Diet for a Parched Flight

Greetings from Seattle, where the skies are still covered with early-morning fog. Over the course of the next two weeks, I'll be blogging from my favorite U.S. city as well as wine-centric spots in Oregon.

But before we get into the crooks and crevices of Seattle eats and drinks, I want to tell you what it was like to fly yesterday in the wake of last week's foiled terror plot in London and the resulting beefed-up security measures at airports worldwide.

Having prepared myself for extra long security lines and additional pre-boarding baggage checks at the gate, I was surprised to find exactly the opposite: short lines and no gate-side check. The big difference was felt once on board, when I realized I didn't have a liter-bottle of water at my side, the average amount of water I drink when flying.

No food on board? Not a problem for this passenger. The stuff they used to serve up was, well, you know what it's like. TV dinners are heavenly in comparison, wouldn't you say? I've been known to tote along a sandwich, dried fruit, a container of hummus, chocolate, maybe even a hunk of cheese. It didn't really matter because I had my own water supply to keep me hydrated and happy. Without it, I felt like a shrunken raisin. Two eensy glasses of water from the flight attendant between Chicago and Seattle barely made it to my kidneys.

By luck, I had packed a few apples purchased at the Columbia Pike farmer's market over the weekend (the new crop is slowing rolling out). Given my sorry state of thirst, I gnawed on my Ginger Gold apple down to the core. Apples have a fairly high water content, which helped to quench my thirst.

In the midst of this revelation, I began to think about other fruits and veg with a high water content that would make good water-deprived flight companions. Hunks of watermelon, cantaloupe or pineapple in a plastic container. Grapes. Oranges, tangerines, clementines. Pears. Sticks of celery and carrots. Sliced cucumber. Red bell pepper strips. All of these items are portable and take up as much space as a sandwich (or a bottle of water) in a carry-on bag.

Do yourself a favor during these parched times: Leave the pretzels at home. Nuts, too. Without the extra carry-on liquid to beat the salt, these savory snacks will leave you high-in-the-skies dry.

Got a good flight-food quencher to share? Do so in the comments area below.

P.S. One last note: It had been years since I had a flight connection in Chicago's O'Hare airport. Given its enormous size and its role as both a domestic and international hub, it was surprising and downright depressing to find food and drink of the bus depot variety in Terminal 3. I had better choices in teensy Albany airport last month. The best of the lot was a Chili's II, where I had a margarita served in a 16-ounce beer stein with a straw. Totally bizarre.

By Kim ODonnel |  August 17, 2006; 1:53 PM ET Travel
Previous: Food | Next: A Plate of Hummus and Thou


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Pack lots of cough drops. They are a very good, and long-lasting thirst quencher. And if you are diabetic, you can bring along the sugar-free version.

Posted by: George Heymont | August 17, 2006 3:45 PM

Those apple might contain explosives. You yourself may contain explosives. People are mostly liquid. We should be banned from flights, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2006 4:48 PM

I flew last Friday and had no problems with lines, either. There were also signs posted on every restaurant menu and drink cooler that drinks purchased in the terminal couldn't be carried onboard the plane. But, I couldn't help but wonder...since you don't go through x-rays or other screening at the gate, what's to stop you from buying that bottle of water at Hudson News and just stashing it in your carry-on before boarding? I only saw gate attendants stop people who had drinks in their hands when they tried to board. I know, I know, not very compliant or patriotic of me, but seriously, it's a relatively easy rule to break since bottled drinks are still sold inside the secure zone. If the TSA could somehow ensure that beverages delivered to the stores behind the security gates are, well, secure, then what's the big deal?

Posted by: I wonder... | August 17, 2006 4:51 PM

The solution would seem to be to take an empty bottle on board a plane, label it with your seat number, and request the flight attendant to fill it. Presto, a quart of water.

Posted by: Gunther Steinberg | August 17, 2006 4:58 PM

Actually, I went through O'Hare about a year ago and thought the Wolfgang Puck Cafe was a downright civilized place to have a gourmet pizza and glass of wine. It's a bit of a pain to get to if you're in the wrong terminal, but if you have time, it's worth it.

Posted by: Julie D. | August 17, 2006 5:18 PM

...from a veritable cornucopia of New-Age food to a old-fashioned display of literary ignorance.

"GNawed" is not spelled with a "K".

Put that in your spell-check, please. It was literally disgusting to experience that. I don't think I've ever seen anyone misspell that word.

