Airport Food Rage


I admit that I am tired after a 12 hour flight and three days of talks, workshops, and preaching. I’m sitting here in the Fort Meyers airport waiting the first leg of my flight home. For the past hour I’ve been trying to find something to eat that remotely resembled actual food. I settled on a Bar and Grille, and waited fifteen minutes for a table. I perused the menu and by default ordered a clubhouse—15 bucks. It arrived. “There you go, sweetheart”, as the harried waitress looked right past me and dropped the plate unceremoniously in front of me. The contents were clearly dead. No evidence of life anywhere on the plate. Processed turkey. Processed cheese. Processed bread that was stale. Wilted lettuce. I looked at it in astonishment.

And then felt offended.

How can we treat each other like this as human beings? How could a chef (or even a short order cook) plate that mess and release it for consumption? Where is the self-respect? How could a waitress pick it up under the heat lamp and serve it to another member of the same species. In truth, if I owned a dog, I wouldn’t feed it to him.

I had this fantasy that all the employees of the food industry simply refused to serve food that wasn’t real. (It’s a fantasy. Indulge me.) That wasn’t pesticide free. What if an employee of the hothouse industry tasted one of those revolting tomatoes, and discovered that it tasted like sawdust and refused to package it? Imagine a Starbuck’s barrista refused to use water that tasted like chlorine? Or a meat plant employee just walked off the job when s/he discovered that the animal was filled full of hormones and treated with no dignity. I’m seeing a food revolution, comrades!

Then it dawned on me that it’s not going to happen, for a simple reason. There have been enough generations raised on fake, toxic food who don’t actually know what a real tomato tastes like, or what clean water tastes like, or what humanely treated, grass fed beef feels like in the body. Whole generations don’t actually know the difference. There is no capacity to shudder in disgust or terror at what passes for food because the vast majority of humans in “developed” nations are suffering from food amnesia.

I found myself looking around at my fellow airport travellers, wrapping their eager mouths around the airport fare, and seriously wondered how we are still upright. How is it that we are not all zombies? We are what we eat, the old adage goes. Hmmm…. It makes me realize that a core practice of evolutionary spirituality is learning about the metabolic needs of our bodies. There is no way we can function with maximum “zest for life” or amplify the evolutionary impulse when the cells of our bodies and brains are starved for nutrition. We need to be growing real food, eating real food, and supporting the real food industry.

When the waitress returned for the obligatory check-in to see how I was enjoying my meal, she could see that I hadn’t touched it.  I looked at it, and then back at her and told her I couldn’t eat it, and refused to pay for the “food”. No argument. By the time I finished this post, my anger shifted into compassion for the cook and the waitress who were slogging it out for minimum wage. I’m still angry at the owner for treating his customers with such disdain.

And there is a place for taking offence at a food industry that has no thought for the evolutionary needs of our species to be properly nourished.

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  1. Harry MacLean says

    My memories of Fort Meyers Airport are of luggage. That’s where I learned, with Virgin Air, there are really only two kinds of luggage: carry-on and lost. But I digress. You are right about food and your blog reminded me of a sermon by R. Maurice Boyd at Metropolitan United, London, many years ago. He asked us why, on God’s good earth, we would ever choose processed cheese when we could have cheddar. Prophetic. Then there was the young man who served me at Tom Hortons a year or so ago. My order was a medium coffee and a couple of Timbits. At the window he handed me my order with the words, “Here is your coffee—and here are your foodlike objects.” He knew. Rave on, Bruce! Best to you and yours from Karen and myself. Harry

  2. Fred Brailey says

    I’ve seldom encountered the kind of ersatz ‘food’ reportedly served at Fort Myers Airport. But I know what you mean, and it illustrates a global problem in nutrition. Many of our own citizens, who happen to be trapped in poverty, buy whatever is cheapest and most convenient, as in convenience and discount outlets. In due course, these people are perforce obese and seriously sick with Type 2 diabetes (?). Developing Nations (aka Third World) have similar problems. It is arguable that many Americans can normally enjoy much better food than they do. Accordingly, obesity is a massive problem in America. Deepak Chopra M.D. writes that a major factor is our obsessive-compulsive high-pressure lifestyle in which most of us pay little or no attention to basic healthy diet and the art of relaxed, meditative eating. I recommend his book: “WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?”

  3. Martha Reddout says

    One of my concerns is that we alter basic foods and call them by that original foods name. I attending a meeting where a colleague was inquiring about low fat cheese from a Professor, known as the cheese man, at a prestigious university. He emphatically stated there is no such thing as a low fat cheese–that it is not cheese and your kidding yourself if you think so.

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