Friday, September 6, 2013

John F. Kennedy and the Rise of Space Food

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a famous speech in which he reaffirmed America's commitment to landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

Less than seven years later, on July 20, 1969, as part of the Apollo 11 space mission, astronaut Neil Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module (nicknamed “The Eagle”) and became the first man to walk on the surface of the moon. The crew spent a total of two and a half hours on the moon, performing experiments and collecting soil and rock samples to return to Earth.

So what in the world does this have to do with food?

A lot, if you’re talking about space food! According to sources at NASA, the first American astronauts had to eat bland, bite-sized cubes of food, freeze dried powders, and semi-liquids that were squeezed from aluminum tubes.

By the late 1960s, the quality of space food had greatly improved. The Apollo astronauts were the first to have hot water, which improved the food's texture and taste. Soon, hundreds of food and beverage items were available for astronauts in space. They could choose from beef stroganoff, chicken teriyaki, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with meatballs, peanut butter, seafood, candy, cereal, nuts, and fruit.

Although President Kennedy never ate food in space, we do know that he liked New England clam chowder, seafood, baked beans, chicken, turkey, and sandwiches with soup, fruit, and corn muffins.

If you'd like to make some corn muffins today, these are the ingredients you will need:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

This is what to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin pan with butter. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add egg, oil, and milk, stir to combine. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400 for about 15-18 minutes. Serve warm with butter and enjoy!

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