Preparing a Thanksgiving feast in space is a lot easier than here on Earth, but the end after dehydration, irradiation, and rehydration aren’t exactly the height of appetizing. Still, the environment more than makes up for it, and apparently the cornbread dressing is (relatively) fantastic.
November 28, 2013: NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins [left] and Rick Mastracchio [right] pose with the their Thanksgiving feast including cornbread dressing. Image credit: NASA
Craving some of that ubiquitous cornbread dressing that’s good enough to last year after year of constantly-improving menus on the shuttles and space station? You can make some fresh here on Earth, although we recommend skipping the dehydration, irradiation, and rehydration.
- 12 cups crumbled cornbread
- 3 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups peeled, chopped onions
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 tsp. rubbed sage
November 27, 2008: Astronauts Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane Kimbrough assemble Thanksgiving feast in the space shuttle’s galley and stowage lockers with cornbread dressing not yet in evidence. Image credit: NASA
- Preheat to 350°F (or to 325°F for convection ovens).
- Puree peeled onion and celery.
- Sauté onion and celery mixture with butter.
- Mix together crumbled cornbread, sautéd vegetables, herbs, and spices.
- Add chicken broth.
- Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Pour in mixture.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Optional: Freeze-dry, reducing mass from 145 grams to 50 grams per serving. Send to space, and rehydrate.
Let us know if you try it out! In the meantime, enjoy more photos of astronauts and cosmonauts celebrating their feast-day in space:
November 22, 2001: Astronaut Frank L. Culbertson [left] and cosmonaut Vladimir N. Dezhurov share their Thanksgiving feast strapped to the table. Image credit: NASA
November 27, 2008: Thanksgiving is particularly crowded with the usual space station crew supplemented by Endeavour space shuttle astronauts. Clockwise from top center: Sandra Magnus, Shane Kimbrough, Eric Boe, Yury Lonchakov, Steve Bowen (partially visible behind Lonchakov), Donald Pettit, Michael Fincke, Gregory Chamitoff, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Chris Ferguson (partially visible at top right). Image credit: NASA
November 23, 2014: Thanksgiving feastof turkey, candied yams, cherry and blueberry cobbler, vegetables, and other treats that just need heat and water, all strapped and taped to the gallery table in the Unity module. Image credit: NASA/Butch Wilmore
November 26, 2015: Posing for the found-family photo while finishing up their Thanksgiving feast of smoked turkey, candied yams, corn and potatoes au gratin. Image credit: NASA/Scott Kelly
Check out what this year’s astronauts are Thankful for in this year’s message from the space station: