Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Picnic in the Sky

Libi Astaire

In-flight dining may have gotten off to a bumpy start, but there was a time when everyone on board an airplane received gourmet meals served on elegant china. Follow the progression from that first champagne toast in the air to today’s salted peanuts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

For thousands of years, people yearned to fly. When that dream became a reality, a new challenge arose: “What’s for dinner?” In his new book Food in the Air and Space (Rowman & Littlefield), author Richard Foss charts the course of the rise and fall of in-flight cuisine. Along the way, we meet intrepid chefs struggling to heat meals without setting the plane on fire, resolute scientists determined to find out why airplane meals taste so awful at 5,000 miles high, and a $40,000 olive. So, fasten your seatbelts while we take off for our first culinary stop: Paris, France.   Flight Cuisine Uncorked Air travel began not with a wing and a prayer, but with a balloon and lots of hot air. On December 1, 1783, a hydrogen balloon equipped with a wicker basket for passengers took off fromParis on a two-hour journey that traveled about 22 miles. On board were two Frenchmen, physicistJacquesCharles and one of the balloon’s builders,Nicolas-LouisRobert. Although this wasn’t the first manned balloon flight — that distinction went to an ascent the week before — it does hold an honored place in the annals of food history. Right before takeoff,Charles popped the cork on a bottle of champagne, filled two glasses, and toasted the crowd, which numbered more than 400,000 and included KingLouisXVI, QueenMarieAntoinette, and the US ambassador toFrance,BenjaminFranklin. In-flight beverage service had begun.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"