TRAV­ELS RE­CALLED – REAL MEALS ON STEEL WHEELS

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

More peo­ple eat meals in ho­tels and restau­rants than ever be­fore. Sim­i­larly mil­lions eat on aero­planes, buses and trains. It used to be an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and you of­ten got a good meal, es­pe­cially on the train, where proper chefs cooked the food. Nowa­days, what hot food you get is usu­ally heated up in a plas­tic con­tainer and is ghastly. I can see no rea­son why this should be. It is pos­si­ble to cre­ate tasty and en­joy­able “Ready Meals”, but sadly this is all too fre­quently not the case. For­tu­nately, they are only found in a small pro­por­tion of eater­ies in Cyprus; much less than in very many other coun­tries. Keep it that way!

The first meal I ever ate on a train was dur­ing the one­hour jour­ney from Eng­land’s fa­mous south coast re­sort, Brighton to Lon­don. As a young chap of 24, I worked for a film com­pany and on that day I was es­cort­ing a film ac­tor of some note from a morn­ing press preview of his latest film, at a Brighton cin­ema, back to Lon­don. We sat in the Pull­man din­ing car and ate a very well pre­pared meal of Mul­li­gatawny soup, roast lamb with peas and pota­toes, con­clud­ing with ap­ple pie and cream.

I re­mem­bered that meal when I sam­pled the latest one re­cently. It was a toastie (toasted sand­wich). A ter­ri­ble ba­con toastie; one of the worst snacks I can re­call. Not in a “greasy spoon” trans­port café but by a dis­grun­tled young French­man in the buf­fet of a slightly grubby Eurostar train from Brus­sels to Lon­don. From a lim­ited range of of­fer­ings, I had or­dered one for my­self and one for my wife. Dis­grun­tled French­man had shunted two parcels into his mi­crowave and a minute or two later tipped them into plas­tic con­tain­ers. They were ad­ver­tised as be­ing pro­vided by Waitrose, the up-mar­ket Bri­tish su­per­mar­ket group, and it is an out­let for its food they should with­draw from, quickly.

It got me think­ing about eat­ing on trains and to my sur­prise I re­alised I had chalked up al­most half a cen­tury of do­ing so. Some of them were mem­o­rable! More of them, soon.

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