Captain Kirk in the Kitchen: Beam Me Up a Burger

The future is a place chock full of skivvies, and never a stain in a view, if Star Trek is anything to go by. Fit young folk flounce about in front of terminals with serious expressions on their faces, as they do battle with intergalactic villains. Nobody ever seems to eat anything on Star Trek; perhaps, somebody should bring out the Star Trek diet – they would make a killing. Science fiction is all about technological change on the surface, what new gizmos have transformed our previously mundane human lives. So, it is interesting to ponder, just what futuristic kitchens will be like.

Captain Kirk in the Kitchen: Beam Me Up a Burger

Will the traditionally well-fed looking Captain Kirk (a kirk is a church in Dutch & Scottish) call for Scotty to, “beam me up burger”? Will technology revolutionise the entire food preparation process, thereby, removing the possibility of stains forever? How would you feel about complete dishes just materialising through particle rearrangement? NASA and the space program brought us the microwave oven, so, we are halfway there already, in terms of our expectations. Fast food in hyperspace, where the only black hole is indigestion.

The number one prurient public curiosity about astronauts concerns how they deal with going to the toilet up in space, where things don’t naturally come down. Eating and what comes afterwards are inextricably linked in human terms. Which is probably why characters are rarely filmed consuming food on Star Trek. Astronauts are forever ingesting dehydrated food, because taking the moisture out avoids a lot of problems in the delivery process. Modern kitchens, at the pointy end of the spectrum, are already dabbling with cryovacing. Molecular chefs are cooking cryovaced fish to keep the juices intact and to avoid overcooking delicate flesh.

Captain Kirk’s burger would have to be restrained by invention and technology to prevent a stray slice of beetroot making contact with his skivvy or a slurp of unidentified flying mayo. Our kitchens, like Star Trek, are leaving the known world of earth and water and journeying to realms defined by science. High tech kitchen equipment now includes: fridges with computer screens that tell you their inventory and the use by date of items or you can browse online for recipes or the latest news. The new super duper pressure cooker, with a hundred and one different settings, is a must too. Machines that cut up and cook your ingredients in a dozen different ways, continue to proliferate our kitchens like digital rabbits. What wondrous invention or re-adaptation will our space engineers think of next?