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First-generation American Enjoys Thanksgiving in Outer Space

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On Thursday, NASA released a Thanksgiving video message from inside the International Space Station. American astronauts, Christina Koch, Jessica Meir, and Andrew Morgan spoke about what Thanksgiving means to them.

“To me, Thanksgiving is all about family. I grew up in a family with five kids, and as a first generation American, I guess my family had to learn pretty quick how to put on a great feast,” said Meir.

Meir, who is also a marine biologist and physiologist, comes from a Swedish, Iraqi, and Israeli family who immigrated to the United States before she was born.

“I love [Thanksgiving] because its all about the togetherness, but not necessarily the commercialism. And in recent years I’ve also come to learn to love Friendsgiving,” Koch chimed in.

Viewers of the special Thanksgiving broadcast may recognize Koch and Meir from their history-making, all-female spacewalk back in October. This seven hour milestone trip to replace a power controller outside the International Space Station was a giant leap for women, and one step closer to NASA’s goal to put the first woman on the moon.

After discussing what Thanksgiving means to them, the crew switched themes to what many people think about when the holiday comes around… the food!

“We’ve talked a lot about our friends and family, but we’re also going to be enjoying a lot of really great food on board the International Space Station,” remarked Morgan as the crew pulled out a goody-bag of traditional foods that were sent to them.

Out of the clear plastic bags floated smaller bags of ‘traditional’ thanksgiving foods; smoked turkey in a pouch, green beans, potatoes, cornbread dressing, a packet of dry macaroni and cheese that requires in water, a can of jellied cranberry sauce, and a cranberry apple dessert.

“We were also coming up with some ideas of how we might create our own pumpkin pie, maybe with a little bit of cookies stuff in the pouch of candied yams,” Koch added.

This may seem standard, but the menu for Astronauts has come a long way since John Glenn, the first American to eat in space, ate applesauce in tubes, sugar tablets, pureed beef and vegetables. Refrigerated food in space didn’t come until 1973.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving), the three American astronauts shared their Thanksgiving feast with the other three current occupants in the International Space Station.

Elizabeth Frank is a Freelance Writer at Revolution English. Elizabeth currently reports from Guatemala and writes about news in Latin America for immigrants in the U.S. Prior to Revolution English, Elizabeth taught English in Guatemala for three years.