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An article from Discovery, FEB 16, 2010:

The Case of the Contraband Corned Beef Sandwich


Food, Not Fun

To put this in perspective, it is worth remembering that in the early days of the Space Age, food was treated more as a liability than a necessity. It was feared that crumbs could float around, clogging sensitive equipment or get breathed in by astronauts. Odor from smelly snacks could stink-out the cramped space capsule and there were also concerns about food-borne bacteria that could cause stomach upset.


A Culinary Crime

During the Gemini flights, food wasn't really needed (as astronauts only spent a few hours in space), but to see how the human body reacted to consuming food in microgravity was important, especially as longer forays to lunar orbit in the upcoming Apollo Program required food supplies for a few days.

On the March 23 flight, NASA had some food experiments to test on the two-man crew of the Gemini III space capsule, Commander Gus Grissom and Pilot John Young. The prime focus was to see how astronauts could work and eat efficiently while keeping mess and odor to a minimum.

The Gemini III menu contained hot dogs, brownies, chicken legs and apple sauce, all contained in squeezy tubes or small packets. Each item was delicately packaged to save on space, improve on safety and convenience. The main point here was that it was to be a controlled scientific experiment.

Alas, John Young had other ideas.

A little under two hours into the mission, just as the two astronauts were discussing the food that had been packed for them, Young produced a corned beef on rye sandwich from his flight suit pocket and presented it to a surprised Commander Grissom.

The following discussion ensued:

The whole episode lasted for 30 seconds, and the corned beef tasting session lasted for only 10 of those seconds. Apparently the sandwich didn't cope very well in microgravity conditions.

Needless to say, NASA and Congress were not amused.

A Storm in a Sandwich

It transpired that another member of the Gemini Project, Walter Schirra (who had a reputation as being the joker amongst the astronaut team) wasn't flying on that day and he was able to take a trip to the astronauts' favorite deli in Cocoa Beach, Fla., to pick up the contraband.

This is where the corned beef sandwich began its extraterrestrial journey; from Schirra's purchase to Young's pocket, into space and then back to earth at an Appropriations Committee meeting.

At that meeting, Sen. George E. Shipley blasted NASA: "My thought is that after you spend a great deal of money and time, to have one of the astronauts slip a sandwich aboard this vehicle, frankly, is just a little disgusting."

The media didn't see the funny side either as the Washington Post published the headline "Two Astronauts Team up as Comics."

Although Gemini mission managers defended Young's digression, NASA Administrator James Webb (ever mindful of the political ramifications for this prank) issued a firm dressing down: "The training programme should have been so impressive to these men that they would not have done a thing like that. I do not agree that you can tolerate this kind of deviation from what is clearly the purpose and requirement for success on these flights."

Although the corned beef sandwich incident didn't appear to damage Young's career (he went on to serve in the Apollo Program, landed on the moon during Apollo 16 and later piloted the Shuttle), he was reprimanded. Also, a slew of new regulations were drawn up to prevent unsanctioned food from making it into space ever again.

In hindsight, it might look as if a mountain was made out of the proverbial molehill, but the response of officials in light of unofficial food in orbit shows how high tensions were in the 1960s. There was little room for error and any free variables in human spaceflight plans were kept to a minimum. So when an astronaut took it upon himself to pack his own lunch, it became an intolerable act of disrespect rather than being a funny stunt.


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Mischka & DonnaJames
An even faster way that has been around since the first MS Windows -- Just use keyboard CTRL / PRINT SCREEN. That will copy your screen. click into any graphic program (like PAINT) then use SHIFT / INSERT (or find paste in the menu bar). Once you have it in a graphic program, you can select a portion and crop it, edit it and save it in different formats.


Love em grilled with Russian dressing.


Here is a Benji's Corned beef sandwich:


A Reuben is also topped with Thousand Island dressing, besides the sauerkraut and swiss cheese.

I agree, mpp. If you can't get a real mustard, horseradish mustard or just horseradish will do.


Go to the Window icon in the lower left corner of your screen. Click on it and scroll down to Snip and Sketch. Click on that. When you find it, I will walk you through how to do it if you can't figure it out yourself. :-))


A Reuben has sauerkraut, Swiss cheese... don't really know what to call this, but horseradish is good on corned beef...


Ah. I don't know how to do that, dear sister.


Fiona, take a Snip and Sketch of the pics you want and save it as a jpeg. wa la - problem solved!!!
::drying those crocodile tears:::


Oh, dear, I made sure to take it from an article about "authentic Jewish delis in Chicago." I effed up again! I barely know the difference between these and Reubens. But the only pics I found that had pickles on the side and nothing but beef as filling were webpage pics, not jpegs, so I couldn't capture them.

:::almost weeping:::

Thanks, Heidi and Lefty. :-)


Relatives are spinning in their graves at the thought of corned beef sandwich with a side of blintzes.



Take those pickles and yellow mustard off that corned beef! Pickles go on the side. And that's processed corned beef, not good Jewish Deli corned beef. I'll pass.
I will add, a GOOD corned beef sandwich is the world's most perfect food.... especially with a side dish of blueberry blintzes.