• Tara Pederson

In Flight


Today I flew from New Orleans to Portland.

I saw an alligator crossing a major thoroughfare on the way to the airport, at 3a.m. I got a full pat down going through security. A woman next to me on the flight had her ferret with her. I watched the remnants of Hurricane Harvey out the airplane window.

And I thought about airport/airplane food- anything from packaged and processed to extensions of 5 star chef establishments. From bland, sad in flight meals to Air France transcontinental fare, which includes nice bread and cheese, and lovely palatable choices, and memories of snacking on puddle jumpers in Scotland, where they offered odd little divided plastic containers of puddings and pastries during 30 minute flights.

We do so many intimate things among strangers in our defiance of gravity- eat, sleep, conduct business, comfort loved ones, have emotional greetings and farewells...

Why then, do we make the food choices we do? Is it fuel alone? I fully admit to shameless indulgence in Texas airport barbeque when or if necessary -yes, necessary!- But is travel an excuse to crap out when it comes to food, to splurge and pretend the Cheetos and giant muffins don't matter? Is Starbucks coffee suddenly more acceptable because it is a convenient way to pump caffeine into our bodies? (In my world the answer to that is always, a thousand times over, NO, but that is a different tangent). Is there a reason we ask for Diet Cokes instead of hydrating ourselves while thousands of feet above Earth's surface? How many of us prepare home cooked meals when we return to our normal surroundings?

How does it all impact our journeys and homecomings? Maybe sometimes it doesn't... but maybe every now and then we need reminders of the importance of eating well. Not just for our health, though that is certainly important, but WELL. Treating ourselves the way we should, enjoying and appreciating all we can. Feeding our souls. Travel, I believe, is certainly effective in that way.

I remember how, after a family trip to Boston, we filed off the plane in New Orleans and went directly to Mandina's for big bowls of gumbo. But my return from Oregon will find me sad to leave the cuisine behind me, among other things.

Tell me what your travel eating habits are, and why? No shame, no judgement, just relating...

Help victims of Harvey here:http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546745827/looking-to-help-those-affected-by-harvey-here-s-a-list


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