The smoked turkey resembles sliced deli meat but stiffer, the candied yams are bland inside, the green beans taste like they've been microwaved to death and the corn bread stuffing has a broth-heavy, institutional flavor.
Grandma's home cooking, it's not.
Then again, Grandma's Thanksgiving dinners were never irradiated, freeze-dried, vacuum-packed into plastic pouches and then launched into space to be served 220 miles above Earth. That's what the Turkey Day meals for the astronauts aboard space shuttle Endeavour have endured.
Yikes. My other favorite part of the story is that apparently NASA is terrible at math. There are seven astronauts and three crew members, but the geniuses at the space agency sent up only six Thanksgiving meals. (Although with a food review like the one above, are they really missing out?) Luckily the astronauts said they are scraping together turkey from the space station pantry so everyone could experience space's version of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
What about dessert? Pumpkin pie with whipped cream? Nope, but at least dessert passed hungry journalists' muster.
A week before Thanksgiving, NASA gave reporters a taste-test of the astronauts' holiday dinner. The smoked turkey was slightly stiffer than deli meat, like after it has been left in the refrigerator a week past its expiration date. The candied yams had a syrupy sweetness outside that dissolved into blandness in the middle. The green beans with mushrooms tasted like they have been frozen and then microwaved to an inch of their life.
The saving grace was a sublime cranapple dessert. There was a tartness to the apples and sweetness to the cranberries mixed with pecans and syrup in a dish that resembles cobbler filling.
NASA takes special pride in desserts.
"All our desserts are wonderful," Perchonok said.
If you have a craving for the freeze-dried experience, NASA posted a recipe for its cornbread dressing.