In Irena Chalmers’ book entitled The Great Food Almanac (1994), I learned that one of the reasons we find airline food bland and insipid is our sense of smell is dulled by the pressure at high altitude and the lack of humidity. This results in a decrease of our sense of taste as well.
I don’t know if this is true but as someone who regularly travels by plane, I am grateful for this blessing. Considering the quality of the “food” that I have been served with, a dulled taste bud is a luxury. Nonetheless, I’m thankful that they serve hot food in airplanes. If you think about it, it’s quite amazing.
Anyway, I still wonder why the food that I bring on board tastes just fine.
The following quotes are about other people’s opinion on airline food:
“You define a good flight by negatives: you didn’t get hijacked, you didn’t crash, you didn’t throw up, you weren’t late, you weren’t nauseated by the food. So you are grateful. ” — Paul Theroux
“Airline food is not intended for human consumption. It’s intended as a form of in-flight entertainment, wherein the object is to guess what it is, starting with broad categories such as ‘mineral’ and ‘linoleum.'” — Dave Barry, Dave Barry’s Only Travel Guide You’ll Ever Need, 1991
“An airplane is a heavy thing even before they put the food on it. Funny, isn’t it? The airlines go to all that trouble to keep you from taking a gun on board, then they just hand you a dinner roll you could kill a musk ox with.” — Dave Barry, Flying Magazine, Vol. 120, June 1993
“I love flying so much. I even like airplane food. No one bothers you and your phone never goes off and you can’t have emails go through. It’s undisturbed.” — Margot Robbie
“[Airline food] is the tiniest food I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Any kind of meat that you get – chicken, steak, anything – has grill marks on each side, like somehow we’ll actually believe there’s an open-flame grill in the front of the plane.” — Ellen DeGeneres
“One good thing can be said for all airline food: it’s served in small portions.” — Sam Ewing
“To me, an airplane is a great place to diet.” — Wolfgang Puck
“We do not demand good food in public, and when we eat upon an object that moves, such as a train or a boat, we expect, and generally get, absolute muck.” — E. M. Forster
“When I go on Japanese Airlines, I really love it because I like Japanese food.” — Phil Collins
“Please take notice of these facial expressions when you’re visiting a sick friend in a hospital at feeding time: closed eyes, narrow nostrils, a downward curl of the lip, an extension of the tongue. You can see these same expressions on most airplanes at feeding time.” — Maggie Waldron
“If you don’t like airline food, you’ll probably have the same impression of space station food. I would not fly to space for the food.” — Chris Hadfield
“Cost cutting by the airlines leaves fewer pennies for cleaning crews, whose appearances are being coordinated with those of Halley’s comet. Is the day far off when flight attendants will ask you to do a quick turn with a handvac to earn your microchip pretzels?” — James Morris, Wilson Quarterly (Winter 2007)
“And obviously with airline food you go through thousands and thousands of kilos of asparagus as opposed to a box of asparagus.” — Gordon Ramsay
“The quality of food is in inverse proportion to a dining room’s altitude, especially atop bank and hotel buildings (airplanes are an extreme example).” — Bryan Miller
“Some of the best fiction writers got their start writing airline menus.” — Erma Bombeck
“The more I fly, the more I’m convinced that the true wonder of modern aviation is the transformation of tasteless particles into something known as airplane food.” — Bob Blumer
“The food on the plane was fit for a king. ‘Here, King!'” — Henny Youngman
The shiny stuff is tomatoes,
The salad lies in a group,
The curly stuff is potatoes,
The stuff that moves is soup.
Anything that is white is sweet,
Anything that is brown is meat,
Anything that is grey, don’t eat,
— “What Do We Do? We Fly!”, From Stephen Sondheim’s musical Do I Hear A Waltz?, 1965