Friday, December 07, 2012
flying with gordon ramsay
Travel is not what it once was.
No headlines there. But now and then something comes along to remind us of what once was.
Today I ran across two menus and accompanying wine lists from one of my flights from England. In November 1993 according to the menus. I suspect it was the return trip after taking a Concorde flight from Portland to London.
Both appear to be dinner menus. And that is certainly possible. The flight would have come in two segments -- with a break in Newark.
The courses are enough to inform you the food is from another era. Before passengers became health-obsessed, and airline executives heard only the voices of their accountants.
Nuts. Appetizers. Salad. Entree. Fruit and Cheese. Dessert. International Coffee.
The type of meal that would be served at LA Tante Claire. Formerly one of my favorite London eateries. RIP.
Do you doubt that airplane food could ever be good? Just listen to the choice of entrees.
Choice center cut of salmon steak grilled to perfection and enhanced by lobster dill butter.
Grilled Lamb. Tender lamb chops topped with maître d'hôtel butter.
Chicken Forestière. Baked breast of free-range chicken served with a medley of forest mushrooms.
Steamed Maine lobster served chilled on a bed of romaine lettuce.
And that is just the first menu. The other menu offers monkfish, veal, duck, and chicken.
These days, I frequently fly internationally between The States and Mexico. I have never been offered anything similar to these meals. At best, I get a salad with some very suspect slices of meat topping it. Or a sandwich.
I am not certain when airline meals went from memorable dining to forgettable snacks. However, at some point, I started packing my own meals. With china, linen, crystal, silverware, and four course meals.
It was my way of entertaining myself on long trips. On my regular routes, the flight attendants who knew me would bring me special treats from the galley.
Of course, that all ended with the increased security following the Islamic terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC.
The first to go was the silverware. Even though the airline provided me with knives and forks just as lethal. Then, in what could only be described as insanity, the china and crystal could not make it through security. On the bogus claim they could be used as weapons.
What was I going to do? Threaten to smash the Wedgwood or crack the Waterford? Causing horror amongst my fellow passengers?
My current travel kit consists of two linen napkins, an unbreakable Corelware plate, Carr's water crackers, 3 year old Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese, Boar's Head pepperoni, and a sliced honeycrisp apple.
It may not be as classy as my ginger-lime-kumquat chicken over wild rice, but it better reflects our age of lowered expectations.
At least, it frees me from eating another of those questionable sandwiches on my flight to Manzanillo.