Food in the Final Frontier: A Look at the Cuisine of Star Trek
In honor of the release of the newest film in the Star Trek franchise, Adam Kuban over at Serious Eats takes us on a guided tour through the cuisines enjoyed by the various “alien cultures” that populate the imagined universe, providing enough insightful analysis to please both Trekkies and Foodies alike. In Kuban’s estimation, the food choices that appear throughout the series aren’t always just throwaway props, but often carry underlying meanings that point to aspects of our (and the show’s) culture. He examines one such subtext in the following passage:
Science fiction often holds a mirror up to contemporary culture, critiquing its practices, politics, and mores. So, too, with Romulan ale. Because of the United Federation of Planets’ standoff with the Romulan Empire, the drink is illegal within the Federation—much like Cuban cigars are in the U.S. But like the captains of industry of today, captains of starships indulge in this vice. As Kirk said in The Undiscovered Country, the routine violation of the embargo is “one of the advantages of being a thousand light years from Federation headquarters.”
And even if you don’t buy into the deeper message of what’s on the plate, at least you’ll know exactly what delicacies to serve the next time a Vulcan comes over for dinner.