Episode 91: Airplane Food

Ever since airlines stopped serving meals on domestic flights, comedians have had nothing to talk about. That didn’t stop us from having a rollicking discussion of what to bring on the plane, snacks served on the plane, and why Molly and Matthew are odoriferously unwelcome on planes. www.spilledmilkpodcast.com

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17 thoughts on “Episode 91: Airplane Food

  1. Cayla

    For PBJs destined for travel/transport, I use a nice grainy, wheaty, stout bread that won’t sog when the jelly is applied. I also wrap and freeze the sandwiches immediately after making them, then toss them into my bag on my way out the door. They’re thawed but still cold by the time I’m ready to eat them, and I think they’re even better this way.

    I want an airline that serves sushi. Sushi is my ideal food, any time.

    When I was 11 I flew to Washington, DC, on the now-defunct Midwest Airlines, which boasted full, quality meal service on each flight. On the way to DC, we flew during lunchtime, during which we were offered cheesy baked pasta with chunky tomato-and-olive marinara or some kind of herbed baked chicken. On the first leg of our flight home, dinner was baby back ribs or salmon-topped romaine salads. On the second leg, the “evening appetizer” was a cold taco-style pizza. And each flight’s meal ended with warm, melty chocolate chip cookies, plus milk if you wanted it. All of the meals were served on real dishes with actual silverware, and (my favorite) each person got his or her own tiny glass shakers of salt and pepper. I remember asking my mom if I could keep them as souvenirs (to my dismay, I couldn’t).

    My in-flight drink of choice is a club soda (or ginger ale) with cranberry or lime, plus whatever massive cup of scorching black coffee I’ve bought in the terminal, or what’s left of it after I inevitably spill it on my lap.

  2. Cayla

    Also: When I was between 7 and 10, my dad used to fly a lot for business trips. He would usually get the cold boxed lunch during the flight, and he always brought home the little red-wax-coated round of babybel cheese from the box home for me to eat. I LOVED those little things.

  3. Marin

    Hey guys! Molly I recommend peeling the hardboiled eggs before hand and putting salt and pepper on them too and then into a Tupperware or Ziploc. We brought pizza on a plane before best flight ever!

  4. jess

    My husband and I got randomly bumped up to first class last month and we got to enjoy warm macadamia nut and dried blueberry cookies while watching parks and recration. It was quite swanky.

    A few years ago I flew to Seoul for a conference and was fed a fairly okay rendition of bulgogi, rice and kimchi. I’m sure the smell of the kimchi bothered the non-kimchi eating populace on the plane but oh well it was tasty.

  5. Maggie

    I remember an episode from the early-ish days of Top Chef when they had to cook a meal to be served on an airplane. There were all sorts of special criteria – how it was to be packed up, number of steps required to heat and serve, etc. But the thing that most intrigued me was that something about flying – the elevation, the dehydration, all the other distracting sensations – dull the taste buds. They had to come up with something spicy, salty, and flavorful enough to still taste good.

    So it’s no wonder that strongly flavored foods like salami and salt-and-peppered hard boiled eggs are appealing.

    I use this an excuse to treat myself when I’m flying to junk food I don’t normally indulge in (chips, candy bars, basically anything you can buy at Hudson News, along with a really trashy magazine) since the super salty or super sweet flavors will still be satisfying at cruising altitude.

  6. bubbles

    If you fly internationally on an Asian airline, choose the Asian meals instead of the Western meals. The spices, etc. make the food much more delicious instead of the usual weird, funky airline taste.
    Also, once I was served 2 chocolate truffles on a Lufthansa flight that were hands down the best chocolate I have ever had. Kept the wrapper and tried to chase it down, but no success.
    As far as bringing my own food, I have brought a number of things, including raw pineapple and carrots, but really the best thing is just a Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich from the airport, in a foil pouch (I live in the South)
    Bringing drinks was always more important to me, I would bring multiple liters of fresh lemon in water, and green tea, etc. but since 9/11 I am just stuck swilling the blah bottled water they serve.

  7. Kate

    Molly, when you mentioned the foil packet of salt and pepper to accompany your hard-boiled egg, I flashed back to my mother packing them that way in my school lunches. Thanks for the memory!

    Ditto on the “Asian meal” option. Some domestic flights have it, too!

    Also, on a flight from Amsterdam to London I once had some kind of AMAZING Danish pastry stuffed with fried potatoes and cheese. Best airplane food ever, and it was a super short flight to London!

  8. Kyle @ The House Red

    Love the show!
    Just wanted to say: I listened to the Yogurt Episode (a little late I know…). I was a Nancy’s devotee…and then y’all made me experiment with Straus. I am now in the midst of a life-changing, fermented dairy paradigm shift and it has compelled me to launch into a very VERY in-depth examination of why some yogurts might taste better than others. Straus can’t be so much better just because of the buttermilk…can it? I don’t think so. So I’m delving deeper, into the microbiology of the matter (I’m a professional!).

    I am culturing the bacteria as we speak. Stay tuned…this could get dangerous.

    1. mamster Post author

      Can’t wait to hear the results, Kyle!

      Kate, on my way back from Hong Kong in January, they served Shanghai noodles. Not bad at all–on par with a Trader Joe’s frozen entree.

  9. riye

    The best airlines food I ever had was on Japan Airlines (Asian meal option). It came in a little bento box and was delicious and nice to look at.

    My favorite food to take on a plane is rice balls. Usually with pickled plum or pickled radish. A vegan friend likes to bring spirulina and brown rice balls, which are good, but leave you sitting there with green bits in your teeth.

    1. mamster Post author

      Onigiri are a great idea. I’ve never flown a Japanese airline but expect to fly ANA later this year; hopefully the food will be comparable to JAL.

  10. frances

    Molly, you need to cut your cheese with your least-favourite credit card. Obviously! I like picnics, mile-high or otherwise, best when you forget something and have to improvise.

    Love listening, as ever. Bon voyage! xx

  11. Dani

    On a recent flight from Hong Kong to Toronto, a kid in front of me had brought on a bag of dried cuttlefish snacks that are so popular in many Asian countries. I’ll tell you, I would have gladly traded that smell for hard-boiled eggs or salami. Especially on a 15 hour flight.

    Like Molly, I always pack a bar of nice chocolate in my carry-on. I’ll often forget it’s there until partway through the flight, and then when I discover it, it’s the best surprise ever. Like finding a $20 in your winter coat.

    My husband always orders the Indian vegetarian meal, and it’s pretty reliably good.

  12. Christine

    I just listened to this episode! I remember back when they used to serve food freely, I flew Lufthansa for a high school “cultural” trip and for our last leg of our trip, we were flying in a smaller commuter jet and for the snack, the flight attendants went up the aisle with a giant tray of sandwiches – imagine that now! And this wasn’t too long ago, around 1998. One of the sandwiches was turkey, mustard, muenster between soft pretzel bread- amazing. They also gave out gummi bears (This was a trip from Frankfurt to Rome).

    I have totally agree on Asian airlines’ food – always get the Asian entree! I’ve flown to the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan and all the food has been pretty good, if anything decent and filling for the most part. When I recently flew out of Manila to Taipei, it was an hour and a 1/2 flight, but since it was int’l, we got a full meal!

    If I’m flying out of Newark Int’l I always get a sandwich at Balduccis for the flight and a large bottle of water. I pack some candy and string cheese for some extra substenance. And I’m always starving the minute I get off the plane too!

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