Tabasco: Secret Sauce of Space Travel

That bottle to the left, Neatoramanauts, may just be the secret sauce for interplanetary travel. That's right, tabasco.

Turns out that after spending some time in space, astronauts' taste in food change:

If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce.

In fact, they may start craving foods they didn't necessarily like on Earth.

"They crave [spicy] peppers, they crave sour and sweet things," says Jean Hunter, a food engineer at Cornell University. That means Tabasco sauce was definitely on the menu for space shuttle astronauts.

Why this sudden interest in hot peppers? Part of the reason may be that after arriving in space, astronauts lose their sense of smell, which largely governs the pleasurable taste of food. An example of this is coffee. "If you hold your nose and sip your coffee, you're getting just a bitter liquid," says Hunter.


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In the military, almost every MRE comes with a small bottle of tobassco sauce. The same phenomenon occurs... after a few days, everyone starts to use it. This is not because of our loss of smell, but rather because shelf stable food tastes horrible. The tobassco sauce is the only thing that tastes the way it is supposed to and that is why we all use it.
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