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Any suggestions for food to bring on a cross-country flight? [Moved from Home Cooking]

Looking for non-perishable snack ideas for a cross country flight. Any ideas for interesting sandwiches? Other nibbles? Any suggestions appreciated.

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  1. Kind of a broad question -- what do you like to eat? :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Darren72

      We eat almost everything.

      1. re: JPomer

        I like to go to my local meat and cheese shop and put together a sanwhich of interesting cured meats.

    2. (1) Lots of little snacks:
      e.g.
      pumpkin seeds + nuts (brazil nuts are high in protein);
      raw carrot (scraped);
      bananas, oranges;
      dried fruit (apricots, figs, maybe prunes), oranges.
      Better to pick bags of nuts and seeds that are not salted so the food doesn't generate another need, for water. None of these snacks may be particularly wonderful on their own, but they're not going to dehydrate you, or shoot the sugar level up, or any of that stuff.

      (2) Ham sandwich on really great brown bread with mustard. (Fillings: onions, raw or roasted; tomatoes, the same.)

      (3) Cold salad of roasted peppers (skin taken off), tomatoes (the same), olives ... and anything else that comes to mind, maybe rice or tuna: need to bring a spoon or fork for this.

      (4) Pizza. If you don't have any at home, there's usually lots of pizza for sale in airports. (And you could bring something to add to the pizza: olives, salami; or that fresh carrot (above) to clear the palate after eating the pizza.)

      (5) Cold sausages, roast chicken wing ... In a supermarket near me, once can buy wild boar sausages! They're a treat!

      (6) Hummus, or hummus with olives mixed in. On brown bread or with little sticks of carrot and pepper to dip into it.

      (7) Samosas. Again, these can make you thirsty; the snacks in (1) above can cool the palate.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sarah Dublin

        Lots of the items you list have pretty distinct smells to them. While I love samosas, I wouldn't necessarily want someone eating Indian food next to me on a plane. The smell permeates clothes and skin for days, sometimes.

        Your fruit choices are interesting too. Bananas and oranges are both very aromatic. Not terribly nice to unleash smells like those, even if they're good smells, in small spaces like airplanes.

        It's not exciting, but I bring PB&J sandwiches, cut up veggies, dried fruit and nuts, and granola bars. If I have to buy food in the airport it's usually from Potbelly.

        1. re: mailsf

          You talk about foods having distinct smells that could cause discomfort, but doesnt peanut butter do the same? It could be deadly if someone is allergic.

          I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can't interview people on what they want to smell or not. Just bring foods you like... I mean, its you who really is stuck on the plane and would like something comforting. And if others really do need to complain, well, tough, they could have brought their own smelly snacks too. :P

      2. Whatever you choose, please don't bring a fast food hamburger along with you! The smell is bad enough but in the enclosed space of a plane, it's a nightmare. Happened to us once on a flight & we're still recovering. So please consider food odors & your fellow passengers as you plan your picnic....

        1 Reply
        1. re: fauchon

          Agreed. I beg you to consider your seatmates. There is nothing worse than being in a sardine can with someone next to you with smelly food. It absolutely makes me sick to my stomach. Fast food burgers and fries, very hardboiled eggs and bananas are the worse offenders, but anything really strong smelling, even if it is a good smell to you (or me if I wasn't sitting right next to you), should be avoided out of consideration. I usually bring a sandwich, chips, carrots sticks and a bottle of water. Also good are raisins or an apple, nuts, cheese and crackers, protein bars and trail mix.

        2. I usually mix together some of my favorite things for long trips:
          - dried cranberries and nuts
          - peanut butter and cereal (I like cheerios and chex) - bring a spoon for this!
          - "sandwiches" of peanut butter and matzah

          2 Replies
          1. re: theannerska

            I would think twice about bringing peanuts of any type on the plane. People are highly allergic to them and reactions can be triggered by the smell or the particles of peanuts in the air, especially in the small confines of a plane. This is why a lot of planes have stopped giving out peanuts with drinks.

            1. re: brooklynmasala

              Ah! This is a great point, thanks - as I'm completely addicted to nuts (and especially peanut butter), it's something that I overlooked entirely...

          2. I go gourmet -- packing a slice of pate and salumi, grapes or a pear, assorted cheeses, crackers, cornichons, and olives. I usually add a chocolate bar (Vosges) for dessert. I bring my own wine and an approved cork-pull (no knife, just a foil cutter).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Carrie 218

              Do you know that you are violating Federal law by bringing alcohol of any kind on board???

            2. A Vietnamese sandwich is my plane food of choice.

              1. I found that simple works best for me. I pack slices of firm cheese in one baggie, some kind of cracker in another. That plus bottled water will keep me going for many hours.

