31 Days of Happiness Countdown: This cooking show in space is just so delicious. (Day 17)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 17 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow (or click the links at the bottom) for another installment!

GIF via "Parks & Recreation."


I'm pretty sure the only thing that kept me from being an astronaut is the face-melting liftoff ... well that, and the decades of advanced math and science. But mostly the liftoff. I get nauseous on carnival rides, so exploring the final frontier just wasn't in the cards for me.

However, I am kind of obsessed with the astronauts who live and work in space. You know, the folks living in the space station, speaking to school children on Skype while their hair stands on end, and doing somersaults and experiments all the time. That's the kind of anti-gravitational fun I live for.

GIF via NASA.

So when I found European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's videos, my mind basically exploded.

While living on board the International Space Station, Cristoforetti made cooking videos. Yes, cooking videos! THIS IS TASTY IN SPACE, Y'ALL!

Generally, the meals in the final frontier are pretty standard, but every astronaut gets "bonus food" that reminds them of the flavors of home. In this video, Cristoforetti takes us lowly Earth-dwellers through the process of making turmeric chicken and whole red rice with mushrooms and peas. Forget outer space, Cristoforetti is living in flavor country.

I don't want to spoil the whole thing, but here are some highlights.

First, Cristoforetti doesn't use plates because that would be pointless. Instead, she plates her meal on a tortilla. This is a tip I will incorporate into my own life.

GIFs via ESA/YouTube.

To get the food to stick to the tortilla, she uses smashed pea cream as an adhesive. This is a tip I will not incorporate into my own life.

Also as she cooks, her dinner just keeps floating away which is hilarious the first time, and even better as she adds more food to the tortilla. #spaceprobz

You can (and totally should) watch Cristoforetti make a mean dinner below. It's got everything: space travel, mushrooms, floating tortillas. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, PEOPLE?

(Plus, it's probably the most delightful meal you'll see all day, unless you know an otter eating Christmas cookies.)

Oh, and if you're as hungry as I am, here's a walk-thru on how to make Cristoforetti's exact meal — weightlessness on the side. Bon appétit, space nerds!

More days of happiness here: DAY 1 / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5 / DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / DAY 13 / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / [DAY 17] / DAY 18 / DAY 19 / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / DAY 27 / DAY 28 / DAY 29 / DAY 30 / DAY 31
Heroes
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity

15 'habits' of people who grew up with an 'emotionally fragile' parent

Having an emotionally fragile parent can leave lasting damage.

via The Mighty

If you grew up with an "emotionally fragile" parent, chances are, you didn't have the typical, idyllic childhood you often see in movies.

Maybe your parent lived with debilitating depression that thrust you into the role of caregiver from a very young age.

Maybe your parent was always teetering on the edge of absolute rage, so you learned to tiptoe around them to avoid an explosion. Or maybe your parent went through a divorce or separation, and leaned on you for more emotional support than was appropriate to expect of a child.

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Family
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Jasmine has been used as a natural treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress for thousands of years. Oil from the plant has also been used to treat insomnia and PMS, and is considered a natural aphrodisiac. It turns out, our ancestor's instincts to slather on the oil when they wanted a little R&R were correct.

A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and according to Professor Hanns Hatt of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, revealed that jasmine can calm you down when you're feeling anxious.The results can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."

"Instead of a sleeping pill or a mood enhancer, a nose full of jasmine from Gardenia jasminoides could also help, according to researchers in Germany. They have discovered that the two fragrances Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and the chemical variation (PI24513) have the same molecular mechanism of action and are as strong as the commonly prescribed barbiturates or propofol," says the study.

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Nature