Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club will now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at email@example.com.
Professor Retro's Space Food Sampler, $27.95
It seems more than a little odd to be nostalgic for something as "futuristic" as space travel, but Professor Retro (he probably got his doctorate online at the University Of Phoenix) is actually nostalgic for a particular facet: food. It's understandable that, way back when, the public cared about what astronauts ate. Now, with the world moving as fast and loose as it does, who's got time? Well, people, slow down and consider not what our current crop of space travelers eats, but what rocketmen (and women) consumed in the early days of starships. Oh, and what you got to eat when you went to the science museum on a field trip–think about that, too.
Taste: In his infinite wisdom, Professor Retro has packaged not just freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, but a variety of foods that you could just as easily be eating fresh while on Earth. He's got cinnamon-apple wedges (pretty good) and strawberries (scarily nauseating), too. And then there are the Space Food Sticks, "the energy snack developed by Pillsbury under a goverment [their spelling] contract, in support of the U.S. Aerospace program." Power Bars have come a long way since, and these are pretty nasty. But the piece de resistance, of course, is the ice cream. The Prof included not only a couple of flavors–fun, but not as good as real ice cream–but also a freeze-dried ice-cream sandwich, which was strangely delicious. Still, you have to wonder why earthbound snackers would bother, beyond the novelty.
• "It smells like peanut butter, but it tastes exactly like wet newspaper."
• "I don't think it was that bad, but I'd never, ever want another one."
• "My stomach is really hurting. I have images of strawberries and apples and ice cream rehydrating and expanding in my tummy. This is how I'm going to die, I'm sure of it."
• "I wonder, if you ground up those strawberries and snorted them, if they would taste any better."
• "It just tastes like a generic chocolate flavored bar. It's not good, but it'll do if you're hungry."
• "Tastes exactly like cereal marshmallows."
• "Just like I remembered it. Why hasn't NASA made strides in ice cream R&D; all these years? It's not bad, but it's not like you'll ever say, 'Damn, I wish I had some astronaut ice cream.'"
• "The strawberries look exactly like real strawberries, but when you bite into them, they explode into powder and permanently anneal themselves to your back teeth. I'm not sure whether this is the worst food ever, or the best dental protection package ever."
• "The peanut butter 'food stick' tastes like peanut-flavored modeling clay. The chocolate one tastes like just plain modeling clay."
Where To Get It: funkyfoodshop.com.