There's nothing like a little eel and octopus after a long, hard day in space.
They're not part of the swimming menagerie aboard the space shuttle Columbia. They're delicacies prepared in Japan for Japanese astronaut Chiaki Mukai and her six American crew mates.
The astronauts will dig in to the 13 freeze-dried and sterilized dishes--just add water, heat and voila !--sometime this week or next.
Mika Takeda is nervously awaiting feast day. Her dried tofu stuffed with chicken and vegetables won the grand prize in the Japanese space agency's fly-your-food-on-the-shuttle contest. The prize? A trip to Kennedy Space Center to see Columbia lift off on its two-week laboratory research mission.
Here's a sampling of what's aboard Columbia: vegetable sushi; bamboo shoots and half-dried bonito fish; grilled salmon with sesame seeds; stewed vegetables and fish dumplings, and of course, Takeda's piece de resistance .