The Slovenia Times

Slovenian students make NASA culinary challenge finals

Science & EducationScience & Technology
A barley groats dish that Slovenian students made for an astronaut's breakfast in a NASA competition. Photo: BoĊĦtjan Podlogar/STA

One Slovenian signature dish, the kranjska sausage, has already been in space, but another dish could follow if students from a Ljubljana school win a competition organised by the US space agency NASA after making the shortlist.

Two students from BIC Ljubljana, an educational centre offering secondary and tertiary educational programmes in food science, and their mentors have become the only non-American group to place among the ten finalists of the NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge.

They made the cut with a breakfast menu consisting of barley groats, a Slovenian staple, combined with dried pears, walnuts and smoked tofu.

The terms of the competition for a meal for astronauts aboard the International Space Station called for a savoury breakfast. There were strict rules regarding energy value, fat content and dietary fibres.

"Our dish contains only good fats - olive oil and walnuts. We replaced sodium with spices such as garlic, onions, thyme, parsley, parsnips, marjoram, bay leaf, walnuts and dried pears," said Marko Jeraj, one of the students.

In addition to complying with strict NASA requirements, the students also considered the diversity of the astronauts, who have different religious backgrounds. That is why they eschewed pork in favour of tofu.

"We even went a step further by freeze drying our dish. We wanted to check what it would actually look like in space," said Andrej Molk, one of the mentors.

The final competition will be held in Houston, Texas, on 17 April. The BIC team are going for a win.

If they succeed, their barley with a twist will be the second Slovenian dish to fly to the International Space Station after Sunita Williams, a US astronaut of Slovenian descent, took the kranjska sausage there in 2006.


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