Steak: the final frontier
Friday, October 17, 2008 | 01:12 PM ET
by Tara Kimura, CBCNews.ca
Ever curious what outer space smells like? Apparently and surprisingly, it smells a lot like a fried steak and hot metal, according to a chemist hired by NASA.
Steven Pearce, a chemist and director of a fragrance manufacturing company, has been commissioned by NASA to recreate the smell as described by astronauts.
Pearce's project aims to provide astronauts-in-training a fuller sense of what to expect in space. The British chemist said he was contacted by NASA after working on an art exhibition which explored "extinct and impossible smells" including the Titanic, communism and the surface of the sun. Pearce's contribution to the art exhibit included a recreation of the smells of the Mir space station.
In an interview with the BBC, Pearce said the sense of smell is the most underrated sense.
"It's a direct extension of the brain," he said. "We can smell something now as an adult and it instantly takes us back to school not just in a glimpse but in a real detail – reminding us what that desk smelled like, that kid next to us, the teacher's perfume and so on."
For me, the smell of anything minty takes me back to my grandmother's dining room where there was always a fresh stash of scotch mints in a red-lid jar in the corner. The smell alone sharpens my memory of the lace pattern of the table cloth and the placement of the family portraits on the walls.
What foods trigger memories for you?
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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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