I can’t say that I recommend astronaut food anymore. Driving 900 miles with a “device” to help you get all the way to Florida without stopping for a pee break to set a girlfriend straight about who you think is your boyfriend, and then packing props like airpistols and rubber rope that just can’t be explained away with “you never know who might be walking around in a parking lot” to me says, confusion. And who isn’t going to be confused when you have been trained to look at any kind of dust and call it dinner? You want some juice? Just stir some water around in the glass with this electric orange powder, and then for dinner moisten up these little moon rocks for some tasty stew and you don’t have to worry about the ice cream, because if you’ve got the water, we got Dairy Queen in a pouch. You eat that kind of thing long enough and a tiny wink from the man in question or maybe a “I had a really nice time up in space with you” is going to mean “I love you and only you” and get you into more trouble than you need. Especially after all that work you did to become an astronaut in the first place.
No need to rush back into reality. She can go easy, starting with a little lentil soup. Same idea, but it is not just a bunch of chemicals pumped up and painted to look like something it is not. You add a little water to lentils, and you are going to get the real thing at the end of your troubles.
Start with an real life onion, hard on the outside and bursting with juice on the inside. Cut it up into a fine dice. Pour your best olive oil, one that smells like an olive and tastes like an olive, into a heavy dutch oven. Throw in two or three whole cloves of garlic and stir them around until they are golden. Add the onion, (and if you like, a few finely chopped carrots) a few red pepper flakes, and some chopped parsley. Over a medium heat, take care of the onions, stirring them without abandoning them, until they are soft and delicious when you bite into one. Season with salt. You can add a tiny sprig of rosemary (go easy) or a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Add a few tablespoons of tomato sauce of paste to the hot spot in your pan, and stir it around a little on its own before combining it with the rest of what’s in the pan. The add a few spoons of water, and just let that sit. In another pan, pour in a 1/2 pound of rinsed puy or norcia lentils (one is from France and the other from Umbria) with plenty of water and salt to make the water taste seasoned. Add a bay leaf and a spill of olive oil. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook with the lid propped on for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Strain the lentils and add to the vegetable mix. You can either use the cooking liquid from the lentils, or your own homemade (NOT POWDERED) stock, or just water. I prefer stock. The more real food in your life the better off you’re going to be.