Spotlight on an Original Food – Vegetable Paste Tube Food
In Reversal, I establish that the food in the Mirror Universe is, for the most part, pretty lousy. Doug even comments on it, and notes that he and his men will often go hunting if game animals are available. It almost doesn’t matter what they taste like; they are still assumed to be far better than normal fare.
By the time of the alternate timeline recounted in Temper, the food on the ISS Defiant is little better than slop. And in the history as described by Doug in Fortune, there is a rationing system. Cards with various letters have differing values. But the cards only refer to the number of times per week that a crew member is promised (this promise is often broken) a day with at least one meal containing meat. The cards say nothing about vegetables.
Because fruits and vegetables are necessary for good health and for a fit fighting force, the nutrients need to, somehow, be supplied. Enter the paste tubes.
As should be obvious, these are meant to look and feel like toothpaste tubes. There is no information on whether the contents are any color other than white.
The diner should not be tempted by them at all, and they probably don’t have much of a taste, either. Lili gets them to taste like something by squeezing out their innards and frying the mess with salt and linfep fat or some other fat in order to make a somewhat squishy version of potato chips, meant to be consumed with synthbeer.
As another reminder of the difference between the Mirror side of the pond and ours, I think the tubes succeed pretty well. A society that values women, or cooking or taste or agriculture would not stand for them. But in the Mirror Universe, they don’t care, so Vitamin C, fiber and other nutrients are only supplied in this manner.