Steaks on a Plane!

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by Newscience, Nov 17, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Good Steaks on a Plane: So Rare

    November 13, 2013
    London
    British Airways thinks it has the answer for flavorless airline food: umami.
    Airline food can take a beating on its way to the plate. It's cooked many hours before a flight, then rapidly chilled, wrapped, trucked, stored and reheated. This often leaves it overcooked, dry and tough. In the air, passengers lose about 30% of their ability to taste as a result of extremely dry cabin conditions and high-altitude pressure inside airplanes. So even food that might be appetizing on the ground tastes bland at 35,000 feet.
    For years airlines have added salt to give the food a semblance of flavor and ladled on sauces to combat dryness. Competition among carriers has intensified in business class and first class, and airlines now spend as much as $50 a person serving signature dishes from celebrity chefs. But for many travelers, it often still tastes like, well, airline food...

    See:

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB20001424052702303789604579195823006518910
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Until there are actual chefs and kitchens on flights (will not happen) airline food will always taste a bit off. True of any pre-made meals that are re-heated hours later.
     
  3. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    A great point! Well, when you fly bc on Austrian Airlines, the male flight attendants wear chef's hats, that at least gives the illusion that your food is prepared fresh! ;)
     
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  4. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Yep, chef Boyardee also wears a chef hat, but I ain't in a hurry to open one of them cans!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  5. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Interestingly, Chef Hector Bioardi was a real-life Italian chef, and the rest of the story is history: ;)

    http://www.chefboyardee.com/history
     
  6. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    then why do my leftover meals at home taste so good? :confused:
     
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  7. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    The sequel to Snakes on a plane except it's passengers that pay extra in F to grill your own steak in the forward galley. They could just install gas grills so you can prepare each steak to your own taste. But then I'm afraid they would run into problems from the unions because they are preparing food without assistance from a union member. What a better mix: Fire, Jet Fuel and Cabin Pressure at 35,000 feet :)
     
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  8. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    And I remember being served steak in coach seating on a flight to BDA, but that was a very long time ago! :rolleyes:
     
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  9. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Based on what I hear, you never have leftovers! :p
    You must be slipping.
     
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  10. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Some years ago, I knew 2 crew members from Alitalia Airlines. They would tell me stories about flights to and from southwest Asia, where the passengers in coach would try to start fires to cook their food on the plane!
     
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  11. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    There is the new TV add with some football player where they have grills that pull down instead of tray tables :)
     
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  12. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Well, it sounds like George Foreman was flying along with those football players! ;)
     
  13. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Sometimes, an "illusion," is as good as it gets...
     
  14. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Way back when, I flew Eastern Airlines from the East Coast to MSY quite often. They had a great Baked Chicken in coach, and a decent Filet Mignon in FC. Normally, I am not a fan of any Baked Chicken, but they managed to do a very good job. In a flight on FC, the cabins were only about 1/4 of capacity, and they had the full compliment of food. After the Filet (pretty good), I asked if they had any of the Baked Chicken leftover. Well, they had a bunch, and quickly provided one. [They also had plenty of the Filets, so coach got several of those too.]

    For a bit, some years ago (pre-Charlie Trotter days - RIP), UA was doing some interesting and enjoyable dinners in BC & FC, but that plan got nixed, far too soon, as did their "sommelier's selections" of wine. Now, their food is just sort of OK, so long as you do not eat the "death sausages" for breakfast.
     
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  15. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Newscience,

    In a similar article (do not recall if it was WSJ, or maybe a business flier mag?), much was written about picking the in-flight wines. The inability to properly taste the wines (like the food in your cited article) was a big part of the equation, and several sommeliers commented on what they looked for - a wine that was still enjoyable at 35,000 feet. The author of the article did tastings on the ground, and then was provided the opportunity to taste those same wines, in-flight. His/her observation was that wines that tasted great on the ground, fell flat at altitude and vice-versa.

    The closest that I have ever come to that, has been with Ports. Most of the in-flight offerings are just not wines that I drink on the ground - Ports being the exception. Due to the characteristics of Port, they do not seem to loose ALL that much in the air, or not that I can observe. Also, the usual stemware (on UA) is more similar for the Ports, than for the other wines. Few airlines have decent wine glasses, as would be expected. As the stemware can affect the perceived flavors and aromas in the wines, on has to make do.
     
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  16. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Messi & Turkish Airline along with Kobe ?
     
