A colleague's husband claims the best foie gras he's ever had (and he's had his fair share) is the torchon that's served as an amuse bouche on Air France. I'm happy for him. Mazeltov.
I was just asked if I'd like to buy some pretzels on my 4+ hour flight from Denver to New York. I seriously considered it.
It's not that I ever distinctly crave pretzels - in fact I eat them almost exclusively on airplanes. It's just that despite my plummeting blood sugar, I'd actively avoided the grab-n-go baby carrot dip packs and Saran-swaddled cold cut bombs available for lots and lots of money at the grim little comissary near my departure gate. Or I could have brought food - tasty, awesome food - from home, or eaten elsewhere before, but I didn't. On purpose.
Stupidly perverse and foot-shooting, I know, but I somehow can’t shake the notion that there should be meals on planes, because, darn it, there used to be.
They were, almost inevitably, comically - hackneyed 1980s comically - awful. But with that came a certain esprit de corps with fellow travelers, collectively grimacing at slices of spongy chickenbeef that'd been doomed to a watery, grey gravy tomb. There may have been corn or possibly leathery green beans. There were always potatoes in some semi-identifiable incarnation.
But they came on a tray! With actual metal utensils! Brought to you by a friendly, smiling lady whose feet were probably killing her, and who was having to endure sloppy, Dewars-soaked come-ons from the suit in 6A. Okay, I'm glad she's now spared that indignity, but I have a twinge of nostalgia for those glimmers of mid-air civility.
If nothing else, a meal - even just a packet of peanuts - offered normalcy and distraction in an otherwise potentially dire situation. "We're hurtling through the air in a massive, metallic cannister that by no means ought to loft one centimeter off the ground and...ooh! Chicken Kiev...sort of. Let's focus on that."
And of course any reasonable adult human should be perfectly able to slog through four food-free hours. But especially as of late, airport and airline conditions seem carefully calibrated to reduce even the most sanguine, steadfast among us into a whimpering, self-sorry, pretzel-hungry mess of a semi-human, grateful for any small, nasty morsel of kindness tossed our way. And a four hour flight is hardly just four hours. There's the shlep there, the slog through Security (don't forget to toss that water bottle!), the haul to the gate, the inevitable runway delay, the wait to reach cruising altitude, the...
Hey look! The water cart is coming my way! Gimmie.
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