So, when asked what he liked to eat on an airplane while traveling to Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain said he doesn’t eat on planes because he likes to arrive hungry. While I appreciate the sentiment, I have low blood sugar and if I waited till I arrived to eat (keeping in mind you have to be at the airport two hours early, there’s the flight itself and then getting your bags, transportation etc…) I would arrive D.O.A. Not just hungry, but hangry, dizzy and ready to kill someone, so that advice just doesn’t work for me.
I ALWAYS pack a snack, or meal when I travel because you never know what’s going to happen on your flight. You could be stuck on the runway for hours or, as recently happened to me, wait around the airport for eight hours only to find out your flight’s been cancelled. While there are restaurants in airports, they’re not always desirable (or you may not have time) and buying snacks at the airport shop is a very expensive (and hit or miss) way to go. Like a Girl Scout, I tried to be prepared when traveling.
My Go-To Snack is a Mediterranean Mezze Platter. Let’s start with olives, shall we? You know how you see olives in giant barrels at your local Mediterranean Market? These preserved fruits in the drupe group (related to mangoes, cherries and peaches) are filled with flavor and healthy fats. They are a rather indestructible carry-on food item; I recently got a bag at Trader Joe’s, but you could also pick and pack your own.
Next up, nuts. I love almonds and especially Trader Joe’s Truffle Marcona Almonds, but any type of nut- pistachios, cashews, walnuts- will do as a crunchy, healthy snack. They go perfectly with dried fruit such as apricots or dates, but I also like to take fresh fruit on my flights. My favorite go-to is an apple, as it travels well and doesn’t easily damage. I either cut it up ahead, or make sure to take a knife (plastic) to slice it.
If you plan ahead and pack a little cooler, your range of options increases. Cheese and crackers, sliced vegetables and hummus and even a preserved meat, like prosciutto or salami are welcome options to your Mezze platter. I bring a napkin, wet wipe, plate or little cutting board to arrange my charcuterie on, as well. Of course, what goes best with this arrangement of food is a nice glass of vino. Red or white will do.
However, on my recent American flight, when I asked for a glass of wine, they told me they’re not serving alchohol “yet”. And I had to wonder, what in the hell does the Pandemic and COVID-19 have to do with serving wine? They served us a plastic bag with water, pretzels and a Clorox disinfecting wipe (whoopee!), so we had to remove our mask to eat and drink anyway.
I feel the Pandemic has been used as a catch-all excuse for sheer laziness for many people. Now that workers have had a taste of working from home, with no getting made-up, dressed or being stuck in traffic for hours, they don’t want to go back to the old grind. And “I’m working from home”, instead of an embarrassing admission is now proclaimed as a badge of honor and considered a legitimate disclaimer for all things not delivered. (Sorry for the rant!)
Flight attendants duties on-board flights were drastically reduced post 9-11 and, post-Pandemic have been reduced even further. As a former flight attendant, I used to have to take drink orders, serve drinks, deliver a meal, pour coffee and tea and then pick it all up for 137 people, on a three hour flight to New York. We were sometimes still picking up as we landed! Now, you’re lucky if you see a flight attendant at all during your flight. I realize flight attendants are there primarily for our health and well being, but a little venture into the service side of the job, now and then, would be greatly appreciated.
At any rate, if you’re traveling on a plane this summer, I hope I’ve given you some ideas on an easy snack to pack. Now, if I could just get a glass of wine to go with my moveable feast…