I was a kid, we put three guys on top of a bomb and lit the fuse. Oh, the “we” I’m
referring to wasn’t my family, it was our country. When the bomb went off, it launched
the guys to the moon. It also launched quite a few other things back home, as
personal favorite among the early consumer spin offs from the space program was
the Pillsbury Space Food Stick. These were small individually-wrapped fudgy, chocolaty
tubes that the astronauts were supposed to be eating on the way to the moon
(while drinking their Tang). They were soft, and didn’t create crumbs. A good
thing in zero gravity, my dad explained to me. He wouldn’t get them often, and
they didn’t fill me up enough for a meal, but they were great snacks. I doubt
they provided the kind of nutrition a growing boy needed, but they fueled my
flights of fancy while jumping around my front yard trying to imagine what it
would like to walk on the moon with its 1/6 gravity.
I was dismayed to learn at the Museum of Space
a few years ago that Space Food Sticks weren’t on the menu on the way to the
moon. It was just clever marketing. Anyway, like many other things in life that
I loved as a kid—boxed Noodles Romanoff, Sarah Lee frozen brownies with the shiny
icing, and Bugles corn snacks eaten off each fingertip—I never expected to
taste a 1970s Space Food Stick again.
on earth got me on this topic today? Well, being such a “famous” blogger, I get
dozens of press releases every day from PR firms trying to hock all manner of
goods to the Diabetic Population. My stock answer is: Send me a sample of
whatever it is, and I’ll think about it.
along with an automatic pill dispenser the size of a typewriter, super-warm
winter socks fit for Ice Station Zebra, and a half-dozen uninspiring cookbooks,
I got a box of these:
were billed as being gluten-free, low sugar, stevia-sweetened food bars—so you
can see why I was in no hurry to try them. Plus, they were not the first D-friendly
“food” bars I’d received. The box sat next to my desk unopened for a few
months. Then last week, I got disorganized and ran out of Kind Bars, my go-to
daily breakfast. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I took a risk and
opened the Promax LS energy bar box. The bar was small, and heavy. I prepared
myself for another “healthy” incarnation of sawdust. I was so suspicious that I
decided to hold off on my bolus until after the first bite.
the strange, matt-finish paper-like foil pouch, sniffed at the bar suspiciously
like a stray dog does, then took a bite. All of a sudden it was 1971. I was
eight years old, and I was eating a Space Food Stick again.
I’m not the only one who finds the Promax bars yummy. I made the mistake of
letting 11-year-old Rio eat one, so he could see what a Space Food Stick tasted
like, and now the box is suspiciously empty.
are some other differences between the past and the present beyond the shape. On
the dark side of the moon, the Promax bar is chocolate-coated, and the coating
is crumbly. The crumbs are likely to break off and float around your space capsule,
gumming up your instruments (or staining your khakis). But on the bright side
of the moon, the new Promax bars are more filling, and I find one holds me just
fine until lunch.
specs are 140 calories, 21 carbs, and 9 grams of fiber. One bar has about 10%
of your key vitamins and minerals, and about a quarter of the protein your body
needs for the day.
the most important difference between Space Food and Promax is that there are
no rockets. I’ve eaten three Promax bars so far, and my blood sugar has stayed
firmly down to earth each time.