This is not just a website about the history of airline food. The topic to be covered here is everything that has been eaten off the surface of the Planet Earth since humans first took to the skies.
From the days when the first humans went aloft in hydrogen balloons, creative people have tried to figure out how to cook and dine in an environment like no other. The methods that was used since humans lived in caves didn’t work – open flame was too dangerous inside an airplane or below a bag of flammable gas. Weight was such a consideration that new light utensils and containers needed to be developed, and the potential for sudden and unpredictable movement was greater than on ships in rough seas. Even our senses were different, so the recipes that were tasty on the ground might be insipid at altitude. These problems were compounded once we went above the atmosphere and had to consider the problems of food in microgravity. For homesick astronauts the taste of home was a morale booster, but it’s hard to achieve fresh flavors when the kitchen is thousands of miles from the dining room.
These and other challenges were addressed in my history of food in flight, published by Rowman & Littlefield in December of 2014. This was the first book ever written on the history of food in flight, and in it I covered the way that technological advances, commercial decisions, governments that sometimes micromanaged and at other times ignored the industry, and other factors all affected the food and drink offered to passengers. I continued this into space, showing how military programs that began with scant concern for the comfort and opinions of the participants developed an awareness of how good, wholesome food affects the morale of people who are cut off from all normal human contact. The history is fascinating, and the book has been receiving excellent reviews – you can learn more about that book by clicking on the cover, to the right of this text. If you’d like to order an autographed copy I can send one to you – please send an email for details.
There is much more interesting information that didn’t fit in the book, which is why this website exists. It will feature stories, old advertising images, media, and other tidbits that didn’t fit in the book or were received after it went to press. I will also occasionally include questions that I’d appreciate your help with – puzzling details in old photographs or technical terms whose meaning is unclear. Stop in at the “Posts” page and browse for a while – I think you’l find some interesting stories and images from that very long history. Comments have been turned off to prevent spam, but I will post relevant information to the page and add topics based on your feedback.
I lecture on many aspects of food and beverage culture, and hope you will stop in at one of my events – please check the “Lectures, Signings, and Events” page for a list. If you have a suggestion for a lecture topic or venue, I’d be delighted to hear from you.
If you have questions, please feel free to write and I’ll do my best to answer. If you have any interesting pictures or information you’d like to share, please send it – I’m at Richard@richardfoss.com.