Posted by: foodtalker | February 26, 2010

food on the fly

Does anyone else have an issue with airline food?  I’ve noticed my portion sizes seem to diminish each time I travel and the meals are served at arbitrary times.

Last week I flew back from Australia.  Not just Sydney to LA, but from Melbourne to Kentucky, with travel time of about thirty two hours door to door.  That has to be about a third of the way around the world and I’m not sure how many time zones and date lines, but I know several meal times are crossed.  At least three plus snacks.

When I got on the plane it was officially Australian lunch time. But it was four hours before we saw anything resembling a meal.  I don’t consider the packets of pretzels eligible.  By then it was around five in the afternoon and really no longer lunch or dinner time.  I’m sure it’s a catering dilemma.  It must be a challenge figuring out which Continent’s time frame to schedule meals around.  But it seems to me it would be easier to just stick with the place you last left as most people’s meal clock is ticking with where they’ve been not where they’re headed.

I decided it must be a haphazard arrangement whereby airport catering provides each plane with a main meal, a breakfast and a snack and then just lets the flight crew figure out the sequence and when to serve them.  Maybe this way, by meting out meals at odd intervals, they think we’ll all be acclimated to the new eating times upon arrival.  A subtle sort of decompression.  A bit like a diver coming up slowly so he doesn’t get the bends. 

Settling for the chicken over the pasta option wasn’t necessarily the right choice.  As soon as I poked the chicken I began to worry.  It was rigid.  Food preparation is something that always makes me nervous.  What if it wasn’t properly thawed?  Besides the chicken breast was so small I began to feel sorry for it.  Some veggies and rice, a small bowl of torn up iceberg lettuce, a white roll with a butter pat and an industrial strength brownie were what was left to fill up on.  Not much considering it was meant to double up as a late lunch and early dinner. 

I started eyeing my neighbour’s tray for anything they might be foregoing and wondering if I dare ask for their dessert.  The only problem was, what if they were saving it for later?  I’d feel such a schmuck and then I’d be stuck sitting next to them for the rest of the trip.  They’d be bound to think me greedy and grasping.  What do hungry people and growing boys do?  Can you ask for a second helping?  Or is it frowned upon to ring the bell and say “please Miss, can I have another?”   To commit a social faux pas thousands of feet up in the air seems like it would be so much worse.  It’s not as if there’s anywhere to slink off.

A hot slice of cheese pizza was the snack.  Not much wrong with that except I started wanting the other five slices.  And then runny scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast.  I can’t do runny eggs.  I couldn’t figure out how they’d sat in a hot box all that time and still come out runny.

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