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Thursday, 29 March 2007

plane food

Some people have a strange little love affair with plane food -- something to do with the romance of getting a meal that looks like a mini version of a prison tray. The rest of us know that plane meals are wrong on every conceivable level. This week I have used my skyving time at work to find out just how wrong.

Before it reaches you, your little meal has been cooked, cooled, stored, transported (from somewhere miles away) and reheated. If you're in the northern hemisphere, it has probably come from Germany or Switzerland -- home to the world's two biggest commercial suppliers of airline food. Together they account for over 260 airlines, with the German one, Sky Chef, preparing a million meals a day. With an average per unit cost of between 70 cents (US) and US$1.30 a unit, I think we can safely assume they ain't cooking organic.

Then there's this from ex-air hostess and author, Diana Fairechild:

"Working over 10 million miles as a flight attendant, I have prepared and served countless airline meals... I have been there when: food that had been dropped on the floor was served to passengers; ovens were inoperative so that the food served to passengers was not cooked properly; passengers and crew members have gotten sick from food poisoning. For these and other reasons, I recommend that passengers abstain from eating on board."


On her website, she also points out all the biological changes going on at high altitude, meaning certain types of food are better than others to minimise jet lag. Apparently it's not just your feet that swell up; your intestine is dehydrating, lacking oxygen and ballooning at Elvis-like speed.

Miss Diana advocates fasting. Given I am flying non-stop for 22 hours, I beg to differ. So I'm making my own food; taking on board her and other people's advice that small, carb-heavy snacks are best as they place less strain on your freaked out digestive tract.

So here's what Adam and I will be taking in our airplane lunch box tomorrow...

Bean Salad

Haven't packed so writing this in a hurry... blanch beans then dry fry em with some lemon juice and sea salt. toast almonds. Do the kidney beans (soak overnight then boil the crap out of them till they're tenderised). Discard carrot peel then use the peeler to make ribbons of the rest of it. Toss it all together with a little sesame oil/ lemon juice/ balsamic/ dill/ whatever you've got.

Risotto Balls

These are great if you have leftover risotto from the night before (see recipe here). Roll your balls (add some flour to the risotto if they're a little wet... or egg if they need binding). Coat the balls in bread crumbs then finely grated parmesan then sesame seeds (my balls were wet, man.) Fry your balls till they're golden, turning once, then get the outer skin crunchy by popping them in the oven (200c) for a bit. (20 mins maybe). Mmmmmm, crusty salty balls.

Have a happy easter to y'all. I'm going home! (Eating beans and farting all the way.)

Diana Fairchild's website.

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