I’m not one for flying.
Better put, I firmly believe that humans need to stay on the land at all times – fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and I gotta stay on Earth. However, one thing that you would think make flying more a more bearable experience a sincere food enthusiast like me is the opportunity to try out some flight foods. Even some tasty snacks or drinks would suffice. But alas, the notorious tale of airplane meals begins to weave its web…
Last Easter I had a twelve hour evening ascent over the Atlantic Ocean, and after having sat in the wrong seat twice, dinner was served; a fabulously tanned air hostess wheeled to my side, chirpily offering me the choice of beef or gnocchi – an ambiguous offer that could’ve boggled any sleep deprived mind. Curious as to what the veggie option entailed, I enquired.
“Let me show! It’s good, very good!” the hostess proclaimed, waving her fingers and kneeling to pull out a drawer from her rickety gastronomical trolley. Bringing out a tiny covered plastic tub, she crinkled back the the foil roof half way to reveal a bed of cheesey gnocchi flecked with green herbs.
“Mmm very good, I like it a lot!”
Nodding wide-eyed with delight, I felt as though her world would come crashing down if I were to decline the Italian dumplings sitting in her hands, uncovered, exposed, ready to be eaten. With difficulty in reciprocating her sheer happiness, I accepted the meal and was given an array of interesting prepackaged snacks to clearly well compliment my Italian meal.
To balance the rich, creamy texture of the lukewarm gnocchi, a bare side salad (i.e. 4-5 pieces of chopped lettuce leaf, a slice of cucumber and a cherry tomato) accompanied it.
The package of vinaigrette was sadly discovered post-consumption.
If this wasn’t an exciting enough combination, a tiny tub of cream cheese and a cracker served to satisfy what textures hadn’t been already sampled. Then, available to sweeten the palette was a 3x3cm (what I assumed to be) cheesecake. Over in two tiny mouthfuls, I sat with my humble tray hovering above my lap, having consumed the entirety of the meal in less than three minutes. I peripherally glanced to my airplane neighbour, still sadly chewing on her salad.
In my shorter plane transfers I was repeatedly offered the exact same sandwich which seemed to be haunting me over and over. Filled with one slice of ham and cheese, with either a half a slice of tomato or a bizarre looking peach coloured spread – which I could only guess was some kind of spreadable cheese – the sandwich filled a hole, but maybe one that could’ve been left empty.
Nevertheless, airplane fear and fatigue would have inevitably gotten the better of me without something to chew on, and so I’m strangely grateful for the unorthodox, unusually combined meals which punctuated my tropical travels this Easter.
Images by Benjamin Jones