July 24th, 2010
As our readers know, we revel in culinary trivia, crumbs we find in the most unexpected places. This morning, on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition/Saturday, we caught Scott Simon in a flight simulator of the Space Shuttle.
On the voyage slated to be its last ( February 2011), there will be an Italian astronaut. (There will be another on the Space Station, with which the shuttle will dock). The ever-puckish Mr. Simon inquired as to whether the presence of Italians might improve the fare on board. According to the astronaut interviewee, NASA has provisioned its Space Shuttle astronauts with lasagne for some twenty years…
He didn’t elaborate as to whether NASA’s recipe was northern style (with besciamella) or southern style (with ricotta).
Meanwhile, we wondered if NASA make their own marinara and what zero-gravity does to a layered casserole… But these are insignificant questions since the morphology of Italian food has long been challenged right here on Planet Earth:
Honestly, we were just tickled to hear today’s NPR mention of extra-terrestrial pasta.
Our thanks to Scott Simon for uncovering one more example of the amazing trajectory of Italian food in America—and beyond. While we’re certain no one from Emilia-Romagna, the Mezzogiorno, or Boston’s North End would recognize Nonna NASA’s version of lasagne, this delightful segment confirms that the culinary reach of Italy is universal—indeed, out of this world.