Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gross airplane food story

Mindy recently posted a gross editorial about various airplane issues. It reminded me of an important story I need to share with my own Gentle Readers.

I used to travel by plane a lot in my work, at least once every other week. Oftentimes it was just for a night or two, which means I used a fairly small travel bag. Less often I would be gone for a week or so, prompting me to use a larger suitcase.

The night before one of these longer trips I got out my large suitcase, which hadn't been used for several months. Upon opening one of the outside pockets, I was horrified to see that I had shoved a United Airlines lunch box into the pocket and, obviously, had forgotten all about it. These lunchboxes usually contained a small meat and cheese sandwich, a bag of chips and a cookie. I had eaten hundreds of them in the course of my travels.

I gingerly carried the box into the kitchen, put it in the sink and got ready to open it, bracing myself to behold the science experiment that would likely dwell within. I plugged my nose in anticipation, just to be ultra-prepared.

Ever so gently, I lifted the cover of the box.

Inside was the small meat and cheese sandwich I had anticipated. In absolutely perfect condition.

Not one trace of mold, slime, or other evidence that the sandwich might be inedible.

Lord, please save us.


Tenacious S said...

That is truly disgusting. However, depending on how many you have eaten, possibly you may have been preserved for all of eternity.

Johnny Yen said...

I read a few years back that morticians have actually documented that human bodies were taking more time to start decomposing because of the preservatives consumed in our food. Yek.

lulu said...

Darmn, again Johnny Yen has beaten me to the punch; I was going to share that very same information.

I occasionally find a french frie on the floor of my car that is in pristine condition even though it has been 3-4 months since I have eaten McDonalds in the car.

Coaster Punchman said...

TS, JY & LU: Yes, I have considered the fact that I have ingested enough preservatives that my undertakers will probably be able to skip the embalming process altogether. Could it be the reason I don't really look 41? Please?

Lu, can we please talk about getting you on a regular car vacuuming schedule maybe?

GrizzBabe said...

You got perservative-laden food on your flight?!? I'm jealous. All they offer on my flights is $4 bags of peanuts.

Coaster Punchman said...

Acutally, this story took place over 10 years ago, back when the airlines were still "feeding" people. Nowadays, God forbid you should get on a plane without a snack of your own or at least $15 to buy some piece of crap they'll rake you over the coals for.

Dale said...

I admire the bravery in you even opening it. I would have set fire to the house and just left.

Coaster Punchman said...

Or better yet, I could have set fire to your house and then gone back home and opened the lunchbox. That way I could eat my lunch while watching th news report about your house burning down. Is that harsh?

Dale said...

Uh oh, the sparks are flying! Fire bad!

wonderturtle said...

Morgan Spurlock would be so proud of you.

Molecular Turtle said...

That's so funny. These days I'll eat anything in my fridge as long as it isn't cover with a sheen of fuzz. Even then peaches are open season

Bubs said...

CP, like Dale I'm impressed that you even opened that box in the first place.

Where did you keep your suitcase? It might not have just been the preservatives, it could've had something to do with the near-perfect food storage conditions found wherever you left your luggage.

Or it was the chemicals.

Coaster Punchman said...

Fire's cool. Heh heh heh.

Thanks for bringing up Morgan Spurlock, WT. Mindy is going to have a spaz now.

MT, funny. And this incident had me longing for the days when food grew mold.

I did think of that, Bubs. Perhaps my Travelpro suitcase possessed some mystical Dorian Gray-like powers. Nah.

jin said...

I was going to say that I wouldn't have opened it, but my curiosity would have grabbed hold of me too, I'm afraid.

As the others mentioned about 'preservative filled' corpses -- I remember hearing a story about that on NPR a while ago.

Grant Miller said...

What'd you do with it?

Coaster Punchman said...

That's right Jin, no way was I going to pass up such a great gross out opportunity.

Grant, why of course I fed it to Mama Gin!

Dino aka Katy said...

isn't it lovely to see just how much chemicals are in our food????

the same is heavy cream I had some in the fridge forgotten for months (4 or 5) my mom came to visit found it and made whipcream which she then ate - it had not gone bad ??????

Coaster Punchman said...

Actually I think heavy cream does last a long time on its own. Maybe Jin can tell us.

Melinda June said...

Morgan Spurlock is a fucking asshole. Pardon me whilst I spaz. McDonald's sucks and all, and I don't endorse widespread obesity or bad eating habits, but I also don't endorse sensationalist posturing by a bombastic vegan who's trying to prove he's cool. And frankly, a guy that paid people to eat an entire jar of mayo for TV isn't exactly an ambassador for health at all costs, now is he? Prick.

Coaster Punchman said...

We invite and encourage spazzing here at CPW. You've come to the right place.

jin said...

Heavy cream is so full of chemicals/preservatives now that it scares me.

I'm in the fucking dairy state & I can't buy 100% REAL cream!?

Actually, I take that back. I found, for the first time in years, 100% heavy cream w/ no additives the other day...locally. You will not believe where.



