Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating, and the food culture they encounter as they travel the globe. Today's contributor, Senior Photojournalist Mark Walz is based in Washington D.C. He covers the White House and has traveled on Air Force One many times.
It's sometimes like a four-star restaurant in the sky, and sometimes like a favorite down-home diner. The food aboard Air Force One offers first class fare with a home-cooked flair.
I recently flew aboard Air Force One with President Obama, on the way to Jakarta, Indonesia, a 6 hour flight. This was the second of four countries the President visited on his globe-encircling trip.
All the meals served on Air Force One are prepared on board, in the galley by Air Force personnel. One of the Air Force flight stewards confirmed that the President is served the same menu as the rest of the plane. The meals come on gold-rimmed Air Force One china, with beverages in glassware embossed with the Presidential Seal. Silverware comes wrapped inside a folded napkin and held together with a Presidential paper ring. Even the drink napkin says, "Aboard the Presidential Aircraft."
I found the steak to be peppery and fork tender. The fried coating looked picture-perfect and the gravy atop was luscious and creamy, as you would expect to find in a Southern down home diner. Firmly-cooked eggs came with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and chives, and the biscuit was nice and brown on the top and bottom, flaky as promised, yet heavy with lard. Though I probably would have enjoyed the gravy on top of the biscuit, I chose butter and jelly. The yogurt parfait was exceptional, with fresh strawberry slices adding fresh flavor and a satisfying crunch from the granola.
I was so fond of the tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce, complete with the Presidential Seal on the label, that it went into my pocket as a souvenir.
Later in the flight a snack of beef kabobs, scallops wrapped in bacon, and spicy potato sambosas arrived in an oval bowl, accompanied with a beverage of choice. There is always a bowl of fruit and a bowl of candy and gum to tide over hungry journalists between meals.
Being a member of the White House Press Corps is prestigious, and a big responsibility. It involves long hours, and hectic deadlines, but it allows me to keep an eye on history, recording it and sharing it with others. Still, I left this flight with one unanswered question: did health-conscious First Lady Michelle Obama make her husband scrape the gravy off his chicken fried steak?
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