Airline food is everybody’s beta noire. The vegetarians hate it. Meals classified as Hindu Meal, or Asian Vegetarian, are a bit of a disaster what with salads containing decidedly suspect grilled artichokes or, horrors, mushrooms!! We Indians have this unique concept of alien food `looking non veg’ and
therefore wholly suspicious. We have heard and read, ad naseuam about the complex processes each dish has to go thru
before reaching the hapless passenger, which results in the food being dead on
arrival. Furthermore, the altitude and dry air in the aircraft further detract
from the taste. Frankly, the problem seems to be more than just the assault on
the food by heat, altitude and dry air.
The first problem is that quite often, the
airline presents you with food that is definitely strange, misbalanced and a nutritional
disaster. For example, I have been on flights where you get a sandwich, a
cutlet encased in potato and a pastry. This is a carb overload. An athlete
undergoing heavy training would be pleased with such a selection but this is
not something for normal souls. Poor menu selection.
The other reason why there is so much
unhappiness, in my view, is that we as passengers are just unwilling to eat
food that is out of our normal diet. No south Indian is going to be overjoyed
eating a very North Indian Rajma or Paneer. Similarly, a Dravidian Bisi Bele
Bhat is rather a tough call for a North Indian who views anything South India other than the bog standard Idli Dosa as non food. I have also noticed that despite
airlines best intentions, Indians just do not like eating a cold sandwich. They
want it toasted. A few days ago, I was on a flight and had the dubious
privilege of having as co-passengers some of the lesser members of the
vanquished Indian Cricket Team. Ravindra Jadeja is a promising all rounder, I
believe. He can face the fastest bowlers hurling a cricket ball at him at speed more than 150kms with aplomb. But, I must say he was well and truly beaten when faced with a
salad and a cheese sandwich. He asked the hostess if the sandwich could be heated or
toasted in some way. He abandoned the sandwich and ate the salad with much
reluctance after dousing it with dressing.
Then of course, we have problems with
textures and viscosity of food. We love food with lots of liquid, be it a Daal
or a gravy, we need the liquid. This is not something that can be catered for
on board. Most `Conti’ food is decidedly dry by comparison and the vegetarian
meals ordered are also very dry. So there is not much joy eating this.
It’s indeed ironic that it has now become
politically correct to say that airline food is terrible and that you are
better off eating before you board. To say that you like airline food means you
are somebody with a diminished mental ability or someone with nonexistent taste
The truth, as always, is somewhere in between.
The food is normally quite decent and extremely palatable. You must have read
my post on the Maharaja Thaali served on Kingfisher. That was the perfect food
to serve as repeated heating does not affect Indian curries. Airlines do make a
genuine effort I believe. There are times when the food is terribly affected by
the repeat heat cycles resulting in dried out food and washed out overcooked
vegetables. My question is that how can any food served by an airline be worse
than eating ice cold stodgy Methi Theplas with pickle? Just be a little less
fussy and eat your food for God’s sake.
Have a look at some of the better food served.
|Paneer with Sofiyani Pulao and Spinach|
|The Maharaja Thaali served on Kingfisher|
|Terrine with Quail Egg|
|Sandwich - Cajun Chicken with Onion rings|
|Clementine Bavarois with a chocolate collar and Almond Tuille|
|Tandoori Prawns with Mint Raita and Chickpea Salad|
|Goat Cheese Mousse with Pickled Beetroot|
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