A New Year's Resolution and an Old Year's Confession

Sunday, January 4, 2009 30 comments
Happy New Year! Four days into 2009, I'm finally posting my first entry of the year . . .
My parents' parol, Makati City
After two weeks of Christmas revelry in the Philippines, Mr. Noodle and I returned home just in time to usher in 2009 by loading the washing machine with a massive pile of vacation laundry, stowing away the luggage and sifting through a passel of pasalubong. While I'm happy to be sleeping in my own bed again, I'm also feeling the pangs of post-vacation blues: I already miss my parents and our extended family who went out of their way to make our visit incredibly special. It was a marvelous trip that ended much, much too soon.

But now that we're back, I'm ready to blog again! When I started this site last October, I conceived of it as a way to disseminate my passion about food and its cultural meanings. I originally didn't intend to post recipes or photos of dishes in the belief that my skills at writing about food far outstripped my abilities at actually cooking it. In truth, I was missing an opportunity to add dimension to my posts because the creation of a dish is as integral to understanding the meanings behind food as its consumption. So as I wrote my blog and read others, I was inspired to at least try immersing myself in the joy that is cooking and to record in words and images my efforts, successful or not. The lesson learned? Nothing ventured is nothing gained and in that spirit, I therefore declare my 2009 resolution:

I resolve to make a sincere effort at bringing each personal goal (or hare-brained idea) to some sort of fruition rather than succumb to self-doubt and the fear of failure. So, I will submit my articles to national publications, as I've always dreamed of doing; I will try at least one new recipe a week, as I've always hesitated to do; and I will constantly remind myself that if I fall flat on my face, I can simply pick myself up, blog about it, and then try again.

Our Philippines trip has yielded a trove of family stories, fun photos, and delicious recipes to share with you in the coming weeks. I hope that it will also spark in my mind some ideas for food and culture articles that might catch the interest of editors willing to give this aspiring food writer her first break. Wish me luck!

Ready for lunch at Salcedo Saturday Market, Makati City

Now, with the resolution out of the way, let's move on to the confession: [deep breath] I love airplane food! In complete contrast to fellow blogger Forays of a Finance Foodie, whose most recent encounter with plane food involved chicken strips of dubious quality (read her post here), I quite enjoyed my recent meals courtesy of Northwest Airlines. Ranging from appetizers of beef tenderloin and chilled seafood to entrees of spicy chicken curry and yellowtail teriyaki, the food served during our flights went well beyond the cellophane-wrapped sandwiches and mini bags of pretzels that I remember from travels past.


Appetizer of grilled scallops and marinated baby lobster
Tokyo to Manila


Of course, back then we were coach-class denizens. Using our hard-earned frequent flier miles, Mr. Noodle and I upgraded to Business Class for our 3-stop, 20-hour, trans-Pacific journey from Minneapolis to Manila. The real draws were the funky, pod-like seats that fully reclined and featured individual screens with video-on-demand but, honestly, the food was pretty good (I can sense the collective eye-rolling now rippling through the universe).


Shrimp oshizushi
NWA WorldClub Lounge at Narita (Tokyo) Airport


How good was it? Better than just edible but short of gourmet, I will concede. As shown by these pictures, some dishes were attractively presented. However, it wasn't the sensory qualities of the food - taste, texture, presentation, etc. - that I found most appealing. Instead, it was what the act of eating represented: a natural, comforting activity in the midst of the most unnatural and uncomfortable situation, that of voluntarily enclosing oneself in a fallible metal structure as it hurtles through the lower atmosphere at over 500 mph. I don't know about you but I'm chowing down whatever is placed in front of me if it will take my mind off that little factoid.


Raspberry tart, chocolate mousse cake and sweet biscuits
Tokyo to Portland


If I'm completely honest with myself, however, I must admit that I also liked its implication of exclusivity - how 'we' in business class were served food that was arguably of better quality than those in coach class. The fact that 'class' is used to categorize passengers makes a Boeing 747 something of a microcosm for social-economic structuring, with onboard dinner serving as a primary status marker (blue cheese-crusted beef tenderloin vs grilled chicken breast). I enjoyed my fleeting moment in the upper echelons (or rather, the forward cabin area) of society because I know that, barring a tremendous financial windfall, my next plane meal will likely center around a plastic cup of ginger ale and an extra bag of pretzels filched from the cart while the flight attendant is looking the other way.


Salmon & lemon-chive crostini, Asian beef tenderloin skewer, & mixed nuts
Portland to Tokyo


So, yes, I love airplane food. I loved that the little container of nuts had all the best kinds: Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and nary a peanut in sight. I loved that the folding tray table is covered with a white linen napkin and that I can use real tableware rather than utilitarian plastic sporks. But even if I were to get only a sad little cup of soda and a salty snack, I still love that by focusing on the aspects of eating, I don't think about the odd sense of suspended reality that is overseas air travel, leaving me discombobulated at the point of arrival as I find myself in a new land surrounded by strange faces, where time itself has jumped ahead 14 hours and I stumble down the jetway, confused by the timewarp . . .

. . . oh, wait. Maybe I'm just tipsy from the complimentary sake.


NWA-branded sake

30 comments:

  • Dee said...

    What a beautiful post & fabulous time you must have had. 20 hours? So glad you & Mr. Noodle were able to upgrade. I look forward to seeing what 2009 brings your blog readers. Happy New Year~great start!

  • Daily Spud said...

