The Mystery of Poor Airplane Food Explained


You missed lunch, you are lugging two carry-ons, a magazine, shuffling along a tired cranky child, hurrying through the concourse trying to make your connection at the airport. You just make it. You get everything organized in the overhead and you sit down, lean back, and relax.

Then the hunger pains start. You look forward to something to eat. Anything you say.

When the food cart comes you request a turkey sandwich. You are starved. You eagerly bite in and reality sets in. Another un-appetizing and tasteless sandwich.                                                                                                                                             

Why does airplane food taste so bland, boring, dull, cardboard-like and flat? Even when you are starving?

Scientists have been investigating and finally have an answer.

And it is not necessarily poor food quality.

Seems the culprit is us. Or rather more precisely our taste buds. Or even more precisely than that, the way our taste buds work or don’t work at high elevations.

Who knew?

At low elevations, at around 1000 feet, the taste buds function optimally. However, the higher you go, the less the taste buds work properly.

It starts even before you take off.

If you remember your high school human anatomy and physiology lessons, you know that smell is a very important part of taste. If you cannot smell the food it has no taste, or at best a bland taste.

The atmosphere inside an airplane cabin dries out the nose thus preventing us from smelling our food thus leading to a bland taste of food on an airplane.

It get worse from there.

From the New York Times:

As the plane ascends, the change in air pressure numbs about a third of the taste buds. And as the plane reaches a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, cabin humidity levels are kept low by design, to reduce the risk of fuselage corrosion. Soon, the nose no longer knows. Taste buds are M.I.A. Cotton mouth sets in. [Emphasis mine.]

So the combination of not being able to smell plus the numbing of a third of our taste buds makes just about everything taste bland at best when flying.

The same phenomenon occurs with the common cold. A stuffed nose makes your food taste bland too. 

The New York Times article goes on to explain why more tomato juice is consumed on planes – it tastes less acidic in the high altitude air than on the ground. The taste of wine is also adversely affected on a plane, even expensive ones.

You can read the full story by clicking the link above.

Since this is the case, taking my own food on a plane trip would not even help it seems. But then I do not have to worry about plane food at all these days as I don’t/won’t fly any more anyway.

That is a different story all together.

Onwards food lovers…….

Featured Recipes  
Scrambled Eggs with Swiss Cheese and Chives  with
Bing Cherry and Banana Salad with Lemony Poppy Seed Dressing

I am frazzled today.

Seems my part time jobs combined with having to get my taxes in order has left me with little time this week.

So today I want some thing REALLY QUICK and EASY for dinner. Nothing fancy mind you. Just some thing fast. This is what I whipped up last night for dinner.

Real Fast Food

Eggs are always my go to when I do not know what to eat or fix or when I am time challenged. I almost always have eggs in the fridge. Then I just have to add what ever else is lurking in my fried and pantry.

And to make up for not having a proper recipe or dish for you today I am giving you a twofer. I am also sharing a fast, sweet, and delicious salad recipe with you.

I love eggs. They are so versatile. And so easy to cook. Crack it. Fry, scramble, poach, hard-boil, or soft-boil it. You have a complete meal in a little shell.

This recipe also makes a good midnight snack.

With bacon or sausage it makes a wonderful breakfast too.

A side of mushrooms would be divine.

And you can change the ingredients around to fit what is lurking around your refrigerator. You can use Cheddar cheese, Mozzarella, whatever you cheese you like. Same for the herb. Don’t have chives? Use basil or thyme. Oregano would be wonderful. If you want to kick it up a notch add red pepper flakes.

Here is what you will need for 3 people:

 3 English muffin toasted and buttered

6 tablespoons butter

5-6 eggs

Swiss Cheese Shredded (about 1-2 tablespoons per person)

3 tablespoons chopped chives

Salt and pepper to taste.

Here is what you do:

Beat the eggs with a whisk and set aside.

Toast the muffins and lightly butter.

Melt the butter in a skillet.

stir the cheese into the melted butter………….

…………..and over very low heat let the cheese melt.

Add the chives, reserving a few for garnish.

Now add the eggs to the skillet and mix well.

 Cook over very low heat stirring constantly.

When the mixture becomes creamy and begins to thicken and reachers the consistency you like place the eggs on top of the buttered English muffins.

Add a bit of salt and pepper and garnish with the reserved chives.


3 English muffin                                $1.00

6 tablespoons butter                          $0.90

5-6 eggs                                          $1.00

Swiss Cheese Shredded                     $1.41

Chopped chives                                 $0.66 

Salt and pepper

Total Cost = $4.97
Cost per person = $1.65
Recipe # 2: Bing Cherry and Banana Salad with Lemony Poppy Seed Dressing
Here is what you need for 3 people.
For the salad:

½ pounds Bing cherries         $1.27  

2 bananas                            $0.79

For the dressing:

¼ cup lemonade concentrate          $0.08             

2 tablespoons honey                       $0.31                                     

1 tablespoon vegetable oil               $0.07

1 teaspoon poppy seeds                 $0.31

Here is what you do:

Wash the cherries.

Cut the cherries in half, discarding the pits.

Make the dressing by simply whisking all of the dressing ingredients together.

When you are ready to serve the salad add some of the dressing to the cherries.

Then slice the bananas and add them to the salad. Drizzle a bit of the dressing over the bananas.

Total cost = $2.83
Cost per person = $0.94

Bon appétit!!!

Quote of the Day

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you. 

Oscar Wilde


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