Island Flavor

My only beef with this picnic pack is that it takes an icepick to break into it—and airports frown on passengers attempting to carry such instruments onboard. (Suzanne Bobo photo)

I was thinking about Snoopy when I ordered it.

I’m trusting that at least some of my readers remember Snoopy, the World War I Flying Ace and head beagle in the Peanuts comic strip created by Charles Schulz.

The Flying Ace was only one of the fantasy identities of Charlie Brown’s dog. Snoopy imagined himself in several other roles. He was Joe Cool. Or a vulture. Or, in his darkest moments, a lawyer.

I always loved it when Snoopy imagined himself a writer. The best Snoopy-the-writer comic of all time was when he typed “Politicians are idiots” on a single sheet of paper, which he subsequently gave to Woodstock for review.

Woodstock replied in chicken scratch language that humans can’t translate. However, we understand that the bird tells Snoopy his work needs to be lengthened, because Snoopy reinserts the paper in the typewriter and adds: “Politicians are idiots. Politicians are idiots. Politicians are idiots,” and so on, until the entire sheet is filled with this tirade.

It was in that vein that I ordered the meal that would be the subject of my food review this week.

The Mediterranean Tapas picnic pack was the only gluten-free option available on Alaska Airlines’ Northern Bites menu when I left Kodiak recently, and the inflight literature described the option as not only GF but also vegan.

Now doesn’t that sound delicious?

This column was going to be a breeze. With the repetitive use of three little words, I could write what I normally need 700 words to say.

Woodstock would love editing this one.

Trouble is, the meal was actually good. For $6 (paid for, per airline policy, with a credit or debit card) I enjoyed a 400-calorie lunch that actually carried me through a lengthy and difficult day travelling.

The picnic pack included things that seemed questionable at first: “Endangered Species” is a poor brand name choice for airline food, in my opinion. And what marketing genius came up with the name “Food Should Taste Good”?

But the little square of dark chocolate and the multigrain chips packaged under those product names were great, as were the Vacaville Fruit Company dried fruits and the Madi K’s almonds.

The Wild Garden sun-dried tomato hummus looked disturbing as it squirted out of the little toothpaste-like container in my lunchbox. I closed my eyes as I ate it, though, and really enjoyed it.

I would purchase each of these products again — and spend more than I did to eat them on the plane (Editor’s Note: Please don’t tell Alaska Airlines). Which just goes to show that Woodstock is cleverer than Snoopy when it comes to marketing.

Alaska Airlines has other menu options, including hot meals, on most flights of 2.5 hours or more. Prices range from $5 to $8. Beer, liquor and wine are $6, payable on debit or credit cards. (Customers may use vouchers purchased at the airline’s ticket counter.)

Soft drinks, juice, milk, water, coffee and tea are complimentary on the airline’s flights.

On my way home now, typing my column on a tiny airport table, listening to national news updates, and marveling at the fact that a top administrator in the executive branch can plead the Fifth when questioned by Congress, I am reminded of another Snoopy-the-writer comic I always liked.

Snoopy on top of his doghouse addresses a letter to the IRS. “Dear IRS.” Snoopy looks to the sky for inspiration, and then types: “I am writing to cancel my subscription.”

“Please remove my name from your mailing list.”

Suzanne Bobo is the author with Brittany Tregarthen of “The Road Going: A Mother, A Daughter, An Extraordinary Journey”, available at online bookstores.

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