    Welcome back and Happy New Blogging Year to you!

    As to your resolutions, they do say that nothing ventured is nothing gained, but in practice that can be an awful lot easier said than done, so I really wish you the best of good luck with all that you are resolving to do. I, for one, will continue to look forward to your blog posts (while at the same time, I will be scratching my head and wondering just what direction my own blog is going to take me in :) ).

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Daily Spud - Thanks! You're absolutely right - resolutions are always easier to make than to keep so I added a caveat: I resolve to 'make an effort'. 8-) But I will try my best.

    It seems that blogging is an ever-changing endeavor. I love what you're doing already but I'd love to see where the currents take you!

  • Heather said...

    yummm. everything looks so good! i'm glad you had such a lovely time on your holidays - i know it's always hard to come home! hope you have a great 2009!

  • Lauri said...

    As a new blogger myself I take inspiration from your words of resolution:

    "I resolve to make a sincere effort at bringing each personal goal (or hare-brained idea) to some sort of fruition rather than succumb to self-doubt and the fear of failure."

    My sentiments exactly. Happy New Year.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Heather - I was sorry to leave but it is nice to be back in our home. But I've got some great memories I hope to share here.

    Lauri - Welcome and thank you for your kind words! The sense of sharing and support I've found among fellow food bloggers has been tremendous - I know you'll find it for yourself, too!

  • Finance Foodie said...

    Ahhhhh! Your airplane food experience looks a trillion times better than mine! I had decent food on my flight to Hong Kong in coach...but after reading your post, I probably should of upgraded!

    Happy 2009!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    FinFoodie - There was more but posting it all would've been overkill. After this experience (not just the food but also the other perks mentioned), I'm spoiled for any other form of travel! I told my husband he MUST travel for work so that he can earn the FF miles for me. 8-)

  • ChefBliss.com said...

    Your airplane food makes me want to take a trip! Welcome back and here's to a successful 2009. I enjoy your blog and I love your resolution. I think we all start our blogs for one reason and they evolve as we need them to or into what we secretly or unconsciously wanted all along. I can't wait for more!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Christine - Thank you! I'm so happy you've decided to persevere in light of the awful setback. You put yourself out there before I had the nerve to do so: I recall your announcement that you wanted to take your site to a different level and I can't wait for us to share that journey w/you!

    ChefBliss - Thank you for the welcome back! The evolution of things (including blogs) is never easy and sometimes scary b/c we don't know what form it will take. The good news is that there isn't a 'final' form - that's what evolving is always about. We always have a chance to tweak things, to improve and to grow personally and bloggingly! 8-) I look forward to seeing what the new year brings to all of us.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Natasha - I can't wait to read more about your dining adventures (after drooling enviously over your "Inn"-credible experience). Cheers to a new year of culinary wonderment!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Gay - What a life that would be: jetting around the world in First/Business Class, dining on some tasty food before landing at your destination to continue dining on local delicacies . . . !

  • Chef E said...

    Tangle- when my hubby used to travel business class and almost on a weekly basis we also got the luxuries, but then they did change things, and his traveling came to a halt until this past year...we do love being spoiled don't we!

    Welcome back, and I have missed that cute little face on here!

  • Chef E said...

    I could swear I left a comment earlier...but do you realize how many of us on foodbuzz and blogger.com are Geminis? lol, also the word verification below is 'gemizins' too funny...once again great post!

    and thanks for signing up with me...I have always like your blog...

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Chef E - I could really get used to it! I miss my hubs terribly when he's away on business travel but the ability to upgrade for the long haul to Asia made up for it (a little bit).

    I enjoy your blog tremendously and one of these days, I will have to quiz you on what it takes to publish a family cookbook! I have become so much more aware of how recipes reflect family history and I want to preserve that.

    Geminis rule!

  • Lori said...

    That is some nice looking food. Yum!

    We've gotten Business class in the States due to upgrades for our frequent flyer status, but never international. It is Delta's policy not to upgrade to and from South America. Booo! Honestly I'm a little more jealous of your comfy chair on such a long flight. :)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Lori - Thanks for the info about Delta! We want to go to Brazil sometime this new year and NWA (which has merged w/Delta) is our main carrier in MN. The food was very good but the seats (and the individual movie screens) were invaluable on such a long haul - I couldn't possibly do it any other way after this!

  • Chef E said...

    Tangle- I know this is late for someone to be commenting, I cannot sleep...email me anytime...I am learning a lot on foodways and how to present them in a personal way for each person!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Chef E - Sorry you couldn't sleep but I hope you managed to get some shut-eye. Foodways are so steeped not only in the larger cultural context but also in family history and personal habits. It's so fascinating because much like food itself, there may be one general rule/recipe but infinite variations.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Joie - Thank you! I took my first step today: I downloaded and will submit a Foodbuzz Press Credential request to cover a local food and wine show. Baby step, I know, but hopefully in the right direction!

  • shavedicesundays said...

    I didn't think anyone else liked airplane food like me. Usually it's just I'm so happy to have something to do, but often times the food is quite good and/or interesting! And also, I only travel in coach.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Shavedicesundays - We usually travel coach, too, but I'm so happy we had enough frequent flyer miles to upgrade for such a long flight. Since I'm short, I have no issues w/the roominess in coach but my hubby is 6ft and is uncomfortably squished! Regardless, I've enjoyed eating in coach as well - nowadays, we're lucky if we get anything more than a soda and a snack.

 

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