Having just come off a ten-day book tour in the U.S. and Canada, I’ve learned that the wise traveler seizes any opportunity to eat, no matter how marginal the provender. When food is on offer, we furtively stuff our pockets, too, preparing against a lean future. Flying U.S. airlines these days is like visiting those inhospitable relatives who, even if you appear at mealtime, have always just eaten or make it clear they have no intention of breaking out the food and drink until you leave.
So it’s quite the shock to be traveling in the South Pacific and discovering that, around here, airline meals is one corner that’s not yet cut. Or maybe places are just so far apart they have to bring provisions.
Remember that scene in Fellowship of the Ring when hobbits Merri and Pippin are traveling with Aragorn the Ranger and realize that mealtimes are going to be few and far between. “What about second breakfast?” Pippin says plaintively. “Elevenses? High tea?”
We’ve had a spate of second breakfasts. Following experience, we eat before we get on the plane. And then they feed us on the plane. Or we eat on the plane, and then they feed us at the hotel on arrival.
The breakfasts on Air Pacific have been hearty but peculiar. Both have consisted of lamb sausage, omelet, corn, hash brown potatoes, fruit cup, and juice.
What’s the deal with the corn? My ingrained nutrition training and Yank sensibiities say, no way there should be hash browns and corn at breakfast. No corn at all unless it’s grits or muffins. I try to tie it to British heritage, but corn is a New World vegetable.
There’s also a dearth of sugar free and diet foods. Perhaps people around here move around more than we do in the States. And the diet soda vends under different names. At our hotel, Pepsi Light and Pepsi Max were both on offer. I had to read the label carefully to determine that they were both sugar-free.
On the upside, the yogurt tastes much more like yogurt than what I’ve been getting at home. More like milk and less like carageenan. And I’m loving the exotic fruit—papaya and mango each morning at breakfast.
And they have this delicious rich ice cream in New Zealand called hokey-pokey. It tastes like homemade.
Note to self: move around more.