Food Tales

Food for the Journey: Melissa Clark's Plane Snacks

by Melissa Clark

Breakfast in Paris. Photo by Melissa Clark, who won't have a bad meal anywhere.

Melissa Clark, best-selling New York Times food columnist and author of the new cookbook Dinner: Changing the Game has probably never had a bad meal. And that includes when she's 3,000 in the air. Here's what she packs for the journey. Closer to earth, you can eat like Melissa and cook her Dinner recipe for Turkish lamb chops.

I have my strategies when it comes to eating on planes, and they change depending how long the flight is and who I'm traveling with. But the short of it all is: I try not to eat on planes, and if a flight is shorter than three or four hours, I can usually get by with things scavenged on the plane — sweet hot tea with milk, water, a package of Biscoffs or pretzels, a banana if I'm lucky.

Longer-haul flights and flights with my family need planning. I always bring plenty of cut-up fruits and veggies packed in little plastic containers. (Pro mom tip: You'll be grateful for the little plastic containers on the trip home.) Strawberries, cucumbers, carrots, blueberries, pineapple. And not just enough for my daughter: I eat these too. Fresh fruit and veggies on a plane feel luxurious and reviving. And somehow balance out the inevitable Biscoffs.

Then we get some kind of sandwich from our local fancy gourmet shop — prosciutto and butter is non-messy and easy to eat and doesn't stink like the bagels and lox I used to bring.

Once when I was flying home from Rome, I brought a bag of fresh fava beans and a hunk of pecorino on the plane. The flight attendant was so charmed watching me peel each little bean and eat it with a sliver of salty cheese and a sip of bad economy prosecco that he brought me a glass of good first-class Franciacorta.

Oh and, yes, I do drink moderate amounts of alcohol on airplanes, despite admonitions not to. A nip followed by a nap is my recipe for a happy flight.


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