TRAVELS RECALLED – REAL MEALS ON STEEL WHEELS
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.