When you sign up for a special meal on a plane, they serve you first, before pushing the cart down the aisle with the regular meals. This makes you feel even more "special" as those around you check out what your issue might be, displayed there for the world to see, on your tray. They may see a kosher meal and assume, this lady is very religious. Or see an ovo-lacto vegetarian meal and wonder, does she love animals but can't live without cheese? Maybe when they see my gluten free meal they think, her digestive system must be defective which is quickly followed by and why do I have to sit next to her?
A French stewardess, wearing a white scarf so large I thought it was a neck brace, placed a tray before me. There were two rice cakes, a tiny tub of something that looked and tasted like maraschino cherry jelly, two identical fruit cups, and a bowl of undressed chopped vegetables with a postage-sized slab of white cheese perched on top. What I noticed as I chewed endlessly, trying to break down mouthfuls of fiber with my molars, was that my meal was almost devoid of fats. No salad dressing for the salad. As we know, fats are what give food that wonderful mouth feel and without them, everything tastes like edges.
Normally I'd have extra packets of mayo or butter in my bag for just this purpose, yet my purse was also devoid of fats, containing only gum, gf soy sauce, and a lonely mustard packet. Next to me a woman was served the regular food; she got 1. a croissant to represent France, 2. a sesame seed roll to represent Israel, and 3. yet another type of roll wrapped in foil. She had orange juice that came in a small, sealed plastic cup, and a pat of butter that I may have stolen if it wasn't snuggled between all her breads. Hers was the carb-only meal for lunch or breakfast or snack; whatever it's called at 11:30am Israel time and 12:30 France time when you are located halfway between the two.
"Yours looks healthy," the woman commented, which made me want to eat a one pound bag of Skittles.
"It's the gluten free meal," I offered.
"So you can't have nuts?" she asked.
Sigh. I just nodded and ordered my cappuccino.