Raspberries & Rum

No, that’s not a drink or dessert recipe (although it sounds very tasty indeed) – it’s the taste and scent of a dust cloud in the Milky Way, at least according to a recent Guardian article.  The report says:

“In the latest survey, astronomers sifted through thousands of signals from Sagittarius B2, a vast dust cloud at the centre of our galaxy. While they failed to find evidence for amino acids, they did find a substance called ethyl formate, the chemical responsible for the flavour of raspberries…Curiously, ethyl formate has another distinguishing characteristic: it also smells of rum.”


I’ve read a lot of science fiction over the years – some of my favorite authors are William Gibson, C.J. Cherryh, and Larry Niven.  But I never imagined that galactic clouds would have a smell, let alone a taste. Suddenly I’m envisioning future culinary tours of space, thronged with haute cuisine passengers waiting to sample vaporized intergalactic delicacies.

My ideal galactic cloud would smell of hot apple pie, combined with the mouth- and eye-watering flavors of fresh serrano chiles and extra-sharp cheddar cheese. I also wouldn’t mind the scent of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and the taste of a very dry gin martini. But that’s just me. How about you – what’s your ultimate galactic combination?

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