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Thursday, August 09, 2007

I finally found somethng nice to say about the French!

During a recent flight to Madrid I did the usual involuntary shudder when the flight attendant came by to ask me if I was the one who had ordered the 'special' meal.  I always shudder because this odd euphemism for my kosher meal (or any meal other than the usual slop) makes it sound like you are getting something above and beyond the usual fare.

However, after reluctantly admitting that, yes, I had requested a kosher meal, I was surprised to be served something that looked... and more importantly tasted... like nothing I had ever experienced on an airplane.

First of all, rather than the usual plastic serving vessels, each of the various parts of the meal were sealed in various sized tins (sort of like sardine cans with pull-tabs).

Next was the delicious aroma that hit me as I began opening things up.  My mouth actually started water!

The meal consisted of Soulie Restauration's (I'm assuming this is the caterer's name) delicious Volaille a la Provencale et ses Legumes, a tin of scrumptious chicken pate (with a package of crackers on which to spread it), a tin of home-style apple sauce, fresh orange juice, mineral water and a chocolate tart for dessert.

All this from a French caterer and under the Rabbinical Supervision of the Beit Din of Paris.

I can't tell you how good this food was and it makes me wonder why everyone else seems to get airline food so tragically wrong.

I saved the address of the French company that does the catering for the meal and will be contacting them to see if I can buy meals from them privately for my frequent trips abroad.

Say what you want about the French... they can't field an army to save their lives (literally) and tend to always pick the wrong side in a fight... but these guys sure know their way around a kitchen!


Posted by David Bogner on August 9, 2007 | Permalink


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Hi Dave AKA Trep,

I like French food, games, people, wine, etc.

If they could just stay out of International politics and anti-Semitism, I would party with them all the time...

Seriously, I've had some pretty snazzy Kosher meals flying French as well...

Safety, prosperity and happiness to you and yours!


Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Aug 9, 2007 6:37:00 PM

They did about as well in Algeria and Viet Nam as we did in Iraq and Viet Nam, or Israel did in Lebanon, but with snazzier uniforms. The only distinction being their wrong lessons learned are different than our wrong lessons learned. And they did not fight so poorly in WW1, although the Franco Prussian war of 1870 is still something of a travesty.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Aug 9, 2007 7:30:32 PM

As a French Jew, with ambivalent feelings about my home country, I smiled when I read your post. I'll be flying long distance in October and so hope the kosher caterer is French!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Aug 9, 2007 7:51:26 PM

I guess your flight was not with El Al. I flew El Al last July, on the way back to the U.S. I "missed" the breakfast because I was in the bathroom. I told the person next to me not to worry, I had my own breakfast (some fresh rugalech i bought before i went to the airport). All i needed was my coffee, for which i even brought my own 12 ounce cup instead of their little plastic stuff that holds nothing. Unfortunately the coffee was not that good, but there is not much you can do while up there.

David S.

Posted by: David S. | Aug 9, 2007 7:55:00 PM

was this on air france?

Posted by: lb | Aug 9, 2007 7:55:12 PM

You gotta admit, building a fake garrison to "trap" your enemy, but building it on the top of the hill, and not realizing that your enemy had artillery has got to be the dumbest (and, although sad, the funniest as well) moment in world military history.

Posted by: dfb1968 | Aug 9, 2007 11:17:43 PM

The French know their way around a kitchen.

I respect the French -- which is not to say that I always agree with the policies of the French gov't. In my view, the guiding principle of the French gov't is expediency. That ain't always a bad thing.

Never met a Parisian that I did not hate. Never met a Frenchman from anywhere other than Paris that I did not call friend. Good people.

BTW the French Army is one of the few competent military forces in the world. Yeah, I know, but most armies fail to reach their objectives most times. The few that ever do stand out.

After all, it wasn't the Belgians who sent paratroopers to rescue the Europeans trapped at Kolwezi.

Posted by: antares | Aug 10, 2007 3:11:47 AM

"They did about as well in Algeria and Viet Nam as we did in Iraq and Viet Nam, or Israel did in Lebanon...."

The French were beaten militarily in Vietnam, notably at Dien Bien Phu. The US was not. We never lost a fight involving a unit larger than a company in size and even those defeats were rare. The eventual outcome of Vietnam was political and not military in nature. The same can be said for Lebanon I and II.

The problem with the French armed forces are, for the most part, with their political leadership. Properly lead, French troops can fight.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Aug 10, 2007 7:43:17 AM

David, you forget the one other useful thing about France, The Tour De France. As I have said often, France is a great country for 23 days every year. After that, fehh!

