Space Food Sticks

The low-calorie, nutritious predecessors of today's "energy bars" made their earthly debut in 1969 after a successful voyage around the moon. The space-age snacks - like Tootsie Rolls in shape and texture -came in chocolate, butterscotch, and peanut-butter flavors. Each was individually wrapped in cosmic-yellow aluminum foil.

The trendy sticks with the out-of-this-world cachet were a commercial version of the food cubes Pillsbury had developed for astronauts to eat.

The cubes had been the first solid food consumed in space, accompanying Scott Carpenter on his five-hour Mercury mission in May 1962. (Weightless food crumbs were seen as a hazard in space: The cubes were crumb-free.)

Today's shuttle astronauts dine on a less-processed selection of freeze-dried foods such as roast chicken, strawberries, even ice cream.

Back on Earth, Space Food Sticks figuratively lost altitude. By 1983, they had vanished from supermarket shelves, joining the ranks of such bygone food items as banana-flavored Quik, Bit-o-Licorice, and Kellogg's Nut 'n' Honey Crunch.

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