Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies

by Richard Foss

From the publisher: In the history of cooking, there has been no more challenging environment than those craft in which humans took to the skies. The tale begins with meals aboard balloons and zeppelins, where cooking was accomplished below explosive bags of hydrogen, ending with space station dinners that were cooked thousands of miles below.

This book is the first to chart that history worldwide, exploring the intricacies of inflight dining from 1783 to the present day, aboard balloons, zeppelins, land-based aircraft and flying boats, jets, and spacecraft. It charts the ways in which commercial travelers were lured to try flying with the promise of familiar foods, explains the problems of each aerial environment and how chefs, engineers, and flight crew adapted to them, and tells the stories of pioneers in the field. Hygiene and sanitation were often difficult, and cultural norms and religious practices had to be taken into account. The history is surprising and sometimes humorous at times some ridiculous ideas were tried, and airlines offered some strange meals to try to attract passengers. It’s an engrossing story with quite a few twists and turns, and this first book on the subject tells it with a light touch.

Richard Foss has been writing about food and drink since 1986, when he became restaurant reviewer for the Los Angeles Reader Newspaper. Since then he has written for over twenty different publications, both journalistic and academic, authored a book on the history of rum, and written scholarly articles for the Encyclopedia of World Food Cultures and Oxford Companion to Sweets. He is currently on the board of the Culinary Historians of Southern California and is the California Curator for the Museum of the American Cocktail and the SoFAB Institute.

Rowman & Littlefield, 2014