Real Astronaut Food

When I was a kid, we never had the drink of the astronauts, Tang. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever had “astronaut ice cream” until I was a teenager. Astronaut food wasn’t the thing in our household.

I guess that makes sense on a lot of levels, but mostly because astronaut food was pretty boring stuff. The initial food was nothing more than barely flavored paste in tubes. It took a while before the folks down on the ground learned that you really have to over-flavor food for those in space (something about weightlessness makes normal food seem bland), and even longer before they cared beyond the simple aspects of nutrition.

One of our early astronauts, Wally Schirra, a well-known jokester, decided to help out one of his fellow space travelers with a culinary delight – a corned beef sandwich. He went to a local deli and slipped it to one of the astronauts, John Young, just before his Gemini 3 launch.

Once in space, Young pulled out the sandwich and offered some to fellow Gemini astronaut Gus Grissom. Within seconds of pulling the sandwich out of the bag, it began to disintegrate and crumbs started flying around the capsule. They quickly put it away, but not after it became noticed by mission control.

After they returned to Earth they received not a fresh sandwich, but a dressing down by their superiors and eventually Congress. There was concern that crumbs would get stuck in the electronics and cause an issue. To read more on the story, check out the article on Mental Floss.

Guinness-Braised Beef Brisket

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I’d go to space and back for a slice of this corned beef.

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I started with a piece of meat already in the brine.

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In the slow cooker.

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Look at that beautiful color.

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The tang of the corning spices and the richness of the Guinness…..yum!

Guinness-Braised Beef Brisket

| Servings: 6 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)


1 cup water
1 cup chopped onion (1″ pieces)
1 cup chopped carrot (1″ pieces)
1 cup chopped celery (1″ pieces)
2 cups Guinness stout (or more and reduce water accordingly)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried dill
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-salt beef broth
6 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 (3-pound) cured corned beef brisket, trimmed
½ head green cabbage


Combine first 11 ingredients in a large electric slow cooker, stirring until well blended; top with beef. Cover and cook on HIGH 8 hours or until beef is tender. Add wedges of cabbage with 1 hour remaining.

Remove beef; cut diagonally across grain into 1/4-inch slices. Discard broth mixture.

Nutritional Info: Amount per serving
Calories: 226
Calories from fat: 39%
Fat: 9.7g
Saturated fat: 3.2g
Monounsaturated fat: 4.7g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4g
Protein: 17.9g
Carbohydrate: 15.2g
Fiber: 0.9g
Cholesterol: 87mg
Iron: 2.2mg
Sodium: 1105mg
Calcium: 28mg


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Categories: Beef 2, Beer, Irish, Low Carb, Main Dish 3, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

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4 Comments on “Real Astronaut Food”

  1. March 12, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    I still think fondly of Tang for that reason.


  2. March 12, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    Great story! My one claim to fame was working on the development of Tang for General Foods when I was just starting out. Not my proudest moment!


  3. March 13, 2015 at 4:27 am #

    “Astronaut” was nearly always top of the “when I grow up I want to be..” list for 60s kids.

    Then the day comes when you realise that the space agencies ain’t hiring colourblind folks just yet, and are unlikely to start doing so any time soon….


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