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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Plane Food Cafe

Richard DeDomenici/Escalator East to Edinburgh

Venue: New Town Theatre, Freemasons Hall, George Street


Low Down

Genuine, freshly stewed airline mush, served piping hot with your choice of beverage and some frightening statistics. Eat it if you dare.


My carbon footprint must be as big as an elephant’s. My day job (do you really think I make enough writing this stuff to provide for my dotage?) means I spend more time in aircraft than is good for me or for our challenged environment. Latterly, I have started taking my own food on flights wherever possible and after my experience of eating the mush they serve you at 30,000 feet whilst taking a ground level trip with Plane Food Café , I will continue to do so. I had what was allegedly meat balls with spaghetti but it tasted like a salt bomb. Reason?   Height, a pressurized cabin and a lack of humidity knackers your taste buds making food taste pretty bland, so it all gets salted up to cope with the conditions. Oh, and they bung the meal full of fats too, so you’ll sleep and allow the crew to have a good blether.

Plane Food Café is an intriguing concept. Set in part of a genuine old 737 fuselage with airline seats arranged in two rows around a central isle, you get a punchy half hour, starting with an illuminating “safety video” covering the effects of bird strikes on all too vulnerable wing mounted engines, all top and tailed by some amusing and informative banter from our two hosts as they decant an genuine airline meal into your lap.   No wonder the boffins at Fringe programming had trouble categorizing this one – it’s part walking through a living sculpture, part film, part extemporized chat with the passengers with lunch thrown in (or up, depending on your digestive capabilities, sick bags are provided).  
It all kind of works as well, especially as shows start to blur into each other at this point in the Fringe. This one’s unforgettable though. And once you see and taste an airline meal at ground level, you’ll never touch one again on a plane.   Mind you, do try the white wine if you get the chance, it’s got a most interesting bouquet.