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    A Southwest passenger tried to do this last week at MSP. When she failed to get some cooking device with a propane tank through TSA security and dumped it at the SunCountry ticket counter, authorities dumped and closed the terminal. They called the bomb squad because pipes and wires were sticking out of the box. She was pulled oof her flight and detained for questioing. It's not clear whether she grilled steaks from her holding cell for cops and TSA workers.
     
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  18. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Bill Hunt, thanks for the tip on a very interesting article! That does sound like a piece that either Lettie Teague of the WSJ or MW Jancis Robinson would have written. I must have missed it.

    And I guess that it's no surprise that wines are perceived to taste better on the ground than "up in the air" of a pressurized airplane cabin. I suspect that drinking a bottle of say, Dom Perignon or a vintage "Big Bordeaux" (e.g., Ch. Lafite, Ch. Mouton Rothschild, etc.) while in flight would be a waste of very good wine.

    You may have a point about the taste of Ports and heavy red wines while in flight. We prefer full-throttle Syrahs (among other grape wines) at home. I pretty much always try to order a glass of the most full-bodied red wine available with my meal on a long-haul flight. They're usually not too bad. But, I can't seem to recall having a wine that was distinctive enough for me to want to write down it's label information to obtain more of the same back home - although I should think that any wine producer would want this to be a goal of every consumer!

    The one business class service that impressed me with both the wine selection available and wine knowledge of the air crew was on an Austrian Airline flight from IAD to VIE about a year ago. But, I also had a cold at the time, and couldn't properly evaluate the wines at the time.

    Hmmm, why not bring a wine glass with you aboard your flight? Hopefully, there's no TSA rules against this? I wonder what the airlines would say, and suspect that it depends upon which one and which class of service you are sitting in.
    Newscience
     
  19. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Yes, my "steaks on a plane" coach class service experience was also on Eastern Airlines flights from the US to BDA. :D

    It's hard to get excited about airline food these days. The "chicken or pasta" choices get pretty darn old. I'll take a Potbelly Deli sandwich and a bag of chips over most of the airline fare any day, and so will most other flyers, which is why the airport food vendors do so well.
     
  20. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Newscience,

    I am with you, on full-bodied reds (so very seldom see a full-bodied white) on a plane. We had a nice little Village-level red Burg, not that long ago. I had tasted it on the ground, several months before, but at 30K ft. it just flat disappeared - not one element came through. Such a shame, as a FR Pinot Noir can be so very food-friendly - just not on a plane.

    Other than the fortified wines, we normally enjoy some wines that ARE "bigger."

    It has gotten to the point that we most often are flying UA, and especially on long-haul, that we do not get to experience what other airlines are doing. Maybe we need to branch out more, but that 1K, and my wife's nearing 1MM status, are a real siren song. :confused: Also, my wife keeps pointing out that we usually have a restaurant reservation for shortly after landing. Still, during 10 - 15 hours in-flight, it would certainly be nice to have better wines.

    Going back several years, I mounted a major campaign with UA to add higher-level wines in the Red Carpet Clubs. Lots of letters, e-mails and surveys with UA. I walked into the D Gate RCC at IAD, and the hostess announced, "Well, you have gotten your way. We now have premium wines!" She was correct - they had just been added. However, it was such a short time later (merger with CO), and RCC's became UA Lounges, and they added the old President's Lounge (is that the correct name for CO's lounges?) free house wine and house beer, BUT they did keep the premiums. I worried, and still query the bartenders on how well the premiums are selling. So far, and in many Lounges, very well. At two SFO Lounges, the are actually pouring about 1:1 free house vs premium. I see that as a good thing, indicating that I was not the only UA patron, who wanted better, and were willing to pay $ for those.
     
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  21. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    As a followup on the stemware, I have a padded sachel with 2 Tritan Bdx. stems and 2 Tritan Champagne flutes. I suppose that we could take that, as I seldom have more than my briefcase for carry-on, so would be within the limits there. It could go underseat on all but some of those UA domestic (US) FC flights, where the underseat storage is occupied by mechanics. We normally only take the satchel on auto trips to places that we do not anticipate having good, in-room glassware (fairly common in the US West, where things are a bit more "cowboy."), but have never flown with them. Maybe I'll consider that next trip to LHR. Only concern would be the balance of the stems in-flight, but so long as I could have my usual light pour, it should not be THAT big a deal. You got me athinkin'.
     
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