With the final flight of the space shuttle program across the United States last week I thought it would be a good time to revisit this retro snack that actually predated the space shuttle.

These were a big part of my childhood, even if they didn’t play a big part in the actual space program; a brief look at the NASA website did not reveal any use of Space Food Sticks by actual astronauts but apparently the Pilbury Company in America did invent them for consumption in space (although they did also show an advertisement where the astronaut opens a hole in his mask to insert a space food stick – an act that would negate the need for the mask – so who knows).

Sampling a Space Food Stick has revealed that they have retained the exact flavour they had 30 or more years ago, not unlike a cake mix but with a chewy consistency. They were always pitched as something different to chocolate bars or other confectionery and even now they are found amongst the supposed energy and muesli bars and coffee than other junky snacks.

How nutritious are they? Who cares. like all of these they can’t compete with real healthy alternatives like fruit, but they never were supposed to. They taste great, are chewy and come in easy to manage packaging. But I have two problems:

1. They are much smaller now. I know, I have also grown, and it could be argued it’s like visiting a kindergarten urinal and discovering how small they are (I promise I don’t do this too often), but I swear these are much smaller. The exterior packaging remains the same size but then you open a much smaller individual wrapper (now plastic, not foil), then an even smaller ‘pair’ (see below) of space food sticks. It is like the most disappointing Babushka Doll ever.

2. The two sticks inside each wrapper are near impossible to separate. They are worse than Scotch Finger Biscuits. I think, and I should preface this by saying I haven’t really thought much about this, that the dividing line between the two bars is too shallow.

Space Food Sticks get 4.5 stars for taste. 1 star for size. 0 stars for separability
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Nougat covered by chocolate and coconut. Yes or no?

The Summer Roll has been around for decades, but I am still not quite sure what makes this summery. Perhaps it’s the coconut that has a tropical feel, but Summer Roll is the classic example of some market research that indicated that ‘Autumnal Log’ would move less units.

Nothing wrong with the ingredients, so long as you like Nougat, Chocolate and Coconut, but there are combinations that work (beer, burger, chips), and those that don’t (ice cream, bacon and whiskey). Summer Roll is just one of those that doesn’t work. Controversial call I know, but this blog isn’t afraid to take on the big issues like this.

1.5 stars