Food in the 25th Century

When discussing the dietary habits of humans in 2448, it is useful to differentiate the population groups. In general, most people from Earth tend to lump Spacers, Settlers, Colonists, Loonies, Martians, Belters and Outies together as,”Spacers,” but they display a great deal of diversity. In the more specific terminology used by people off-Earth, “Spacers,” are itinerants who spend most of their working lives on spacecraft, a subset of this is the “Wanderers,” who travel mostly from birth to death in large family groups aboard,”clanships.” “Colonists,” are people who live in orbital or Lagrange wheel colonies near Earth as well as those living similarly in extra-solar systems. “Loonies,” and,”Martians,” are people who live respectively on the Moon and Mars. “Belters,” is the term for people who live and work among the asteroid belts of the inner system to out beyond Mars. “Outies,” is an even more generic term for anyone who lives around Jupiter and beyond in the Solar system. “Settlers,” is applied to those who live, mostly on habitable planets, beyond the Solar system. For the purposes of this essay, “spacers,” will be used in the generalized sense common on Earth, but some note will be taken on variations within the larger group. When capitalized, it can be taken specifically to refer to shipboard individuals.

By 2448, some variation on vegetarianism is nearly universal on Earth, with considerable use of yeast-, fungus- and algae-based foods. Carniculture was perfected in the mid-2090s, but never became terribly popular on Earth. Due to a lack of available arable space, people on spacecraft typically enjoy a similar diet to people on Earth. They tend to eat a larger fraction of microbial foodstuffs more easily produced in the confined space of ships, and they supplement with preserved meat purchased while at dock and stored aboard. With more space available for agriculture, Colonists, Loonies and Martians frequently have more real vegetables and fruits in their diets, similar to those on Earth. Carniculture is far more popular in space than on Earth, and many Colonists, Loonies and Martians even have actual animal meat as a regular part of their diet, particularly rabbit, duck, chicken, guinea pig and fish as well as dairy and egg products. Life in the outer system is frequently more like shipboard life, small and cramped, even for settled people, thus the diet resembles that of the Spacers, although with less access to preserved meat or meat of any kind, though some of the larger bases(particularly on Ganymede and Titan) can produce carniculture meat.

The diet on extrasolar habitable planets is similar to that on the larger colonies or on the Moon and Mars, but with more food derived from alien organisms where available and compatible with human biochemistry. Some Settlers also consume the meat of larger mammals such as beef, pork and mutton, or even alien megafauna. A large fraction of extra-Solar settlement is by people born on Earth, though, and so they frequently share an Earthperson’s squeamishness about eating larger animals except in the carnicultured form.

Although food converters can produce food blocks and nutrient mush suitable for human consumption from any raw organic matter(most carbon-based plant or animal life biochemically compatible or not, petrochemical hydrocarbons, garbage and sewage among other less-speakable sources), they are not well-regarded as they are essentially tasteless, or worse. It is commonly said that the output of a food converter generally tastes something like a blend between sawdust and whatever the feedstock was. With more diversity of feedstock, the food produced tastes more like sawdust, and less like… whatever. Instead, except on small deep-space exploration ships, where storage is at a premium and even algae-growth equipment can be inconveniently large, food converters are generally used to simplify bio-matter recycling, converting wastes into fertilizer for plants or feed for livestock or even as fuel for machinery. When forced to rely on converter food, spacers typically keep large stocks of spices, herbs and other flavorings, particularly hot and pungent spices which can go a long way towards covering the flavor of many times recycled solid human waste. Converter food is generally considered to taste more like whatever was fed into the machine the more times it cycles through…

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it,
The Astrographer

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