We recreated the Polk County soup that went to space

Get the recipe for Chalet Suzanne’s Soup Romaine, which was requested by astronauts for the Apollo 15 mission.

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Moon Soup

Photo by Chalet Suzanne

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Today, we’re talking soup. More specifically, we’re talking about a very special recipe from Chalet Suzanne in Lake Wales that NASA astronauts requested by name before a mission to the moon.

The story on the soup

Chalet Suzanne was open in Lake Wales from 1931 to 2014, featuring a restaurant and inn. World War I veteran Carl Hinshaw helped run the restaurant and even had a public airport and runway built there. Among Chalet Suzanne’s many famous patrons was Col. James B. Irwin, an American astronaut, who would later be part of a 13-day flight to the moon — otherwise known as Apollo 15.

When building out the menu for the Apollo 15 journey, Col. Irwin made a special request to the NASA food specialist for Chalet Suzanne’s “Soup Romaine.” Since the soup met the nutritional requirements, NASA agreed and the food specialist recreated it. The creamy broth mixture was such a hit on the mission, that it made it onto two more flights (Apollo 16 + Apollo-Soyuz), this time along with Chalet Suzanne’s Vichyssoise and Seafood Mushroom soups.

Soup Romaine became so popular due to the missions’ press coverage that the public started craving it too. With support from the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, Chalet Suzanne created a special label for the soup, dubbing it Moon Soup, and the museum started selling it in their gift shop.

Moon Soup recipe and results

We had to try this soup for ourselves. Donning an apron instead of a spacesuit, we attempted to recreate Chalet Suzanne’s famous Moon Soup and the results were... interesting, to say the least.

Although we couldn’t recreate the soup to an exact “T,” we based it off of this recipe, that aimed to get as close to the soup’s listed ingredients as possible.

Ingredients listed on the back of a can of Chalet Suzanne’s Moon Soup:

  • Water
  • Diced mushrooms
  • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil
  • Chopped spinach
  • Wheat flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Carrots
  • Onion powder
  • Turmeric
  • Yeast extract
  • Additive ingredients like hydrolyzed soy, corn protein, and more

What we put in our soup:

  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Chicken broth
  • Chopped romaine lettuce
  • Chopped spinach
  • Heavy cream
  • Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper

What we topped our soup with:

  • Parmesan crisps
  • Sour cream (mixed with lemon juice)
  • Heavy cream

Here are the instructions we followed in making the soup. We also used an immersion blender first, and then a regular blender, for a creamy smooth finish. Pro tip: Create a moon using leftover cream, and make parmesan crisps on the stovetop in the shape of stars.

According to a can of Chalet Suzanne’s Moon Soup, the soup can be served either cold or hot. With a hot soup, it suggests adding black pepper to taste. When served cold, you’re instructed to “garnish with sour cream, topped with a chopped hard-boiled egg and dusted with paprika.”

What we thought

  • Color: At first, we were a little concerned it wouldn’t achieve its unique bright green coloring. The trick? Keep on mixing until it’s the color of a lime.
  • Texture: Smooth and creamy. Pro tip: Make sure to blend in a regular blender to achieve consistency. Also, take out any of the large chunks of Romaine lettuce stems.
  • Smell: Truth be told, we’ve never smelled purified lettuce. The soup smelled like salad, with a hint of Tabasco sauce.
  • Taste: The soup was better than we expected. It was mild, light, and tasted like spinach and sour cream.
  • Our rating: 3.5/5 moons

Send us photos of your Moon Soup recreations for a chance to be featured in our newsletter. Creating the soup may be just “one small step for man,” but it’s certainly “one giant leap for mankind.”

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