In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

What’s Your Definition of Freshness?

Those of you who are familiar with my website and background know that I have a passion for good, wholesome, fresh, unpretentious food.

I endorse the saying that “you are what you eat”; those of you who choose to live entirely on junk food are, in my opinion, doing yourselves no favours size wise or health wise.

However, there are occasions when the hapless gourmet has no option but to eat what is presented to them; eg when travelling by plane or train.

As a result of a recent trip to Sweden I awarded the British Airways Ham and Cheese Bloomer my prestigious “Worse Than Worthless” award.

However, I made a return journey via BA last week and was pleased to note that BA have taken my advice; they have replaced their bloomer with a hot sandwich. I noted in their in flight magazine that they have launched a new series of menus; and that the new food service is another aspect that sets it apart from other no frills airlines.

The photo in their magazine showed a plump, succulent croissant stuffed to the gunnels with bacon and cheese. It looked very appetising.

The reality was slightly different, the two options on offer were cheese and ham or cheese and tomato. I opted for the cheese and ham. This was a hot olive and tomato ciabatta; containing a modest portion of bland melted cheese, and a small slice of ham. I would like to note that it was a considerable improvement on the bloomer.

However, there is one aspect of this improvement that I would like to query. The onboard meal package comes under the title “All Day Deli”. Yet when I examined the plastic wrapping of the hot part of the meal, I noted that the expiry date was in May 2004 (some six months into the future). That’s quite a lengthy “day”.

I raised a query with one of the hostesses; she didn’t know about the date, and asked if she could take the wrapping. I chose instead to keep it as a souvenir!

However, on my return flight the same expiry date was on the hot food. I asked again, and got the same response. This time I gave the hostess my wrapper, she was still unable to provide an answer; I didn’t get the wrapper back either.

I assume that the ciabattas are frozen, and reheated on demand; ie proper health and hygiene procedures are being followed. However, it is sad to see that the impression of “freshly prepared on the day” is being given; when in fact the food being presented may well be up to 6 months old.

Maybe the use of the phrase “All Day Deli”, and its connotations with freshness, could be construed as a tad misleading? I suppose it all depends on your definition of freshness.

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