Posted by: cc | August 17, 2006 5:29 PM

don't bother...the overall style of your writing is enough to make me puke up all the great food that you tried to stuff into your article. How can you, er, "top" lines like these..."I'll be blogging..."..."But before we get into the crooks and crevices of Seattle eats and drinks"...ugh..."when I realized I didn't have a liter-bottle of water at my side, the average amount of water I drink when flying" (good lord, did you try looking in your tote bag or perhaps in your lunch basket? Were you unfortunate enough to leave your Hydrating Backpack in your favorite apartment in your favorite US city? Would an amount slightly below or above your average water consumption on a flight between Chicago and Seattle save the day, for you?...might, perhaps, an extra glass of water, perhaps from the pilot or first officer instead of just the flight attendant, actually make it through your parched system down to your sorely-neglected kidneys?)

...I was nauseous well before your "knawing". Not just from an absence of restraint, but also from an absence of any sense of good taste or style other than "ladle it on".

Posted by: cc | August 17, 2006 5:38 PM


...not to worry. One less problem to worry about when they seal the airplane lavatories for security.

Posted by: cc | August 17, 2006 5:45 PM


apples, Ginger Gold or otherwise, are full of sugar, and that's the last thing you want to eat when you don't have anything to drink, sorry, "when you don't have your thirst-quenching half-liter of fresh Evian spring water by your side, purchased conveniently while in a hurry from the Wisconsin Avenue FreshFields on your way to the express checkin line for the 7:30 flight to Seattle leaving from National Airport on a Tuesday evening". Your brain will shrivel up like a prune and you'll be unable to either name-drop or rattle-off detailed mundanity with such "kerplomb".

(do you get paid by some sort of advertising consortium, for every name you drop in your blog?)

Posted by: cc | August 17, 2006 5:54 PM

wow, sounds like cc's got a bad case of Arkansas pants rabbits.

what gets to me is that, supposing you've got a salad packed to go, you can't take anything even approximating salad dressing on board. not even hummus now. your hummus might be capable of detonating. sigh.

and suppose that watermelon leaks some juice into its container, as cut fruit usually does, are they going to confiscate it??

btw, a hint for people with weak immune systems or small children, if you're parched on board be sure to ask for bottled water, not regular plane water, which is frequently contaminated with unfortunate levels of coliform (fecal!) bacteria and other nasties. stay away from the tea and coffee as well.

Posted by: traveler | August 17, 2006 5:55 PM

CC, why don't you have the guts to tell us who you are? I mean, it's real fun to flame a writer who is working her tail off every day, but then not to have the guts to stand by your obnoxious comments by signing with your real name. Do Kim a favor and give her a contact email address so she can respond to your juvenile diatribe.

Clearly, you're a frustrated writer who's just aching to be discovered. Your posts reek of jealousy. Still trying to get over that C- you got in English Composition 101 all those years ago at community college?

Posted by: Angry at CC | August 17, 2006 6:03 PM

The grapes are good - we've brought them on family road trips for years to cut down the thirst (and thereby extend potty breaks ;) ).

I'd just suggest freezing them. While this is always a great way to serve them in the summer in general, they'll just stay colder longer.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | August 17, 2006 6:04 PM

The spelling of 'gnaw' has been corrected, thanks to the watchful eyes of a few readers with lots on their minds besides typos. If you don't like this channel, turn it off. Please.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | August 17, 2006 7:37 PM

"Still trying to get over that C- you got in English Composition 101 all those years ago at community college?" Classic. And so true! I hope cc won't be joining us again.

Posted by: sissyp | August 18, 2006 3:42 PM

I've been fretting about not being able to take hand lotion on board a plane, but your article on using food as a substitute for banned items has given me a good idea. I could carry lemon peels in an airtight sandwich bag. Lemon zest contains essential oils that you can extract by rubbing the peels on your hands.

Posted by: Lee | August 22, 2006 10:53 AM

Good call on the fruits, Kim! Advice I plan to use myself on an upcoming trip to Chicago. :-)

Oh, and confidential to CC: Adverbs ending in -ly and the words they modify should never be hyphenated (see "sorely-neglected" [sic]), nor should phrasal verbs like "name drop" or "rattle off." Also, an ellipsis should be set off by a space on either side (see "...ugh..." [sic]). When you have a sentence that ends with a word in quotation marks, the period should fall within the quotation marks, not outside (see "'kerplomb'." [sic] and others, above). You should use an en-dash between "New Age" and food, not a hyphen between "new" and "age."

Lastly ... "shrivel up like a prune"? (And before you get any sassy ideas, you should know that question marks are not subject to the rule I mentioned above, unless part of the quoted material.) My cat could come up with a more creative simile. Make a grammar class part of your new "Getting a Life" program, please.

Posted by: Divine Ms. K. | August 29, 2006 12:39 PM

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