Learn more about airplane food, and you just might come to embrace it

Illustration for article titled Learn more about airplane food, and you just might come to embrace it
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Since the dawn of air travel, there have been jokes about the quality of airplane food. But, when you really sit and think about it, what do you expect? You’re in a tightly contained environment that’s soaring tens of thousands of feet above the earth’s surface, with recirculating air and chemical toilets and who-knows-what for a water supply. It’s a miracle you’re even up there! And yet somehow people are shocked that food served in a flying metal tube isn’t top notch. You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.


When you consider all that’s involved in feeding you while you’re 35,000 feet in the air, your disappointing airplane food starts to get a little more impressive. If you’re interested in reading more about the subject, Vox has published a fascinating deep dive written by Terry Nguyen. It touches on plane food’s history during the golden age of air travel, tracing a line to the current production process and the logistics required to feed thousands of people a day in a less than ideal environment. Nguyen also highlights the hardworking people who make it possible for you to not starve while you’re doing what mankind has dreamed of since the dawn of time. Always remember: While you might not be happy with the number of cherry tomatoes you get in your in-flight salad, Icarus died so that you could one day have the ability to eat flaccid salad amongst the stars.

Allison Robicelli is a writer, recipe czar, former professional chef, author of four (quite good) books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Tweet me for recipe help: @Robicellis.



I will rail on about it until my dying day: airlines should only serve simple meals. The fancier they try to be, the worse I find they are.

There are exceptions to this, obviously, but most western airlines make just awful meals.

At some point, I am going to give in and take a bento box of my own creating.