• Recent Posts

    Airlines Food – I Wonder Why?

    There comes a time in every human being’s life when you stand upright and do a Virat Kohli and show the middle finger to the world and shout – ‘What The Fuck’, I had enough. I am devastatingly angry for being treated the way I am and that too for a prolonged period. It is now or never and I should let know the world that I am burning within with anger.  And I am precisely doing that here. Here, for a change, the entire human race needs to be blamed, not just Narendra Modi. For some unknown reason, we humans, not only thought of building aeroplanes but also made flights long enough for the travellers to get hungry while in transit. If that were not enough, we went ahead and invented something as horrendous as ‘In-Flight Meal’ to feed the famished. Had there been the slightest idea that, in future, eating organic molecules appearing like food, becomes the definition of top-notch travel mode, I am sure Wright brothers would have invented contraceptives instead.

    Airlines food probably the one that the mothers should warn their kids more than what they warn to not get involved with bad opposite gender specimens. As someone correctly pointed out – if airlines kitchens were reactors, the food coming out of there is the nuclear waste that has the potential to wipe out the entire human race. And being a regular flyer myself, I always get that Chernobyl effect; every time I fly; without fail. But I have my plans to manage the pain. To reduce the radiation related hazards, my ‘Asian Vegetarian Meal’ option helps a little, though there isn’t much difference in choosing between ‘Gas Chamber’ or ‘Lethal Injection’ for execution. If you haven’t tried out the vegetarian option yet, I would advise you to try once and you soon would realize why it entirely justifies the anger of westerners towards anything Asian.

    For starters, I can’t just imagine someone cooking so badly. I have seen/experienced worst of cooks in my life, including a distant aunt but the cooks in every airlines kitchen seems to shame them all. A lot of accolades should also go to our ever so pleasant stewardesses who believe; by heating something to a point to transform it to a bowl of molten lava would reignite the taste factor. In fact, for a moment I may get confused what I hate more. The food these lovely ladies serve or those blast-furnaces which they otherwise call microwaves and keep on heating the food till it almost blasts because of too much thermal energy. Whenever I fly, I tend to notice these stewardesses as far as food is concerned. And most of the time I find, at least two of them are employed by the airlines with sole responsibility – keep on heating the food till it is served to the fliers. Get their bloody tongues burnt to ashes for daring to fly with us. I have taken a count and I must have burnt my tongue at least half a dozen times.

    Coming back to the food. So, this is how an average in-flight meal looks like. For once I plead to God that these airlines should realize that the handkerchief size foldable table that they provide to hold the tray has certain limitations. It can knock off your knees at the slightest mistake but it can’t accommodate a tray of the size good enough to organize a full course grand slam without any problem. It has everything that a mid-size restaurant would require. Aren't these airlines chaps aware of the in-fligth potential terrorists? If an angry flier or a flying terrorist may want, he/she can use any of the instruments from the plate and threaten the pilots to fly to Beirut or Pakistan in a failed hijack attempt. In an ‘Ethiopian Airways’ flight, other than these sundry weapons, they also gave me something strikingly similar to a saw. I wrote back to the airlines demanding an answer as to what as a hungry flier I was supposed to do with the saw. But they apparently hate to answer anything on the food part it seems. I have a wild guess though on what possibly could be the utility of that saw, but that is for the later part of the blog. 

    Ohh!! Nithyananda, we are deviating again. Lets concentrate on the food part. There would invariably be a small cup that would contain some obnoxious looking stuff which the attendant will demand to be called as fruit slices. Most of the time it appears like Kiwi but age-proofed after a decade long stay in some solitary confinement till the point the seeds outgrow the size of the pulp. Dare you eat those alleged fruit slices if you don’t want your flight to be more painful than it already is. The central 4X2 inch aluminium block would contain the main attraction. Generally there is something to the right and something to the left with a table spoon full of grain looking white mass in the middle. The attendant again would demand it to be called as rice. Even if it is rice, it no way appears to be steamed. It simply is soaked in water and hammered to some unnatural length. To avoid any moisture to be left unattended, the kitchens probably would be employing an average roadside ‘Ganna Wala’ and his machine to draw out the last bit of water molecule. If anything left by mistake, just throw it inside the in-flight blast furnace and bring it to the plasma temperature. And our ever so eager stewardesses are ready to do the honors without provoked.

    To give the company to this alleged rice there generally are masses in yellow-to-brown looking dumps at both side. The colour varies depending on which level of bad stomach you have, if you get what I am referring to. At times you get something green looking too to the right but that is totally a miracle. As it is the green ooze is only comparable to the bad stomach of a Bull. If you find some white anaemic looking cubes with varied hardness sulking around the gravy, then it probably is Paneer, or else, my best guess, it could be Daal. But independent of what it is, it carries a common trait. It generally is served in proportion so meticulously planned that it always leaves a couple of spoons of alleged rice to be gulped down dry. So keep the water bottle handy. You would require it every third nanosecond.

    To the right is some non-descript colour amalgam which again is demanded to be called as vegetable curry. Your best bet is that you would get Potato accompanied by Gobi in a symphony that will make you find Mamata Banarjee and Arvind Kejriwal a better combination. Potato is a vegetable that would require an extraordinary talent to make a bad dish out of, but the airline chefs seems to have mastered that art too. The potatoes which once honoured the museum are mixed with their terminally ill cousin Gobi and boiled in spices belonging to the Harrappan era, the kind generally found in Indian grocery stores in USA. The mixture then violently stirred till the combination gives a dark brown look. At this point it is thrown nonchalantly in the aluminium box with proportions depending on the mood the packer. Rest is left to the stewardess to microwave it generously till it tastes metallic, almost like the oven itself. Looking at the Potato itself I always felt like crying. The poor vegetable seems to have resigned to its fate under the dictatorship of the cook and agreed to let go any of its original look, colour and taste. I haven’t seen Abu Ghraib but I am sure the poor potato must not have gone through any lesser torture before it is served to us.

    Asian food is incomplete without bread or Roti. And you get a flying saucer as a result, presumably to eat. These are dangerous organic fibres, so hard that, if you don’t have dental insurance, just leave it at peace. But if you are an adventure freak or haven’t eaten for ages, you may try, but be careful that you don’t choke yourself to death. Come what may, keep the kids away from it. My closest assessment with the saw that the ‘Ethiopian Airways’ provided could be to cut this damn thing to size but it is just my guess since the airlines is far from answering. With no hammer insight and you are desperate to eat it, I would suggest you to throw it on the floor and trample it violently for five to six times at the least to bring it to some kind of chewing level. But better sense should be to leave it aside or keep it handy to throw at the immigration officer’s face if he/she gives you that ‘bloody Indian’ look. And for the small cubes, which again they demand to be called as butter and jam – keep them in your hand pouch. Could be used as glue when required.

    That said I totally get the point that most airlines aim at. There is a reason, may be reasons, behind the aesthetic and gustatory non-appeal of the food they serve. When you travel to the other end of the world or your country, it is the responsibility of any good airline to give you the correct horrible experience with people and food. So once you land hungry and angry, whatever you get only looks better. No prejudice, no intolerance; first impression is a default 'good food, good people'. And by the time you realize the food there sucks too, you have already formed your lasting first-impression that kicks in when you blog about it. Thus, hence, therefore…. 

    No comments