Discussion Board

Topic: Cooking on other planets

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett
Date: 06/24/2010

I am rather loathe to give this away, but since I am unlikely to do anything with it, what the heck.

Authors often toss around data about other colonized planets of the future, like "It has 1.15 earth gravities," and so on, but I have never seen anyone address the issue of cooking.

All else being equal, lower gravity would make water boil at a lower temperature, and higher gravity at a higher temperature. Not only would this affect the boiling of water, it would also affect the cooking time of anything containing water. And, almost all the food we eat is mostly water.

Regarding books, is this just a non-issue that no one would be interested in, or is it simply that most published authors don't cook? :)


Kelly

Re: Cooking on other planets

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/19/2010

Thanks, Kelly! I'm sure this has been addressed in one story or another, but I can't think of it just now. Low gravity boiling point? Thinking about that makes my head hurt! Any astronauts care to set us straight?

Re: Cooking on other planets

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 07/20/2010

It's not gravity but barometric pressure that's the issue, right? Unless there's a relevant effect on bouyancy, hence convection, in the material being cooked? Gravitational gradients may vary, but unless you're cooking an ocean I don't see that being a problem. But low-gravity worlds with Earth-normal air pressure are going to be colder, high-gravity ones hotter. Coloids? Azeotropes? And what about ammonia-based cuisine? Mankind's final hurtle...the Three Batter Problem.

Re: Cooking on other planets

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/20/2010

I assumed gravity would not be a factor, but then those convection currents and relative buoyancy clogged my brain. I presume there's someone on the web who's an expert?

Re: Cooking on other planets

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 07/20/2010

The buoyancy thing I just threw out there. It's hard to imagine anything but air-pressure having an important effect (I did read the Wikipedia article on water, which led into emulsions and shear-mixing and stranger stuff). Lots on the web about "specific" gravity, but a casual search finds nothing on exo-cooking. It would be a perfect Asimov story, don't you think? "Murder by Thiotimiline Pie" or some such. Or a recipe that's only lethal if prepared on Ganymede...

Re: Cooking on other planets

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA
Date: 07/23/2010

Hmm, isn't gravity the main reason for barometric pressure in the first place, though? The planet sucks the atmosphere down, and since atmosphere compresses, there is more of it the lower you go toward the planet. All else being equal, wouldn't barometric pressure be greater at an equal altitude on a world with higher gravity?

For example, two planets of equal size, rotation, atmospheric composition, etc, but one is more dense, and therefore has a stronger gravitational field. And, yes, I suppose that a planet of greater gravity would arguably have more atmosphere with which to create barometric pressure, but I am not talking about extremes, here. Let's assume a variation of no more than .25 earth gravities.

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