The golden age of in-flight dining: Scandinavian Airlines photographs make one’s mouth water for airplane food


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In the last few years, we’ve all been witnesses to the steady emergence of so-called food photography. It developed quite steadily and now has almost reached the point that it could be considered its own thing, a new kind of artistic expression. It’s like that old saying: You eat with your eyes first.

Posting snapshots of one’s meal on social media has become everyday occurrence. And if you ask yourself why, you surely wouldn’t come up with an exact answer. There is no logical explanation, but one thing is for certain–everyone does it. It is the first thing that many people do when the dish is served. They take a photo and post it on Instagram or Facebook, adding a comment. Then and only then, the feast can begin!

However, if you use Instagram on a daily basis, you have most certainly noticed one tiny detail concerning the food photography phenomenon. And that is the lack of food photos taken at airport diners or during flights. Why is that you may ask? The answer is actually quite simple: airplane food just doesn’t fit the Instagram standards. No one would want to share a photo of a dish that is plain-looking and in many cases, quite unsatisfying. It is a common problem among air travelers, and when asked randomly what is the thing they hate the most about flying, nine out of ten would probably say it is the food.

Nowadays, the food that’s usually offered by air companies can’t be considered comfort food. In most cases, it is something that closely resembles the famous TV dinners and those other similar single-serving, bland, pre-packaged foods.  In layman terms, it’s not something that leaves people wanting more. But it wasn’t always like this.

Let us take you several decades into the past when in-flight dining was at its best and flying was truly a thing to be experienced.

Now, thanks to some vintage photos released by Scandinavian Airlines to celebrate their 70th anniversary, we are able to get a glimpse of the golden age of in-flight dining, when lobsters, fresh salmon, and caviar being served in front of you were a regular thing, followed by a mouthwatering dessert and a glass of some of their finest champagne or wine.

Judging by these captivating photos, we can confirm with utmost certainty that every passenger who booked a flight with Scandinavian Airlines was sure that he or she would be taken care of in the most extravagant way one can imagine.

Scandinavian Airlines seems to have treated its passengers like royalty, and the food (always prepared by professionals) was not just perfectly cooked, but a visual delight as well.

If this weren’t enough to convince you, just have a look at the photo in which the airline’s chef is personally carving the ham in front of starry-eyed passengers.

Unlike today, when silverware is not served on the coach class in commercial flights and passengers have to rely on plastic, back then their meal was served on a real plate and they could freely use a metal fork and knife.

In retrospect, the one thing we can take away from all of this is how much today’s airline companies are lagging behind. And it is not just regarding the food, it is the whole package.

It seems that today they sort of forgot that the most important thing in the airline business is to keep your passengers happy and satisfied.

If nothing else, the photos released by Scandinavian Airlines proved and continue proving that there is still so much we can learn from the past and that there is always room for improvement.

 Goran Blazeski

Jean Tinguely’s weird looking “Heureka“ was created as an allegory to the consumer and industrial society

Hon-en-Katedrall (sometimes spelled “Hon-en-Katedral”) was an art installation, created by the Swiss painter and sculptor Jean Tinguely, that was shown at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1966. Born in Fribourg, Tinguely grew up in Basel but moved to France in 1952 with his first wife, Swiss artist Eva Aeppli, to pursue a career in art. He belonged to the Parisian avant-garde movement in the mid-twentieth century and was one of the artists who signed the New Realist’s manifesto (Nouveau réalisme) in 1960.

It was created in 1964 and shown at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1966. Source
It was created in 1964 and shown at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1966. Source
Tinguely's Heureka in Zürich-Seefeld (Zürichhorn). Source
Tinguely’s Heureka in Zürich-Seefeld (Zürichhorn). Source
Detail. Source
Detail. Source

Tinguely was famous for his sculptural machines or purposeless kinetic artworks, known officially as meta-mechanics in the Dada tradition, which challenged the norms of bourgeoisie high society. The title, “Heureka,” is Ancient Greek for “I’ve got it!” but this is meant to be ironic. His art satirized the mindless overproduction of material goods in advanced industrial society. The kinetic sculpture represents a machine which has no purpose; The machine churns and churns in aimless absurdity.

Part of the movement’s ideology was Tinguely was inspired by Dadaism. Source
Part of the movement’s ideology was Tinguely was inspired by Dadaism. Source
The sculpture stands as an allegory of consumerism in advanced industrial societies. Source
The sculpture stands as an allegory of consumerism in advanced industrial societies. Source
Detail. Source
Detail. Source

Another sculpture, a self-destroying sculpture titled “Homage to New York,” made in 1960, only partially self-destructed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. His later work, “Study for an End of the World No. 2” (1962), detonated successfully in front of an audience gathered in the desert outside Las Vegas.

Made from everyday objects like scrap metal and junk. Source
Made from everyday objects like scrap metal and junk. Source
Detail. Source
Detail. Source
Comprised of various tubes, wheels, iron bars, metal pipes, and electric motors assembled together. Source
Comprised of various tubes, iron wheels, iron bars, metal pipes, and electric motors assembled together. Source

Heureka was commissioned as an exhibit at the Swiss State Exhibtion in Lausanne in 1964; later bought by an industrialist and donated to the city of Zurich. The sculpture is made from everyday objects like tubes, wheels, forks and other metal details assembled together to create an intricate machine when turned on — or rather, the illusion of one. At 5:00 pm every afternoon his machine comes alive and bursts into useless energy.