I’m just making out my shopping list for going to the grocery store tomorrow, and it includes everything I need to share a virtual dinner with the astronauts in space on Thursday, July 14. And no, unfortunately, I’m not launching to the ISS to join them. Food scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston thought it would be fun to give the crew an “All American Meal” — a typical American meal for the final mission of the shuttle and invite the public to join in by preparing the same food. Whatever you prepare it will be more aesthetically pleasing than the rehydrated food in plastic bags the shuttle and ISS crews will eat. Here’s the menu:
An appetizer of brie cheese, crackers and sausage; your choice of grilled chicken (which the shuttle crew will eat) or beef brisket (which will be enjoyed by the ISS crew), Southwestern corn and baked beans. The ISS crew will have beef brisket instead of chicken, but will enjoy the same side dishes as the shuttle crew. Desert for both crews consists of apple pie. The meal concludes with the quintessential American dessert, apple pie.
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“Since the mission is in July, we thought it would be fun to have a typical summer meal often enjoyed in our backyards with friends and family,” said Michele Perchonok, NASA food scientist and manager of the shuttle food system.
For the special space recipes or “formulations” as they are called by NASA food scientists, plus more information, video and imagery, visit this NASA webpage.
The crackers, brie, sausage and apple pie are commercial off-the-shelf products repackaged for spaceflight. NASA food scientists prepared the chicken, brisket, corn and beans in a laboratory at Johnson before the mission.
NASA didn’t specify what time the astronauts will be eating their All American Meal, so you can eat at any time during the day and know you’re eating the same thing as the astronauts in space did. Well, pretty close to the same thing anyway. Hopefully those of us sitting on Earth don’t have to rehydrate our food and eat out of plastic bags.