having crazy cravings, and one theory says it is their bodies trying to tell them they need certain nutrients? Well, when I am hungry I can usually tell that right now I need protein, or right now I need carbs or fat. And when I look at that cookie I can tell whether there is a part of my system that needs the sugar, or whether I’m just driven by the smell and the taste for it.

    I don’t think people listen to their bodies enough when they eat. Most people are too driven by habit or brains when they eat. If people really listened to their bodies and how they felt before and after they ate, they might overall be happier and healthier.

    To which I’ll admit I’ve knowingly eaten things because they tasted good at the time, and realized afterward that is why I felt a little off later. Like this last crepe I’m eating this morning. I really need that piece of bacon instead (which I’ll fix after this next crepe gets out of the pan).

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Not everyone gets sensory feedback from their body the same way.

      I get so little that I essentially have to push until I notice something is broken.

      Part of why I had so much pain this year. ‘Ignore it until it goes away’ didn’t work on something that needed rest, ice, and dietary supplement.

      • True, and some people get sensory overload where they don’t know what part to pay attention to.

      • sanfordbegley

        I’ll agree not everyone gets sensory feedback from their bodies in the same way. For example, I don’t have normal skin, I have hide. So much so that I thought mosquitoes didn’t like me. My Lady tell me that mosquitoes do land and bite, then they get frustrated and fly off to find a meal. I just don’t notice even when it is on my face.

  10. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I’ve been working some ideas with populations that wear pressure suits continually, perhaps with the helmet off. I’m aware that this might have implications for diet as it does for skin infections.

  11. The nice thing about biological systems is that they expand. Given water, minerals and light in the right frequencies. The later can be easily acquired in space. (Easy, if you’ve got the tech to build an interstellar ship.) And I think you need to take a healthy range of soil bacteria along with you. And fungi. Really, they’re good at breaking down organic wastes. And you may need them for making alien soil fertile, when you get where you’re going.

    Now, depending on your tech, you can have all these conveniently frozen. Or you may need to produce food along the way. In which case you’ll need a very large habitat, or better yet, several separate habitats to limit the spread of disease; plant, animal, and human.

    Diseased animals and plants will have to be destroyed immediately, the soil completely removed, all of it basically cremated before being remixed with the right bacteria and fungi, and new organic material.

    Vat meat? Done how? Cloned tissue? Or genetically engineered yeast that produces all the right proteins and fats? If the later, anything with more texture than liverwurst is going to be tough.

    If possible, you’d also want live animals along, and lots of frozen semen, ova, and embryos. Redundancy is good, when help is two light years away.

    The longer the journey, the larger the ship really needs to be.

  12. So, at the speeds of travel CURRENTLY possible, how long would it take to go to the nearest other habitable planet (outside our solar system)? Dealing with reality here rather than science fiction — the first step would be to send out exploration vessels to determine whether such a planet even exists. Then would come turning the potentially liveable planet into a truly liveable planet (and how long would that take, and what would be required?). Only then could you even begin to worry about getting colonists there.

    • Sam Hall

      Voyager 1 was launched in 1977 and it has just left our system at 38,610 mph or 325 million miles per year. In 40,000 years it will be near the star Gliese 445 which is 17.6 light years from earth.
      This is the best we have done so far.

      • So, other than in sci-fi, it’s not very likely that we’ll ever get that far, UNLESS there is really a major breakthrough to drastically increase the speed of travel. I was thinking about this blog and the comments last night, and it seems like the spaceship (planet) we are on is so perfectly designed that it would be foolish to abandon it! And even it requires solar power in order to support life..

  13. Synova

    I spend a fair amount of time on food planning in my space planning. Probably because of how much I really hated Silent Running. I suppose that was contemporary to Soylent Green, too. There was this short period of time when George Jetson got his meals as a pill, but even those reconstituted to lavish meals. People like to eat. There is a whole Food Network now on television. I remember reading how the Frugal Gormet was reacting to TV dinners and college students who he had over for feasts and how important this communal eating was to the human spirit. I’ve read things about Mars Simulator crews living in little capsules on the tundra who have discovered the morale boost and necessity of having fresh baked bread once a day.

    And yet someone will very casually say that “Of course those on Mars One will have to become vegan.”

    And I object. If humans live on Mars, or in orbital habitats, the first industry must be agriculture… just like on earth. If there is not ROOM on Mars for agriculture, and that includes a variety of animal culture, there is no ROOM on Mars for humans.

    So you’ve got your greenhouses (and each person takes far more greenhouse square footage than I think most people realize) and now you need things that eat plant scraps. Crickets, almost certainly, and meal worms. Dry bugs are a little less problematic to raise than aquaculture, but maybe that, too. Rabbits. Quail or chickens. Maybe ducks.

    And goats. Milk. Cheese. Butter. Meat. Fiber. Leather.

    Because if goats can’t live and reproduce in the environment, people aren’t going to be able to do so either.

