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Don't pay for poor meal service on airlines, bring your own food (BYOF) and enjoy! (Frozen Food Forum).

Would you believe that a number of airlines in the United States are seriously thinking about about charging passengers for the all too often lousy food they serve? It's bad enough that Continental started making trans-Atlantic coach class customers pay $4 or the like amount in euros for a can of beer or glass--no, make that plastic cup--of wine last summer. Now Northwest is reportedly asking captives on select domestic flights to fork over $10 for lunch and dinner, or $7 for a turkey club sandwich.

When is the airline industry going to again realize that it's in the hospitality business, and is not simply a provider of basic transportation? I know that times ate tough and cash-strapped carriers are desperate to increase revenues, but charging customers for mediocre meals is a bankrupt idea from the wheels up. It just won't fly.

On my next journey into the friendly skies I'll be prepared, If a flight attendant dares to ask me to pay for a run-of-the-mill Chicken a la Tasteless with pasty pasta, or Beef Believe it or Not with overcooked, shriveled carrots, the response will be: "No thanks, I brought my own food. Please heat it up for me."

Then I'll pull out frozen samples from some of the more innovative menu developers around the world, assuming they are kind enough to donate to the cause prior to take-off. Let's see, with Chinese New Year coming up soon, what better excuse is there to indulge in Crispy Peking Duck or Chinese Duck Pancakes. It just so happens that Cherry Valley Farms Ltd. in England produces heat-and-eat retail packs of same. A perfect carry-on item, don't you think?

"We are the world leader in integrated duck production, and recognized as a top quality producer of value-added products in Southeast Asia as well as in Europe," Cherry Valley's Eric Jagger recently told this writer. "Peking duck is our specialty, and it's now available in foil bags and well as in cartons."

It seems to me that even the airline folks should have no problem warming up the foil bag version. Very well then, Peking (not Beijing) Duck delicately rolled in pancakes dipped in hoisin sauce (as seen above) will serve deliciously as a BYOF in-flight treat to eat.

Maybe I'll relax with a cocktail prior to dinner. A drop of Bombay (not Mumbai) Gin would be just the thing to cleanse the palate before the plane climbs high into the sky, dulling my taste buds incrementally as the altitude increases.

Before the main course, of course, comes a starter. A healthy serving of Edamame boiled green soybeans [distributed by Nippon Suisan from either Japan or Holland] will do nicely. These babies (literally and figuratively) ate rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins B1, B2 and C. You just hold them between your thumb and forefinger, then pop the inner beans into your mouth. No heating is necessary, just thaw and jaw. However, the services of a flight attendant will be required to fetch a beer (preferably a cold Sapporo draft, though a frosty Qingdao will do almost as well), which mandatorily goes along with Edamame.

Next let's indulge in a Thai fruit salad. How about a mix of rambutan, mango chunks, diced pineapple and papaya balls? Lanna Agro Co., Ltd. of Chiang Mai can supply it fresh-frozen.

For a proper dessert, let's enjoy the sweet taste of Amalattea's la Gelatreia Glace a la Fraise, made in Italy with 100% goat milk. Maurizio Sperati of Rome created the frozen strawberry concoction, which was unveiled to the world at the SIAL in Paris last autumn. While formulated with lactose-intolerant consumers in mind, this creamy delight goes down just as well with those not allergic to cow's milk.

So, dear reader, you might ask: What if the friendly flight attendant does not cooperate with my BYOF plan and refuses to heat up the Chinese Duck Pancakes of keep the goat milk ice cream in the freezer until the time comes to dish it out? Then, heaven forbid, I'll have to heed to words of celebrity master chef and frozen food packer Wolfgang Puck: "An airplane is a great place to diet."

Unless you're sitting up front in a first class seat, that is.
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Comment:Don't pay for poor meal service on airlines, bring your own food (BYOF) and enjoy! (Frozen Food Forum).
Author:Saulnier, John M.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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