Weekend Reading: Gourmet Space Food, Ant Farm to Table, and a 22-Pound Fruitcake in the Shape of Texas

Ant farm
Flickr: Derek Gavey

In the wake of the UN's report recommending that people eat more bugs, one start-up will soon be selling home insect farming kits. Smithsonian Magazine reports that "Each Tiny Farms kit comes with all the necessary equipment, including a bug starter pack, to hatch and cultivate your choice of insect." It's not clear whether recipes will be included. —Karen Shimizu

When I think space food, I think those dehydrated ice cream bars I used to buy as a kid at the Natural History Museum gift shop. When NASA thinks space food, they think Alain Ducasse. As The Guardian reports, Ducasse, "the most Michelin-starred chef on the planet," has been sending food to the International Space Station since 2006—Breton lobster, roasted quails in a Madeiran wine sauce—and now he's partnering with Hénaff, a packaging company, to ensure none of the Ducasse deliciousness gets lost in transport. These meals will be enjoyed, writes The Guardian, during "special occasions": "On birthdays, holidays, and whenever a crew member goes on a mission outside the station or there is a change-over of staff." —Sophie Brickman

It's astonishing how much New Orleans' restaurant scene has rebounded after Katrina. There were about 800 eateries here before The Storm, compared to nearly 1,400 now. Stalwarts like Galatoire's and Antoine's have been rejuvenated like the dog-tired geriatrics in Cocoon, while newcomers like Sue Zemanick's small plate and craft cocktail-serving Ivy and Donald Link's newest venture Peche are keeping things fresh. However, there was one line from this New York Times piece on the city's restaurant renaissance that disturbed me: its mention of "austerely chic establishments that could as easily be in Brooklyn or Chicago." This city—this food—has always been like nothing else on this earth. Let's all raise a Sazerac to keeping it that way. —Keith Pandolfi

While I'm in agreement that most of the items on Bon Appetit's list of 50 holiday gifts you should not give to a food person are, in fact, gifts you should not give to a food person, I have to disagree with their inclusion of a 22-pound, Texas-shaped fruitcake. To say I'd be pretty psyched to find that under the tree would be an understatement. —Helen Rosner

Rick Bass, a contemporary novelist and short story writer published in The New Yorker, is traveling the country, visiting the writers he respects and admires most and cooking them meals to show his gratitude. From antelope shoulder to Hungarian partridges, Bass has a penchant for wild game, some of which he hunts himself in his home state of Montana. Here is a writer become cook, delivering tangible appreciation with thoughtfully prepared meals. To me, his project is a noble one. _ —Oliver Erteman_