    • Sam Hall

      Pigs. You get more meat per pound of feed from a pig than any other animal. Plus, your aren’t human without bacon 🙂

      • Synova

        I’d thought of pigs but think goats first because you can’t milk a pig, and I’m not certain but I think it would be easier to feed goats. OTOH, I also figure that if there is ONE imported food product it should be bacon… not hams or pork chops… tons and tons of pork belly. Why? Because the hardest thing to get in the diet is going to be FAT.

        • SBP

          No reason why pigs couldn’t be bioengineered to produce milk. 🙂

          • SBP

            To clarify “produce enough excess milk to make them worth milking”. Obviously they already produce enough milk for their own piglets.

            • sanfordbegley

              Ignoring milk production a relatively large number of meat animal breeds is a good idea. If you get a plague that involves rodents you rabbits and guinea pigs die, multiple genomes provide a backup. Artificial wombs and frozen embryos isn’t a bad idea either

              • Good points. And in addition to having multiple kinds of livestock, there should be a number of different breeds in each kind, and different strains within each breed.

            • I dunno. I’ve milked goats that had teats about the size of a pigs teat (tiny). It’s not comfortable to do it by hand, you’d have to have milking machines. This may seem fine, but if for some reason you can’t use the machine, you’d have cramps in your hands very quickly from trying to milk a pig (especially since they have eight or so teats, LOL!).

        • I’m actually replying to you and Sam Hall — Sam, first. Personally, while I do still eat pork once in a while, I found (after a winter where pork was almost our only meat) that I don’t do well on a steady diet of pork. I think that should be studied before any culture commits to having pigs be their only source of animal protein. (And there are certainly plenty of people on this planet who never eat pork, and do just fine without it.) Pigs do have some advantages — I wouldn’t do away with them entirely.

          Synova, goats can survive and thrive in some very harsh environments, where there really isn’t much for a pig to eat (like above tree-line on a mountain, or out in the desert). If I could only have one kind of livestock, it would be goats, though I’d hate to give up chickens. Goats are fussier and require more care than most people realize (I’ve lost track of how many times, when I’ve taken a goat out in public, someone has said to me, “Oh, goats can eat anything!”), but they provide milk, meat, manure, hides for (lightweight) leather, and can also pull a cart or light garden tools, and carry more in a pack than I ever could even when I was young. They have downsides — a lot of people don’t get started right with them — they make the very common (almost universal) mistake of bringing home the animals before they have a secure place ready to keep them. Goats will show you the weak spots in your fences very quickly, LOL!

          • Synova

            I like goats… that belong to other people. 🙂

            • LOL! Sometimes I would agree with you! I’ve got one half-grown doe kid who I call Pickle because she keeps getting out and I can’t figure out how she’s doing it. I’ve never managed to catch her at it. I just bought her last spring, so I can’t just say, “Off with her head!” and put her in the freezer!

      • I was expecting someone to say this after I gave a bit more thought to it… I agree.

        Cows, mostly for supplementing the fatty food supply with dairy, and chickens as well because of eggs and variety, but pigs grow fast, eat anything, and other than the “will roll on and/or eat their piglets” thing are smart enough to avoid most of the stuff that requires human interaction to keep the babies alive. Farrowing pens fix that issue, too.

        To protect the food supply there would have to be some other meat animals, but pigs are just too good of a food source.

  14. Synova

    My issue with Vat Meat, no matter its nature, is that it’s still got to be FED.

    • Everything has to be fed. And food/biofuel has mass… and! It’s a fascinating conundrum.

      • Synova

        It sometimes seems like, “Oh, we’ll just have vat meat,” and I’m sort of thinking… we will? Where will we get the nutrient slurry to feed the vat meat? Growing plants is hard enough because it takes more than water, CO2 and light. But once you’ve got the plants you have roots and stems and peels. More of that biomass can probably be eaten by humans than we generally do, but it can also be eaten by critters directly, with little or no processing. Could it even be converted to vat slurry? So feed it to crickets or rabbits or goats and let them do the conversion. The problem with quail (small and well-domesticated to small cages) and chickens *and* fish… is that they’d need to have food grown for them, special. Fish and ducks need extra protein. Geese are grazers but chickens and quail are usually fed grain. So you’d have to grow it and take up greenhouse space, special. Even so, would livestock have a heavier resource cost than vat meat?

        Grain seems to me to be inefficient and would likely end up a treat. Meat, eggs, milk or cheese would also be a treat. When I read SF it’s usually fresh salads that are a treat. That never seems right to me.

        • Chickens need a high protein diet, or they will stop laying eggs. They wouldn’t be productive on a diet of just grain. Scratch grains are commonly fed to free-range chickens as a supplement, but free-range birds are eating a lot of insects (and even mice when they manage to catch one). Commercial chicken feed has a lot of soy in it to bring up the protein level; alternatively they use animal by-products, although since the mad cow scare that’s done less often.