                I've taken sandwiches picked up at the airport and these can be good, but they either go soggy or dry out. I agree with the other posters about strong food smells which can be offensive to other passengers - I've sat next to people eating pizza or some kind of greasy fast food and longed for fresh air.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheryl_h

                  Agreed on the smelly food, espec. onions, things like broccoli, etc. I like fresh fruit; an apple, peach, or pear, or cut-up canteloupe or fresh pineapple in a ziploc baggie. Fruit's high water content is a great way to combat excessively dry plane air. Hard, non-smelly cheese (mild cheddar, muenster, or pepperjack is good) and tasty crackers are also good.

                2. My favorite take-on-the-plane sandwich is eggs, scrambled with sauteed onions and roasted red peppers, on a kaiser roll. Slice it half, wrap it up tightly in silver foil (to keep it from falling apart). Grab a couple of those little packets of salt & pepper from a take-out joint. Ready-to-eat raw veggies in zip-top bags. The only problem with whole fruit is that you're left with a core or peel or whatever, peeling an orange releases such a strong odor and leaves you all sticky, so I like to take bite-size pieces of mixed fruits and orange sections in one of the new screw-top plastic containers. And slices of apples and pears can be included, since the citric acid from the oranges will keep them from browning. Crackers and individually-wrapped little cheeses work nicely, too.

                  1. Be careful with sandwiches - use a sturdier bread or fewer condiments so that the bread doesn't get soggy. I (re)learned this today when I flew back to LA from the East Coast. Since my flight was super-early in the morning, I picked up a sandwich at a local deli the night before, and made the mistake of getting an Italian sandwich on whole wheat bread (I don't know what I was thinking). Even though it was really well wrapped, the bread nevertheless was nothing more than flour paste by the time I got around to eating the sandwich today.

                    I usually prefer smaller snacks, depending on the length of the flight. Sitting still for so long usually makes me not terribly hungry, yet I'm bored so I eat (a horrible situation!). But really, eat what you like, or treat yourself a little because you're travelling. As long as you stay away from food that is overly smelly or messy, you ought to be fine.

                    There have also been many previous posts on this topic - I'm sure some well-worded searches will yield many more ideas.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jacinthe

                      I know well how soggy sandwiches can get. That's why I use Kaiser rolls for this one. You can also supposedly avoid mushy bread by buttering both inside slices of bread lightly but evenly before building the sandwich.

                      We've also taken along thin slices of dry salami, olives and cheese and grapes. The trick to take-along food, as far as I'm concerned, is to have everything cut up into slices or pieces so you don't have to fight with your food on the plane.

                    2. Sandwiches on ciabatta or baguettes usually work pretty well (although the baguettes crumb!) - and since I agree about the "smell factor," I've found that roast beef or slightly smoked ham or smoked salmon seem to work pretty well. I sometimes get condiments packed in the teeny "to go" containers, and I've found that cheese added to the sandwich seems to help add to the "sturdy" factor. Potato chips, crackers...or small veggies, like cucumber spears, radishes, cherry or grape tomatoes, carrots. Small salads in containers are nice, but you need to remember to pack plastic ware (although I have). And I agree with Jacinthe - especially on a long flight, it's nice to have SOMEthing that makes you feel you're having a nice time! (And if I ever again run into the dope who had pizza with RAW onions on top... yuck! Is it rude to offer gum to strangers? (BTW - yes, I do eat onions, but not when I'm sitting that close to strangers, perfect or imperfect!))

                      1. I would make a chopped salad nicoise without lettuce- Equal quantitles of boiled potatos, chopped tomatos, canned tuna in olive oil, a few chopped anchovies, a sectioned hardboiled egg, some chopped red onion or scallions and a few pitted black olives. Dress with your usual olive oil vinaigrette.

                        Roast a chicken the prior night and have leftovers cold with some mayonnaise. You might as well just grab some packets of mayonnaise from the fast food stands before boarding the plane.

                        Another thing I liked to make for a plane ride is tortilla espanola, which one should only eat at room temperature anyway. It's the Spanish potato omelette, and you can cut it into wedges. The recipe I use is from Penelope Casas's The Foods and Wines of Spain

                        You can also bring a ficelle baguette, some cheese like English cheddar, St. Andre or tallegio and celery sticks. To boost the morale, also pack a fruit tart from your favorite patisserie.

                        1. Illegal to carry alchol on planes? I carry cases of beer on board with hardly a blink and liquor as well. I was asked to open and drink a bottle of beer one time to prove it was real. I've carried my beer to Belgium (to share with my friends there) and always bring lots of beer home from any European trip.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: beertje49

                            it's illegal to carry liquor above a certain proof on planes because of flammability. beer and wine is fine, although i think there's limit on how much you can transport. it's also against federal regulations to consume any alcohol on the plane that hasn't been served by a flight attendant.

                          2. Just curious, how do you keep some of the things mentioned above from not spoiling. I always use the rule of thumb with any kind of meat or mayo-no more than 2 hours without refrigeration.