Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Inflight Update

This is turning into a real adventure. They’re preparing us for arrival in the land of Delhi belly with a jhinga allepey curry – prawn madras, to you and me. A bit like the various stages of formula milk, I imagine. Slowly, slowly, avoidy dysentery. Served with basmati (“sh” sound for the “s”) rice and what looked like potato cubes (but turned out to be banana!), it’s one of the best inflight mains I’ve ever eaten. The alternative was the equally daring vegetable allepey curry (note the use of the English word for “vegetable” – perhaps it’s the same in Gujarati, or Urdu.) The only question mark was over the sauce: two choices of the same madras curry? Where was the vindaloo, or the phal, for us hard-core curry connoisseurs from Brick Lane, or Birmingham?

Next up, some top-drawer Double Gloucester: nice and crumbly, not overly tart – all in all a cheese of great balance. They must’ve thought we needed some sort of correction, after all that spice. A bringing back down to earth. But this West Country dairy sample was in fact a cheese made in heaven. Went down well with the Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia’s Barossa Valley – the crucible of antipodean winemaking. The German Cambazola was also good: it looked as if it was going to be overly blue, but it turned out mild and creamy – quite nice, if that’s a permitted description of cheese. From France, the brie was rubbery and bland, which I admit made me chuckle. Schadenfreude might be the only way to describe it, but Boris’s New Britain had won the Eurovision Cheese Contest.

[N.B. Question for Paul Kelly (Hemingway’s Cheese Ambassador): what is the correct procedure if, when cutting into a sliver of Cambazola, one finds that a few crumbles of Double Gloucester have remained on the knife, surreptitiously stealing the opportunity to attach themselves to the krautkäse? Gently brush off the offending flakes? Or perhaps ignore them, and simply chug down the whole fromagesbord together?]

The cabin crew are delightful. It’s like what meteorologists call a “one in three hundred year event”. For example, catching the chief stewardess snaffling a praline (it was either that, or she was going to a fancy dress party as a hamster), I detected no iota of embarrassment. Letting out a mischievous chuckle instead, the ample Indian crewmember made no attempt do disguise her chomping and – for all I know – probably had a second, a while later. And for my sins, I’ve once again become a victim of the in-flight-airline-customer-satisfaction-survey-syndrome. Hey, ho. Got a free pen, though.

Speed over ground, clock ticking down… 49 minutes to go. I can’t believe how fast this plane is travelling. 582 m.p.h.! Can’t they slow it down a bit? I’m not sure I want to get there yet… I’m enjoying this comfortable, Peter Lehmann-fuelled bizclass ride…

On the map I see that we just passed directly over Nagpur. Nagpur… great name for a city, but I wonder what it must be like living there, right in the heart of India… 43 minutes and confess to feeling some anxiety. Will the airport be as tawdry and chaotic as I recall? Christ! The cabin crew are spraying the plane’s interior with some kind of de-infestant!

posted by Kirk at 10:57 pm  

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