Food Fit for The Martian

the martian

Another “Martian” encounter for “The People’s Friend” Team!

Recently, our book group met to discuss Andy Weir’s novel “The Martian”. It’s a near (ish) future tale about a planned month-long mission to Mars that is abandoned when a storm threatens to destroy the team’s return vehicle. The team escape, all except one, who suffers a serious accident on the dash to the vehicle and his body is reluctantly left on Mars.

However, Mark Watney, the team’s botanist, isn’t dead, but wounded and unconscious – we discover him in the opening chapter very much alive and alone on the red planet.

One potato, two potatoes.

The story deals with the way he survives a day at a time, meeting each problem as it comes with a mixture of brilliant science, unfailing humour and a fair sprinkling of bad language. His first triumph is turning the potatoes NASA kindly supplied for the astronauts’ Thanksgiving dinner into a crop that might keep him going until the next mission is due to arrive in four years’ time.

Potatoes feature pretty heavily throughout the book. In fact, it would be fair to say that some of our group had even more of a surfeit of potatoes by the end than Mark Watney. (There is a lot of very detailed potato science at some points, but some of us like that sort of thing!)

Martian mischief afoot?

So was it mischief or a wish to stay close to the theme of the book that led me to bake potato and peanut butter brownies for the snack to accompany our discussion that evening?

I’ll let you decide; all I can say is that the brownies went down well even with the folks who thought they never wanted any further close encounters with potatoes again!

If you’d like to give them a go, you’ll find the recipe in our May 19 issue.


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Marion McGivern

As editor of the cookery, money, pets and eco pages, Marion covers a wide range of regular Features content. Along with the rest of the Team, she enjoys finding interesting features for both the weekly and Special issues that readers will love. Having so much variety every day means that over ten years with the “Friend” has just flown by!