It’s been a crazy few weeks of travel and with quite a bit more on the horizon prior to Thanksgiving, this article seemed particularly relevant. Because for years airline food has been the brunt of many a joke and in many cases, avoided completely. Yet despite the history, and although I’m probably the last person to be commenting on the evolution of on board meals, there has been some significant improvements. At the very least, airline companies have been working on it. Anyone remember that Top Chef episode a few seasons ago where the cheftestants were forced to create gourmet dishes that would be heated and served on board a plane? It is still one of my favorites! Because even with the greatest of intentions, how good can food be when it is prepared and re-heated under those conditions?
But this most recent study adds to the problem airline companies are facing. Ignore the process, ignore the cost, because unfortunately there is no way to ignore the noise. The argument is simple. The louder the background noise, the harder it is to taste. And quite frankly this seems pretty obvious. Think about the stories and the experiences of those who suffer from a deficiency in one of the five senses. Or even close your eyes or put on a blindfold. Whether your hearing is truly improved or your awareness of it is simply increased, it seems our senses are very much connected.
So with all that noise on the plane, it’s not shocking the food is bland. And simply adding salt is only masking the issue. But with more and more studies like these, and more and more airline culinary efforts, it will be interesting to see how airline food continues to evolve. At least it can’t get worse, right?
But beyond airline food, this phenomenon is an interesting one to consider. Where else does background noise play a role in our eating? For good or for bad? In terms of noise, what is your ideal dining setting?