food in flight

There’s nothing new to discover on a plane. It’s the same upholstery, the same signage, the same smile-frozen flight attendants. The beverage service offers a nice break from the awkward shuffle from book to ipod to computer to magazine. Though I drink it nowhere else, I’m compelled to get a ginger ale on the plane. Seems to make sense. Like root beer with pizza.

And all I’m expecting to go with my soda is one hermetically sealed snack mix. But, it seems United is tentatively stepping up to confront the no-food-on-the-plane criticism by offering an assortment of snack boxes for $5 a apiece, the contents of which are located on page 197 of the in-flight magazine.

With a per diem to burn, I reached unabashedly into the seat pocket in front of me and swiftly flipped the magazine to page 197. I studied the contents of each box carefully, weighing one option against the other. Yes, I am in the mood for lavosh crackers, but that mini-toblerone does sound really good. What’s the trade-off, a latte candy? What is that? Ok, this one I’m writing off, just because it seems too junk foody- aloutte cheese spread, crackers, milano cookies. No, if I was feeling indulgent, I’d go there. This one, way too 7-11. Meaty steak bites? Tortilla chips, salsa, trail mix. Wait a minute. If I could just ignore the steak bites, I think I could get behind this. They are so compiled without rhyme or reason that I look to the titles to guide me in their thinking;

Beef bites, baked chedder cheese snacks, stoned classics all-natural blue tortilla chips, salsa, honey coated trail mix, mrs field’s milk chocolate chip cookie.
For this one the people who put this together got their nephew really stoned, armed him with $10 and pushed him inside a 7-11 and whatever he got, went into the quick-pick.

Rite Bite
One can lemon pepper tuna, organic crackers, pita chips, Wild Garden Hummus, gouda cheese slice, newman’s own organic raisins, mini-toblerone.
Big organic thanks you for the nod, United. It’s bad you’ve been driving your knees into my back for the last three hours. But now I have to smell you eating tuna for the next one? Have the united people ever been in an office before?

lavosh crackers, white chedder, sunspread (whatever that is), peach applesauce, latte candy. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the organizing principle of the jumpstart might be. Maybe this is the high carb/ intense protein combination? Or maybe it’s in reference to the coffee candy? Either way, why do you want to get all jumpstarted when you’re just going to sit in a tube for another few hours.

Hormel hard salami bites, rondel cheese spread, venus stoned wheat crackers, applesauce (noted as unsweetened, for no logical reason) chips, milano cookies

This I though of as the junk food one, what with the Hormel and the milano cookies. But then the whole unsweetened applesauce is thrown in and I’m not sure what to make of it. I certainly don’t think it’s a meal. Mini or otherwise.

Outbound, I choose the Quick Pick. On the way back, the Rite Bite. I guess I’m drawn to the rhyme scheme. With both, I pick and choose the most edible pieces, looking wistfully at the stranger’s selection next to me, wondering if it would be too bold to ask to trade my Newman’s Own Organic Raisins for his stoned classics all natural tortilla chips. I stare too long. He hurriedly packs up his food and dons an eye mask to feign sleep while I wonder if I should have chosen the Mini-Meal instead.

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