The event was a promotion for a relatively new brand of soy sauce and teriyaki glaze sold under the brand name Soy Vay. If you're a longtime reader of Bites, you know that I'm a sucker for a good food pun, so when I saw the name of this product and realized they had named the mission "A Pollo 13," my interest was piqued. (Although I'm not sure that that the organizers realized that the original Apollo 13 mission was the one where everything went horribly wrong.)
The team constructed a vacuum-sealed capsule shaped to look like a Soy Vay bottle, which they filled with a marinade made from their products. A heating element using an exothermic chemical reaction was included to actually cook the chicken during its almost two-hour journey into the ionosphere. Using a large weather balloon, they launched the capsule from Chickasaw Trace Park near Columbia, Tenn. After reaching an altitude of 104,572 feet, the balloon burst as planned, and a parachute deployed to slow the capsule's descent to terra firma and protect the 1-pound poultry payload.
A recovery team tracked the capsule via GPS and located it hanging from a tree somewhere near the outskirts of town. After the team rescued it, the chicken was brought back to Cumberland Park in Nashville where a crowd had assembled all day listening to music, enjoying free samples and buying Soy Vay-flavored dishes from the Jonbalaya food truck.
Was it a silly event? Sure. But no crazier than the zombie run going on nearby at the same time, many of whose competitors joined the Soy Vay crowd just to make it even more bizarre. Soy Vay is sold across the country, but the company chose Nashville as the first place to stage one of these space missions since we are, of course, the It City.
If you'd like to try some of Soy Vay's line of preservative-free, kosher marinades, visit your local Kroger store. If you'd like to see some video from the intrepid mission of A Pollo 13, check out the video below: