Friday, February 3, 2012

an appreciation for sweetness

Royal Air Maroc, Casablanca to New York
Breakfast service- coffee with milk and sugar, sweetened yogurt, pain au lait with a slice of cheese, pain au lait with pat of butter, mini Mars bar

Spicy food, fried food, boiled food, cold food, salty food, mashed food, can all be very divisive. Opinions run deep and the contentions can get political. Sweet food, however, seems to be a common denominator across all the world's cuisines, be it processed and refined and presented as a chocolate bar, or stirred into a beverage, or incorporated as a subtle note in baking bread. 
So, to sugar, and the magic it creates: thanks. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Air France, Detroit to Paris
chicken and rice pilaf, roll and butter and monterey jack cheese, roasted chicken with mushrooms and haricots verts and yellow rice, chocolate pudding and cheesecake

Given that all you're doing for eight hours is staying buckled in and dozing in and out of sleep, sometimes these long haul meals can seem excessive. But whatever, you put it in front of me, and i will eat it. 
I've never flown under duress before. I've never had to flee from a disaster, or escape a political situation, or be lifted away from something beyond control. I flew home for my grandfather's funeral last summer, but he was 94, and even with that I felt inclined to tell the staff checking me in and the flight attendants welcoming me on board and the poor soul seated next to me on the flight and the people waving me through at customs that I, sniffle, was in mourning. 
If the occasion ever happens, however, that I have to catch the next flight out of a place because my life is in danger, I think the attempts at normalcy on a flight would be reassuring. Once you've hit cruising altitude, you're impervious to whatever you're running away from. A three course dinner will be served, a light comedy will be shown, the cabin lights will be dimmed to simulate nighttime. You're safe now, at least until the descent begins. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

oodles of noodles

Air Nigeria, Lagos, Nigeria, to Douala, Cameroun
Stir fried beef and noodles with red and green peppers, roll and butter, cream cake

The food of the moment in Nigeria: ramen. There are plants in Lagos that now manufacture their own ramen noodles, in familiar flavors such as spicy chicken and BBQ beef in that even more familiar brick of yellow curls, tossed into a thin plastic bag along with a foil pouch of MSG and salt. The only unfamiliar element here is the picture on the package of a Black family sitting in front of steaming bowls of ramen. Forks, though, not chopsticks. Not everyone is the same way, but for me, soup is not the first thing that comes to my mind when it is 95 degrees outside and it's only 8 o' clock in the morning, which, given Nigeria's equatorial latitude, is often the case. If there was ever a doubt about how wonderful ramen noodles are- the global takeover continues.
The most populous nation in Africa is now ramen noodle sufficient. I wonder when Naija will start exporting ramen to Nippon. 

at home

Delta, New York to St. Louis
peanuts and cranberry juice

I wonder what inclined Coca Cola to think that affiliating themselves with Delta was a good idea. I have no position on the matter, I enjoy Coca Cola products and I think Delta is a good airline except when my flight is canceled (twice) or delayed (four times now? probably more) but I'd just like to know, do these CEOs share a cubby for their lunchboxes? do they play in the same Little League? How are these allegiances formed? Coca Cola, Delta, McDonalds, the cool kids that no one wants to like, but secretly, they do.