Air Fare

Once, far in the past and well beyond the recollection of modern travelers, American airlines used to serve actual food on planes.  To quote Steely Dan, those days are gone forever, over a long time ago.  Now, on most flights, it’s a quick offering of lukewarm coffee and some kind of “snack.”

And it’s not like the “snack” options present the air passenger with a broad smorgasbord of mouth-watering choices, either.  Typically, three choices are offered, and two of them inevitably are peanuts and pretzels.  Any time, day or night, whether you’re on an early morning flight or trying to just get home before midnight, you can get twice your daily quotient of sodium by having the flight attendant hand you a tiny bag of greasy peanuts or stale pretzels.  Somewhere, somewhen, airlines entered into a devil’s pact with the peanut growers and pretzel bakers of America and agreed that they would comprise two of the three choices offered American air travelers.

Do you ever wonder what kind of exotic, interesting, and possibly non-salt-laden food is offered on Air India, or Air Mozambique flights?  What does Finnish Air furnish to its passengers?  We can be reasonably certain that peanuts and pretzels aren’t on the menu in every airline flying anywhere in the world.  It makes you want to fly on an international airline just to see what kinds of alternatives might actually be presented.  This is a radical notion, but perhaps — just perhaps — the offerings move beyond the already overused nut and salt categories.

If, like me, the idea of eating pretzels or salty peanuts isn’t all that appealing on a 7 a.m. flight, your focus is on the third option.  If you’re lucky, it’s some kind of granola bar or trail mix — something substantial, and chewy, and maybe with a fleck or two of dried fruit in it.  If that’s not available, you hope for the generic faux biscotti cookie/cracker, which at least is edible and not overpoweringly sugary or artificially flavored.  But sometimes, you get some mad airline food buyer’s failed experiment — like the maple-flavored cookies I was handed on a recent flight.  Really, maple-flavored?  How many people really crave the maple taste on anything other than a stack of buttery pancakes?  Can’t airlines at least aim for the middle, and try to identify food offerings that are reasonably calculated to appeal to a significant chunk of the weary air travelers of America?

I ate the maple wafers, of course, and I can say that while they were maple-flavored, at least there weren’t many of them.

It’s time to start booking some overseas travel.

 

 

Advertisements

The Back Page Of The Sunday Comics

The other day Kish and I were wandering through a thrift store. On a shelf stuffed with old Saturday Evening Posts and long forgotten board games, I saw this Dondi puzzle.

Dondi? I haven’t thought of Dondi in years. For those of you who never encountered the little guy, he was a “goody two shoes” type who appeared on the back pages of the Akron Beacon Journal Sunday comics section. Dondi was one of those darkly colored, continuing story comic strips that had a more serious bent — like the severe-looking, judgmental Mary Worth, who always seemed to be meddling in other people’s lives, or Brenda Starr, Reporter, the glamorous, starry-eyed journalist who never seemed to actually sit down at a typewriter.

I never actually read any Dondi comics, because it was one of those back pages strips. I read the front page, with Peanuts and Dagwood and Blondie and Beetle Bailey, and would read back past Andy Capp and The Lockhorns and Cappy Dick, but Gasoline Alley was as far back as I would go. The last pages of the Sunday comics were forbidding territory, with strange adult themes. If Dondi was placed back there, with all of that drama and angst, that told you all you needed to know.

What kid would want to read that stuff? It would be like telling your Mom on a fine summer day that instead of playing outside with your friends you wanted to sit down with her and watch The Days Of Our Lives or As the World Turns.

The Airline Diet

In my lifetime, there have been many diet fads.  Scarsdale.  Atkins.  The Caveman Diet.

But what about the Airline Diet?  That’s the diet in which you would do nothing except eat and drink what you get for free on an airplane trip.  Diet Coke or water for refreshment.  Peanuts and maybe some crackers for sustenance.  All served by a hurried attendant rolling a cart down a narrow aisle, and consumed on a plastic tray that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned as you sit bumping elbows with complete strangers.

Sure, your sodium content probably would go through the roof, but you’d soon lose any interest in food — which seems to be the goal of many diets, anyway.  When you see people eating on an airplane, it’s a purely mechanical exercise.  You munch on the food because it’s been given to you and it’s something to do while you’re up in the air.  No one is really paying much attention, much less savoring the experience.  Of course, with a steady diet of Diet Coke, peanuts, and Cheese Nips, who would?

A Flatiron Friday

For, oh, about 20 years now I’ve been periodically going to the Flatiron Bar & Diner on Nationwide Boulevard in Columbus.

The Flatiron bar on a Friday afternoon

Sometimes I go to the Flatiron for lunch, and when I do — curse my predictability! — I get their exceptionally good cheeseburger.  Sometimes, on a Friday afternoon, I’ll stop by to drink a beer and eat some peanuts with friends.  It is a great place, with fine food, friendly folks, and a never-ending supply of cold beer and peanuts.

Today, with the Buckeyes playing a late game, it was a perfect Flatiron Friday.  I stopped and had a beer, cracked a few peanuts, and thoroughly discussed the Buckeyes-Wildcats game, the Tressel situation, and other topics equally crucial to the future of civilization as we know it.  Now I’m ready for tonight’s game, and for the weekend to follow.