Missions and menus

I do not know why the Public Religion Research Institute included this entry -- the menu for NASA's mission to Mars -- in its Morning Buzz posting today, but I found it fascinating reading, especially since what I read immeidately before PRRI's Morning Buzz was Nicole Sotelo's Young Voices column, Nun's diary of uncharted waters an inspiration for women today, which includes excerpts from the diary of a Carmelite nun who crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Belgium to Maryland in 1790 to found a mission.

Sr. Clare Jospeh Dickinson recorded one evening repast: "Some hogs feet and pullet ... & a bit of hard Salt Bief in the usual Elegant Man-ner one plate one knife & fork among 4."

Contrast that with the Mars mission menu, which is "all vegetarian because the astronauts will not have dairy or meat products available." The NASA chefs have about 100 recipes; many include tofu and nuts for the protein. One example: "a Thai pizza that has no cheese but is covered with carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, scallions, peanuts and a homemade sauce that has a spicy kick."

More than the menu from the 1790 trip, what impressed me was what the Carmelites had stowed in the ships hold: 1,300 books. These women were traveling for a purpose and they knew it.

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