The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fine dining in the friendly skies

My friend Jeff Deasy of American Feast posted an interesting story about fine dining in the friendly skies on his blog and I thought it a wonderful topic for discussion. Jeff has given me permission to post his story here.

The best food I had on a flight was to Paris when I was traveling with a friend who was a caterer and she dressed up the food containers with colorful ribbons. People were drooling-it was still a flight that served meals in economy. Coming back from Paris, my friend had bought all these wonderfully smelly cheese. The stewardess informed her she wouldn't be able to get them passed customs so it was an aromatic flight has she tried to eat all of them.

Please feel free to weigh in your comments of the good, the bad and ugly of your airline food interludes.

Fine dining in the friendly skies by Jeff Deasy

Is it time to give airline food another try? History has us skeptical but we’ll try to keep an open mind.

We gave up on airline food. First, it was just the poor taste. Airline meals always seemed to include some goop, not immediately identifiable, it could be the gravy or it might be the dessert. It was bound to include ingredients we couldn’t pronounce.

We tried ordering a kosher meal in advance, but that didn’t get us much of an upgrade in flavor or nutrition. Requesting a low fat or vegetarian meal was the last and probably the best strategy we tried. Then meals began to disappear altogether from some flights. Sometimes you could get a tasteless meal, if you were willing to pay for it. Having to pay for airline food struck us as a grave injustice. We were the ones bearing the health risks.

Then we found out the airlines would let us bring our own food. Soon we were enjoying gourmet tapenades, artisanal goat cheeses, smoked salmon and smoked pheasant, stone ground mustard, and various chutneys on fresh-baked bread during flights. (We bring the bread pre-sliced; airline security is understandably touchy about passengers carrying bread knives.) Dessert might be an old-fashioned fudge brownie, a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, or a single-origin chocolate bar.

An article in the Washington Post tells us the airlines are ready to have another go at pleasing palates. Famous chefs have been brought in to design meals that will again have foodies boarding without a bag of gourmet goodies; if they are willing to pay for first-class tickets on long international flights.

We’ll try to keep an open mind, but it sounds like we’ll be bringing our own food on most flights for a long time to come.

If you’d like to read the Washington Post article cited above go to: Celebrity Chefs Bring Plane Food to New Heights

Learn more about Jeff Deasy and American Feast: American Feast ~ fine foods from America's Kitchens

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