*drum roll*


I am surrounded by dairy farms that have FRESH lovely cream at all times. Would you believe that it's ILLEGAL for them to sell it? Years back I got it delivered in old-fashioned glass bottles. The farms that sold it that way were all fined & were threatened with license revocation if they continued to sell it...unless...they added chemicals & preservatives. :-P

I can buy organic milk & half n half at the grocery store, but the organic heavy cream is impossible to get here.

Beth said...

Ewwwwwww! Did you take a bite?

jin said... didn't really answer the question, did I? LMAO!

Yes, it's quite possible that the cream didn't go 'off' even after several months. It tends to just keep getting thicker & thicker. It usually doesn't even turn moldy anymore. Um....but I wouldn't have eaten it! LOL!

Coaster Punchman said...

Thanks Jin - that's weird that you can find organic milk and half & half but not heavy cream. I wonder why. Also, I had read some news articles about how Walmart has gotten big into the organic business, for two reasons - one, it's a money maker, and two, the term "organic" can be defined rather loosely meaning that everything with that label may not even be as healthy as we would believe.

Beth, short answer: no.

jin said...

I'm really picky when I buy organic stuff at Walmart, I agree...they put the label on to make more $$$.
I only buy trusted (in my mind) brands like Newman's, Cascadian Farms, Silk...etc.
I will NOT buy their loose 'organic' produce or the 'generic organic walmart' equivalent.

What is it you guys have? Whole Foods...or something like that? We don't have those here. :-( I've got to drive an hour each way for a *great* grocery store. There's an "Outpost Foods" in Milwaukee...I only go there about 1x/year. I fill up the car to the tune of $500. It lasts a really long time, but that always kinda freaks me out!

Coaster Punchman said...

New York is a hold out of the old way of shopping. Most people shop in their own neighborhoods where they can walk to the stores, because people don't drive much in NYC. In our neighborhood we have two butchers for meats, a bunch of produce stores (no idea where it comes from but it's cheap cheap cheap so I'm assuming the mob is involved) and then some small dry good stores. Otherwise, if we drive a short distance we can be at some more "normal" traditional grocery stores that do have small organic sections (though we don't usually buy only organic.)

If we want to get really fancy, there is a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's in Manhattan. But those are too far for us to use for normal shopping. If I'm near one of them I may stop in just to get some fun or special stuff (you probably remember my Trader Joe's posting from about a year ago!)

Sandra said...

Is that what Nicole Kidman eats to get that preserved look?

And in Canada- the milk does not have the same preservatives that it does in the US. The milk marketing boards do not allow the same products that other countries do- so come to Canada for the dairy. Nicole Kidman could drink the milk and start to wrinkle.

Coaster Punchman said...

I was wondering what kept Nic looking so young. But what about all that Aussie milk she's drunk all her life?

"jew" "girl" said...

ok. THAT. is so fucking scary, I can't even begin to tell you. OMG.

ps: how are you, love?

Mombi said...

Taco Bell cheese doesn't mold, either. Even if you stop eating it for months at a time and still find some under your driver's side seat... or so I've heard.

I think all of that crap is so highly salted that it can withstand anything. But god that story is fascinating!!

Coaster Punchman said...

Jew Girl: I know! I am fine! How are you?!

Mombi: How about this - let's put a cockroach and a United Airlines sandwich in a box and set off a nuclear bomb - and see which one survives. I have my money on the sandwich.

Old Lady said...

My comment went to comment hell!

Anyway, I have noticed that the more fat in a product the less likely it is to spoil. Eg. Cream in the refer for 1 month, fine. Skim milk in the refer for a month, eating through the plastic of the container!

Coaster Punchman said...

Welcome back from the dark side, Old Lady! I know what you mean about the milk. That's one of the reasons I buy whole now. Skim seems to go bad in about two days.


That's so scary and frightening. I might have nightmares of the perfectly preserved sandwich.

Anonymous said...

Nope, no way I'da opened that box up No way no how. I'd set fire to the box, but I'd leave my house in tact.

You would not believe the freakin word verification I have to type for those two sentences.....

Jake's Mom said...

This in no way is encouragement for me to fly. So I guess I won't be seeing Hawaii or maybe I could take enough valium to just sleep the entire flight.
I'm surprised it didn't have a Twinkie in the box, they last at least 100 years.

Coaster Punchman said...

Yes Catherine, but just think of what the preservatives could do for your skin!

Bluez, I guess I'm just a hero. And I would really like to know what your word verifications were.

JM, I was thinking the same thing re: the Twinkie. Silly customer, you cannot hurt a Twinkie!

Anonymous said...

Adding my 2c to the spoiled milk knowledge, I've started buying lactose-free nonfat and it stays fresh for like a month. I don't know if it's been irradiated or what.

But that airline sandwich-- yuck! Maybe it only *looks* like meat and cheese.

Coaster Punchman said...

Nonfat that stays fresh for longer than a week? You're right, something fishy there.