How your airplane food is made: everything you never wanted to know

You ’ rhenium sitting in 47K, the ever-flushing toilet behind you, squeezed between a hippopotamus and a charwoman who has both a capriciously small bladder and the window induct. The airline ‘s play Cloudy with a probability of Meatballs 2. When things ca n’t get any worse, a beige “ meal ” is dropped onto your tray table by a sneer flight attendant. But where does plane food come from … before making it to the galley ? Take a Pepto, gentle reader, and follow its travel from menu ideation to meal, learning some far-out facts about flying food along the way.
1. Meals are meticulously planned up to a year in advance, right down to how many maraschino cherry portions go in each fruit cocktail ( answer : one ). That ’ south because every ingredient counts — American Airlines saved $ 40,000/yr by removing a individual olive from each of their in-flight salads. 2. Often, food’s tested in-flight, because cabin press affects your palate. The lack of humidity dries your nose, and as a plane takes off the change in pressure numbs one-third of your taste buds. So your Chilis-to-Go Spicy Buffalo Wings, which would ’ ve lighted a arouse in the terminal, will taste politic at elevation. even the voice of the engines affects how you perceive taste — loud/ constant noise further deadens your tongue. 3. safety standards and quad constraints mean your food’s made on the ground, near the airport. large boys like LSG Sky Chefs produce 15,000 bread rolls every hour ( 24hrs a day, 365 days/yr ), and 30,000 sandwiches a day.

4. As a rule of thumb, food is prepared 10hrs before it gets eaten. Those “ Made Fresh ! ” stickers are there to mock you. It ’ s not ready-to-eat by any means at this stage ; broadly, chicken is cooked 60% of the way, and steak 30% to done, with the concluding phase occurring onboard. once cooked, it gets blast-chilled in special fridges — in a not-quite-frozen-but-not-edible department of state, your food awaits transfer to the tarmacadam. 5. Meals then wait in their own kind of flight-specific gate lounge — lone theirs is refrigerated. If a flight ’ south delayed, and food has already been loaded onto the airplane, airlines often dump the entire load and order a substitution dispatch from catering. Costly and wasteful ? sure, but consider the alternate — on V-day in 1992, an Aerolineas Argentinas flight from Buenos Aires to LA poisoned its passengers with cholera-infested runt ; 76 people got sick and one guy died. If a delay ’ south announced early enough, the food ’ south preparation is held off or, if finished, it ’ ll be frozen.

Fun fact: many airlines insist their pilot and co-pilot eat different meals to minimize the risk of them both getting sick, and having to rely on Ted Striker to land the airplane.

6. Flight on time ? food on the airplane ? Time to finish the prep-work. contrary to what most people think, planes generally don’t have microwaves. Your little tray makes its way into a convection oven for about 20min. convection ovens have a fan ( which pushes hot air onto the food ) that ‘s both faster and means a lower cook temp. 7. ever wonder why an inordinate number of people drink tomato juice on planes ? According to a study conducted by Lufthansa, bogged-up sinuses are caused by the change publicize pressure, leaving most people craving acidity and saltiness. If only your escape attendant had the skills of a Señor Frog ‘s bartender … 8. What ’ s your safest count ? If it ’ s a hot meal, the stew or curry’s probably the failsafe option, as it ’ mho reasonably consistent no matter how under- or over-heated it is by the time it makes its way back to 47K. Skip chicken and pasta dishes, where proteins go to die and starches break down ( understand : noodles get doughy, and chicken dries out ) .