Waseca, Minnesota: Walter's Publishing Company, 1986. Single volume, measuring 8.5 x 6.75 inches: , 188, plus unpaginated inserted section headers, tables, and advertisements. Original black plastic spiral binding, glossy red pictorial card wrappers. Full-page black-and-white photographic portrait of McAuliffe after title page; ten full-page color illustrated section heads (“Bread and Rolls” appearing twice), with text on verso in blue and black. Tables and ads at rear, printed on various paper stocks and in multiple colors. Light wear and rubbing to wrappers, creasing to lower wrapper.
First edition of this heartbreakingly optimistic cookbook, hurriedly produced in advance of the 1986 Challenger mission that included Christa McAuliffe, the teacher chosen as the “first citizen passenger” of an American space flight. In 1984, Ronald Reagan announced the NASA Teacher in Space Project, which drew more than 11,000 applicants from around the country: “When that shuttle lifts off, all of America will be reminded of the crucial roles teachers and education play in the life of our nation.” Sharon Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher from New Hampshire, was NASA’s first choice for the 1986 mission on the space shuttle Challenger, which had executed nine successful flights from 1983 to 1985. On January 28, 1986, during McAuliffe’s launch, a fuel seal malfunctioned, leading to the explosion of the shuttle and the death of everyone aboard. This cookbook, organized in advance of the launch by Bonnie Fakes, a teacher finalist from Tennessee, contains recipes from finalists from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Other contributors include Nancy Reagan; former astronaut John Glenn; Jake Garn, the first congressman in space; and Challenger commander Dick Scobee, who also died in the launch failure. After the title page is a full-page portrait of McAuliffe, who contributed two recipes. Other notable contributions include themed cookies, like “Moon Rocks” and “Impact Melts,” from NASA employees. At the end is a calendar of the “Shuttle Standard Menu,” with three meals per day labeled A, B, and C, rather than breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each item is identified as “thermostabilized,” “intermediate moisture,” “rehydratable,” “natural form,” or “beverage (rehydratable.)” Inconsistently designed and published on mixed paper stock, the work has a rushed, ad-hoc feeling to it, likely to meet the deadline of publishing before the launch. After the disaster, a second issue of the cookbook appeared with an additional leaf about the fate of the Challenger. OCLC lists only four institutional holdings. A very good copy.