Food by VICE

A Top-Secret Austin Queso Recipe Was Lost in Israel's Failed Moon Landing

Along with the entire English-language Wikipedia and the Bible, the Beresheet lander carried the recipe for Kerbey Lane's queso.

by Bettina Makalintal
Apr 16 2019, 6:57pm

Photo: Luc Viatour/; bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

Late last week, Israel launched a lunar lander called Beresheet with the goal of plopping it onto a northern region of the Moon. That, of course, didn’t go as planned; after communication and engine problems, Beresheet crashed, foiling Israel’s attempt at its first proper Moon landing. With it, according to the Austin Statesman, was one of Austin’s best-kept secrets: a well-loved queso recipe.

If you’re eating your way through Austin, you’ll encounter some of America’s best barbecue, tacos, and queso. And when it’s the latter you’re after, plenty of people will point you to Kerbey Lane, a local restaurant chain whose version is often considered one of the best in the city. Kerbey Lane has never published its recipe before, according to KXAN—though clever recipe developers have approximated it—but it did send it to the Moon via Beresheet.

Beresheet was a joint venture between an aerospace and defense company and an Israeli nonprofit, so while it was meant to collect data, the Statesman reported, the nonprofit also included documents like “dictionaries in 27 languages, the entire contents of the English-language Wikipedia, the Bible, and 25,000 other books and other resources” as a pseudo-time capsule. And because life on Earth would truly be grim without good queso, Austin’s mayor included Kerbey Lane’s recipe—plus a picture of Leslie Cochran, one of the city’s most iconic “weirdos.”

“Have you heard of queso? Have you tried it? Do it. Do it now. It is amazing. I am enclosing a recipe for Kerbey Lane Queso, making it the first queso recipe to land on the moon,” Mayor Steve Adler wrote in a letter, which was addressed “Greetings, Extraterrestrials!” under the joking guise of swaying aliens away from New York or Los Angeles, and to Austin instead. Chips, of course, weren’t included, but aliens probably should learn to enjoy eating straight queso with a spoon.

If you want to know the recipe, good news: It’s now public in Adler’s letter. The specific cheese, of course, is “redacted for Earthlings,” but guess you’ll just have to try a bunch of quesos to figure out what works. That sounds like a reaaaaal tough task.