Jell-O: An Easter Treat in Space
On May 19, 1996, astronaut Shannon Lucid wrote “a letter home" from the Russian space station Mir, discussing an Easter treat that became a weekly tradition for Lucid and her cosmonaut space-mates:
Here it is, another Sunday on Mir!!! And how, you might ask, do I know that it’s Sunday? Easy!!! I have on my pink socks and Yuri, Yury, and I have just finished sharing a bag of Jell-O!!!
When light follows darkness every 45 minutes, it is important that I have simple ways of marking the passage of time. The pink socks were found on STS-76 and Kevin, the commander, said that they were obviously put on as a surprise for me, so I took them with me over to Mir and decided to wear them on Sundays.
And the Jell-O? It is the greatest improvement in spaceflight since my first flight over 10 years ago. When I found out that there was a refrigerator onboard Mir, I asked the food folks at JSC if they could put Jell-O in a drink bag. Once aboard Mir, we could just add hot water, put the bag in the refrigerator and, later, have a great treat. Well, the food folks did just that and sent a variety of flavors with me to try out. We tried the Jell-O first as a special treat for Easter. It was so great that we decided the Mir-21/ NASA-2 crew tradition would be to share a bag of Jell-O every Sunday night. (Every once in a while, Yuri will come up to me and say, “Isn’t today Sunday?” and I will say “No, it’s not. No Jell-O tonight!!!”)