          Besides the unappetizing factor, what I wonder about with ‘vat meat’ is how difficult it would be to keep it from becoming contaminated and making people sick? Just think of all the food-borne illnesses we already have; and consider the difficulty of keeping lab samples clean in a sterile laboratory environment.

          • Synova

            Now that you mention it, I probably knew that. I always thought that chicken feed was mostly grain, though. I know that my chickens are vicious meat eaters. So probably have to grow a lot of bugs to feed any fowl, but eggs would probably be worth it.

            • crickets might be a good way.

              • Crickets are one possibility. I give my chickens (and the dogs) the offal from butchering anything that gets butchered around here. Surplus milk, whey from making cheese, maggots grown on wet rotting vegetable matter,,,there are a lot of options.

                • sanfordbegley

                  Don’t forget that there will be cockroaches, flies and a few other pests that will come aboard and be nearly impossible to eradicate. So some of the chicken food will produce itself

                • I’m starting to feel like I’ve fallen into the Fallen Angels storyline.

                  • You know, I have yet to decode all the cameos in that….

                    • Way back (2002/3 or so) I had a lady friend online who pointed me to it in the Baen Free Library (she is a big Niven/Pournell fan), and got me back into reading. I followed with 1632 and she and the Library are why I am here pestering y’all with my adle-pated thought processes.

                      I do miss my “Fearless Leader”, but she was getting addicted to being online and quit cold turkey and got a job that didn’t require selling things online. She does occasionally reply to emails.

          • watching chickens chase snakes is a fun time. Pigs too love snakes.

  15. Alligator is too fishy for my tastes. I’ve ate it a few times when I wandered around Cajun country (and yes, it is best when battered and fried in small nuggets). Croc was less fishy and more to the chicken/turkey spectrum, though I have only had Croc as a jerky.

    Forcing veganism onto a child should be a crime … the few kids I’ve seen it done to were well behind their peers in size, and especially brain development. I saw one that after a full school year of riding a bus, going to the same class, then spending day care at the same place, referred to a co-workers daughter as “That brown girl”c(the daughter was half caucasion, quarter Thai, and quarter African-American). Both were 8 and the veganised kid was about half the size of the rest of her class (I guessed she was 5 or 6 when I met her), yet both of her parents were taller than average most all their lives. but picked to be vegans after growing up. (err … physically, not mentally)

    • Synova

      Which brings up another thing… baby formula, or the lack of. And probably the development (or redevelopment) of cultures that nurse until age 4.

      • wet nurses for those who for what ever reason cannot breast feed.

        • Yep. Some women have trouble getting milk in, and others like me have enough for more than one, easily. But I think she was also concerned with vegan attitudes toward milk. Which… well, this isn’t the time nor place for that soap box.

          • yeah, stack those soap boxes too high and you can easily fall off and hurt something (~_^)
            oh, my aching back

          • Synova

            Vegan attitudes are voluntary nutrition problems. But I really think that getting enough fat in the diet would be difficult in any space-based situation. Even with reserving most animal products for growing children, or at least for growing children *first*, I think that it’s likely that the most obvious fat-carrying food product for babies would be kept up as long as possible.

            I’ve sometimes thought there might be, um, products like human-milk ice cream, too. I know that totally weirds people out but it’s meant to be eaten by people so I don’t think it would be harder to get over than thinking cricket-crunchies are disgusting.

  16. A great way to look to the future is to look to the past.

    I’m slowly listening my way through “Food: A Cultural Culinary History” from the Great Courses lecture series. I also have “What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Lover’s Food Guide” by Kristina D. Ball.

    Learning all sorts of things! Though definitely grain of salt it. (No pun intended.) One of the anecdotes related in the audiobook series was relayed as fact, but ended up being an “urban legend” from waaaaay back. Like, possibly from the very period (ancient Egypt) being studied. (I was interested enough in the story to want to read more about it and found it debunked on Snopes. Not that I entirely trust Snopes either.)

  17. IF a multi-generational colony ship was truly feasible, I think they would need to have most of a huge space devoted to biological diversity, utilizing permaculture techniques to grow food. You would basically be replicating as much of the earth as possible in such a limited space. You would need to have the multiple layers of a permaculture system — tall trees, shorter trees, vines, shrubs, herbaceous layer, ground-cover, underground. Then add animals to the mix — many varieties of birds, fish, mammals, and insects (don’t forget honeybees!). There is no way a human-designed system can even begin to approach the complexity and stability of the system God has designed for us here on this planet, but you would need to get as close to that as possible. Both for the duration of the trip, and to have it all available when you reached your new planet.

    • sanfordbegley

      don’t forget dogs, cats and other companion animals. Humans need them for both their pet qualities and those things we have always bred them for. For instance dogs and cats can both be useful in controlling pests. Guard duties will be needed wherever man goes, and there is something about a dog or cat that meets a need deep in the human psyche

    • And as wide a variety of preserved semen for all of those animals as you can manage, plus seeds for plants, etc.

      Choose animal breeds based on what will survive well and provide what you need, and everything else– no matter how little you think you’ll need it– in the form of sperm.