On Monday, Russian cosmonauts surprised their mission control when they requested 15 packages of mayonnaise to be sent in the upcoming shipment of food to the International Space Station (ISS) instead of lemons and tomatoes. However, it is not very unusual, as cosmonauts and astronauts often spend months in space, restricted to only several foods day-in and day-out.
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti brought an espresso with her to the International Space Station (ISS) in November 2014. American astronaut John Young, who later went to the Moon, challenged some safety protocols when he ate a corned beef sandwich that he snuck in to orbit in 1965.
However, nothing can beat Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield's space kitchen aboard the ISS, which he used to prepare burritos, gourmet pasta and whatever else he could get his hands on with Mythbusters' Adam and Jamie guiding his mission from Houston.
Alcohol: Forbidden Treat or Mission Necessity?
A heated argument is whether cosmonauts and astronauts "booze up" in orbit. A leading researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Problems who took part in preparing cosmonauts for the Salyut-7 space station in the 1980s told Rossiyskaya Gazeta in 2007 that it was an unofficial part of the protocol to pack a "special sauce" for the mission as the "psychological pressure" that builds up when three people spend a months together in a confined environment requires a release.
Cosmonaut Georgy Grechko corroborated the story:
Yes, there was cognac in space. Back in the day, the decision whether or not to allow sending cognac to space was discussed even at the level of a board at the Ministry of Health…. Academician Gazenko told us then: "In orbit, people have a very difficult emotional state. If before sleep, the guys drink 5-7 grams of cognac, I support it."… On board we had a tube with 125 grams of cognac which said "coffee."
Cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov, who spent over 113 days on the Salyut-7 in 1982, and a total of over 373 days in space and holds a world record for time on spacewalks, told Novaya Gazeta in 2000 that alcohol not only played a role in releasing personal tensions, but also nucleotides from harmful space radiation.
30 grams is enough because of increased blood flow to the brain as blood vessels expand in zero gravity. 40 grams work the way 100 would back on Earth.