Why I Love Bad Airplane Food

Tomorrow my boyfriend and I head off into the wild yonder known as the West Coast (San Francisco through Shabbat and then a jaunt north to Portland). While I love any vacation, I’m especially excited about this one. It’s our first long trip together. We’re visiting some of my dearest friends. He’s never been to Portland, before so I get the chance to show him one of my favotie places, after many occasions down in his native Silver Spring. And it’s California and Portland! – the first a land where heirloom tomatoes grow locally in March, and the latter a pine scented town where everyone carries their reusable coffee mugs strapped to their backpacks.

I’m also excited because – forgive me for outting myself as a total dork here – I love packing food for the airplane. If all meals were as delicious as the crustless panini, tiramasu, and bottle of wine I once received (in coach) on a flight between Spain and Italy, there would be no reason to pack food for the plane. For that reason, I’m actually glad American airline services tend to serve tasteless, plastic-wrapped food.

Admittedly, I do sometimes crave a gooey $7 burrito that one can only find in an airport food court. But packing food for an airplane is highly satisfying, cheaper than the burrito (and frozen yogurt I can rarely resist), and gets rid of the food tidbits in your fridge that are bound to spoil in your neglectful absensce. This time around, I’m also aware that food courts are not kosher-friendly, so packing food has the added bonus of helping my boyfriend avoid the, “Well, I guess I’ll have a stale bagel from Starbucks topped with a squeeze packet of cream cheese” scenario.

My inspiration for the lunch I packed tonight was a two-week old bunch of chard from my CSA. Remarkably, it only had one or two bad spots on it (three cheers for farm freshness!) I wilted it, stems included, in skillet loaded with garlic. Meanwhile, I boiled pasta (the ends of two different packages – one whole wheat, one white flour), toasted some walnuts and almonds, and tossed the whole thing with some mozzerella cheese leftover from making homemade pizza last week. It’s gorgeous – I snuck a bite or two as I made it, but will dream sweetly tonight of the moment when -wracked with hunger and faced with nothing but airline peanuts – I can dig into this nourishing meal.

One of my favorite blogs, Orangette, offers another great plane food meal – a kale frittata. (Yes, please!)

One more thing, I plan to make this cross-country flight carbon neutral. Here’s how.

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8 Responses to “Why I Love Bad Airplane Food”

  1. Edith Stevenson Says:

    hey Leah – thanks for letting me know how to do the carbon neutral travel thing. I had always wondered how that worked. Great ideas too about food to eat “en route,” as they say in Canada.

    BTW, when you are in SF, you should go see Beach Blanket Babylon in North Beach. Has nothing to do with CSA’s or farming, or food, ususally. But it is a hilarious show that pokes fun at everything local and current, so it just may take a jab at foodies as well.
    And you should detour up to Vancouver too!

  2. Alix Says:

    Hey Leah,
    Stop by our CSA and say hi! Or at the very least, go to the Berkeley Bowl, if you’ve never been…it’s a must in the Bay Area, if you haven’t been there before.

  3. Jo Says:

    A helpful guide to offsetting your travel:

  4. leah koenig Says:

    Edith – thanks for the tip, I wish we could make it up to Vancouver, but Portland is as far north as we’re gonna get this time around. rain check!

    Alix, I wanted to stop by the CSA, but unfortunately got in on Thursday so I missed pick up. If I get a chance to go into Berkeley, I will definitely let you know!

    Jo, thanks for that :)

  5. Grace Says:

    That is the best idea I’ve seen!

    I realize this is a very old post, but I’m just wondering…do you fix this up the day of, so that it is room temperature-ish once you board, or do you refrigerate and eat it cold?

  6. Anna Says:

    Grace, I’d like to know the same thing.

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