Posted by: mochassid | Aug 10, 2007 3:51:41 PM

And me, when I got that chicken pate on a Turkish Air flight, it seemed like cat food to me. And not good cat food; it was like the bargain brand. I think it tasted like cat food too.
Not that I'd know or anything.
Perspective, I suppose.

Posted by: ilan | Aug 10, 2007 3:56:54 PM

Karl, I appreciate your observation. My point is that our lack of success in Viet Nam and theirs may have happpened along different point along the military/political spectrum, but in the ennd, were equally unsuccessful. Yeah, our military did better in individual engagements, but lack of political vision either before or after the guns are fired is part and parcel of the equation. That is IMO the true meaning of Clausewitz.

Posted by: jordan Hirsch | Aug 10, 2007 6:27:20 PM

Hey Jordan,

[[[ My point is that our lack of success in Viet Nam and theirs may have happened along different point along the military/political spectrum, but in the end, were equally unsuccessful. ]]]

I don't see it. Apples and oranges.

[[[ Yeah, our military did better in individual engagements, but lack of political vision either before or after the guns are fired is part and parcel of the equation. That is IMO the true meaning of Clausewitz. ]]]

Well, as the old comedian said:

"Generals fight and win wars and politicans lose them after they've been won."

That certainly applies to many of Israel's wars.

Post-Napoleon, the French military hasn't been doing so hot. I don't mind blaming French politicins for this shortcoming. It seems pretty fair.

Remember this one:



Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak. | Aug 10, 2007 8:05:58 PM

seems they are good at the important things.

Posted by: weese | Aug 10, 2007 9:21:16 PM

Another reason to love the French.


We let them take care of our light work.


Posted by: Karl Newman | Aug 11, 2007 10:42:58 AM

Now I know the reason a friend always ask for kosher meals in international flight despite not being Jew. ;-)

Posted by: Lobo | Aug 12, 2007 2:01:33 AM

If you get some info about ordering these, can you post (or email)? Thanks - this sounds too good to be true.

Posted by: dov weinstock | Aug 12, 2007 2:38:14 PM

Oh yes, I always get served good treats when flying Air France. Same for KLM, though. And, my evergreen, when taking Singaporean Airlines towards the West, they usually cater London Kosher (luxe plates and more than the average meals). I'll gladly skip meals on the way back next time, though, because what we got straight from Brooklyn probably was ultra kosher, but it made us cry in regards to taste and portions.

America has a long way to go to reach the finesse of European cuisine - if they'll ever reach it. But likewise (let me top the abundance of wisdom here with a British warfare intellectualism), it's a long way to Tipperary, isn't it.


Posted by: a. | Aug 12, 2007 5:05:17 PM

I have learnt my lesson, never order any kosher meals on El Al flights, but order fruit platter. You get the most wonderful chioce of fruit and some other bits like a bread roll and juice, water, yogourt. It is far better to fly on light meals and plenty of water. You are always served first and get envious looks from your neighbours. I always have a feed before/after the flight.

Posted by: yaffa glass | Aug 12, 2007 6:29:20 PM

Hey, I mentioned the Franco Prussian War.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Aug 13, 2007 5:47:57 AM

i love getting my "special" meal because the special meals are usually served first.

also, i've never had gourmet food like you describe, but on a few occasions my kosher meal was better than the non-kosher option.

Posted by: ari kinsberg | Aug 13, 2007 11:14:41 AM

Kosher or not, most airline meals tend to be made of the cheapest food stocks, and are therefore often deep friend or just plain swimming in oil.

My worst "kosher meal" lately was on an Ethiopian Airlines flight out of Israel. Everyone else received a standard hot meal. The "kosher meal" consisted of 3 rather aged fruits wrapped in 5kg of plastic wrap. I found that a bit amusing.

I keep ordering the kosher meal, but I send it back almost all the time and stick to protein bars from the gym.

Posted by: Steve | Aug 13, 2007 4:02:52 PM

can we talk about in-flight vegetarian meals now? come on! come on! Alright then.... forget it. Anyway, it's good to hear nice things about nous, les francais, for once.

Posted by: miss Worldwide | Aug 13, 2007 5:50:12 PM


I agree, but since we were talking about battlefield losses, I wanted to point out that the French were tossed out of Indochina, we weren't.

There's a popular misconception....thanks to Hollywood, the media and the former flower children who write history text books....that portrays US involvement in Vietnam as an absolute military defeat. It wasn't, not even close.

Just sayin'. :)

Posted by: Karl Newman | Aug 13, 2007 11:18:08 PM

Okay, I keep checking back and finding the same post..nothing new this week, so are you traveling? (good)or on vacation? (very good) or too busy to post (bad) or the computer crashed? (also bad).....

California wines are better than French wines....

Posted by: aliyah06 | Aug 17, 2007 4:57:35 PM

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