Andrey Vedernikov:

People have wanted to try this forever!

The Director General of the Experimental Space Food Laboratory talked to us about the secrets of space exploration.

“If you really want to, you can go to space,” a popular Russian song says. Of course, this isn’t entirely true. Suffice it to say that only 550 humans have been in space over the past 50 years. But, since July 6, 2017, anybody can try the Moskovskiy space cake!

The Moskovskiy space cake is much more than another delicious cake - it’s meant to be included in astronaut diets. “Our cake is truly unique,” Andrey Vedernikov says, “experts worked on it for a whole nine months.” Mr. Vedernikov is the General Director of the Experimental Space Food Laboratory, which manufactures the unusual treat. Let’s start with the fact that only natural products are used to prepare the cake. If it’s not refrigerated, the cake can last about 3 months. And since the cake is served inside a tube, you can put it in your pocket. In fact, Andrei jokingly refers to the products made in his lab as “pocket cake.”

Reviving the original recipe for the cake, which first appeared in the capital in 1947, was quite a challenge. It hasn’t been on the market for decades, and nobody is sure exactly why it was taken off the shelves to begin with. Some theories trace it back to Joseph Stalin. Supposedly, the cake was pulled after somebody came up with the slogan “Moscow for sale!”. In any case, the Moscow government decided to bring the popular treat back in 2015.

The Moskovskiy cake is not the first space food to be manufactured by Mr. Vedernikov for regular earthlings. He has been in this new line of business for two years. The idea of giving people a chance to try the kind of food astronauts eat first came to him in 2011. It took four years to get the idea approved, which isn’t surprising. Everything related to space, including the kind of food astronauts consume, has always been kept a secret. The country’s leading nutrition and biotechnology research centers develop food meant to be consumed by astronauts, and it’s manufactured by special enterprises with the help of expensive equipment.

The Russian astronaut menu currently contains about 300 dishes. The menu includes schi, rassolnik, beef soup, fresh vegetables, meat puree, pickled mutton, cottage cheese with nuts, and more. All dishes are prepared with top-quality products - all natural, with no additives or artificial flavors. One day of astronaut meals costs about 30,000 rubles.

Two years ago, Andrei Vedernikov started manufacturing four types of space soup for regular Russians. The soup was sold in vending machines at VDNKh in Moscow. People were ecstatic. “That’s because people have wanted to try this forever,” Andrey explains, “For  example, older people would say, ‘We grew up hearing about the space program from the radio, TV, and newspapers. Of course, everybody wanted to try that special space food everybody kept talking about in the media.’” The vending machine space food was a hit among kids as well. “Our space food really started to promote the space program,” Andrey says. He is often invited to “Spacefests” - events organized by the Russian Federal Space Agency for students all over the country.

Andrey Vedernikov’s new space cake is sure to be popular among this particular audience. There have already been orders placed from different cities in Russia. There is also a response from abroad. According to Mr. Vedernikov, about 20 different countries are interested in the new Russian souvenir - the Moskovskiy pocket cake!



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