Sunday, September 6, 2009

Help Solve the Greatest Mystery in the History of Food Service

Last Tuesday I boarded an Alaska Airlines flight for LAX. After about 15 minutes, the flight attendants began the customary snack and beverage service.

I knew I would soon be enjoying a nice cold beverage of my choice, but I was curious what dry, salty snack would be paired with it.

As the attendant got closer, I figured out the little green and gold foil bags contained mini pretzels.

I like pretzels, both mini and regular size, so I watched anxiously as the row in front of us was served -- each person being systematically handed a drink and a bag of crunchies.

Finally it was my turn, and I answered "water" when asked what was my pleasure. Then came a moment so confounding, so perplexing that I still lay awake at night a week later, searching for an explanation! As I was handed my drink, four bags of pretzels were placed on my tray table. Four bags.

Why was I given four bags of pretzels when, as far as I could tell, all of the flyers in front of me had only been given one? The two people to the right of me got only one, as did the three across the aisle.

I had said nothing to attendant, except, "water," nor had anything been said to me. Why in the world would I be so randomly rewarded with three bonus bags? I don't even have a decent theory. It is so utterly mystifying that I am turning to you for help.

As stunned and bewildered as I was, I took my iPhone out of my pocket and snapped this photo, exactly as they had landed. I now stare at it for hours searching for a reason. Why was I given those extra bags? Why? What is your theory? Please help, I'm going insane!

57 comments:

Ollie said...

Maybe they're trying to pay you back for the awesome Hollandaise trick?

Foodies are everywhere!

Anonymous said...

1. The flight attendant was a secret admirer of an increasingly famous chef.

2. Chef John was radiating "kavorka" - the lure of the animal.

3. Act of Random Kindness. Now spread the good karma!

Anonymous said...

Maybe that attendant knew about you? Wanted to do something special without being confrontational. Just a guess.

Jen said...

Maybe she thought you looked like you were being underfed. ;)

Anonymous said...

Airline attendants are instructed not to ogle or pester celebrities...

She/he sent you the airline attendant's code for desiring a tryst (twisted little snacks and lots of them), and hoped to "bag" a big night! Probably wanted to show you how she/he could heat up the stove and cook up a dandy dish.

It's like the rating system. One bag of twisted muchies, for every guest, but four.... ah huh, you got it, She/he wanted some return on those snacks.

Sky Peace said...

Maybe the flight attendant fancies you.

Anonymous said...

CUZ YOUR FLIPPIN AWESOME

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the attendant if a Chef John fan? Perhaps you looked hungry? I think its great she gave you more than one bag.

IMO be glad you got a snack and were not charged for it--as todays airlines are just about ready to charge flyers by the pound for a seat and probably will find a way to charge an extra cost if you want your oxygen emergency mask activated to drop in the event of an emergency, or you can waive the fee and take a chance you won't need an oxygen mask.

Brian howard said...

You ordered just water. I'm willing to bet that everyone around you asked for orange juice, soda, etc. Water does not cost the airline anything, but a soft drink, or fruit juice does. To balance the "cost-per-customer", they gave you the extra bags. I also like the theory of the flight attendant recognizing you as the world-famous chef that you are.

Anonymous said...

When said quickly, the first syllable of water may sound like four.

Anonymous said...

I think it was like a "Top Chef" Quick-Fire Challenge. They wanted to see what you could do with 4 bags of pretzels, on your short flight. ;) (missboobiething from Twitter)

Alberto said...

she's probably between us foodies here and rather stay anonymous

adri_anah said...

My guess is that she/he is a fan of your website and recipes. :D

Tyler said...

the only someone plausible theory i could think of was because you ordered water... which is maybe cheaper than the other drinks, so she gave u more pretzals?

either that, or it was some sorta of accident/mishap/she wasnt paying attention... maybe

Elaine said...

On Halloween night you start out giving less candy but when you know its getting towards the end of the night and you still have a bunch of candy left you start handing out handfuls??? Were you seated towards the back?

Chef John said...

I was in the middle of the plane. But good theory!

Troy said...

she(or he...let's not sterotype) gave you 4 much like in school, "Take one and pass it down". In your confusion and picture taking, the other 3 passengers in your row were awaiting their snackage.

Trent said...

To help you wash down all that water, clearly.

Kyle Young said...

It was a double bribe. I bribed her to bribe you. Just as you were boarding, I gave her $50 and told her to give you the extra pretzels (bribe #1) so that you would finally make the egg parm I've been asking about for years (bribe #2).

Chef John said...

Hey, I told you, I already posted my version of eggplant parm. I don't do the fried one. Send me the $50 thanks!

milkshake said...

You look like a gentleman who knows hot to appreciate pretzel quality AND quantity

Over the ocean / causing a commotion / 'coz you are so awesome

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

This post is too funny! LOL.

Damiano said...

Oh I can't find an answer... it's a very deep and metaphysical question

Anonymous said...

well... basically... you are "big". Why dont you post some healthy recipes?

Anonymous said...

it's obvious...you can't really cook anything awesome with one bag of mini pretzels, but four should be a cinch for you. lemon=lemonade, hotel iron=ham and cheese sandwich...i'm dying to see what airline pretzelettes equal...because i guarantee i'm gonna try it after you post the recipe.

of course she recognized you.

thanx for all the AWESOME recipes and demos...

VV said...

._. maybe she thought you were hungry

Basia said...

D) All of the above. <333 !!

Billy Gristle said...

If you had a t-shirt on saying "I always eat 4 bags of pretzels" then the whole situation would appear logical.

Other than that, I have no idea.

ButterYum said...

She was obviously a fan of your blog!

Anonymous said...

What row were you in? If you were in an "Emergency Exit Row" the flight attendant may have wanted you to keep your strength up.
Luisa Vacaville

Lucia said...

They were trying to make you thirsty so you would order extra drinks.

Or a secret fan!

väös said...

You probably stared at those pretzel bags the moment she started giving them in seat A01, following her every move, drooling, saying "mmmm mini pretzels" out loud....

Well you get the point.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big guy and I'm also getting extra food thrown at me during flights. A friend of mine thinks it's because the flight attendants want to keep me well fed so I don't start chowing down on the other passengers. :-)

Chef John said...

I could see if I was overweight, but I'm in such good shape. What may look like excess weight under my baggy clothes are actually perfectly sculpted, and quite large muscles.

Anonymous said...

Quite large muscles, eh? Sounds like you need to do a "beefcake" video recipe next! Hee, hee! I crack myself up sometimes. Geez, am I talking to myself, now?!

Anonymous said...

I've learned not to question thoughtful gifts. Just graciously accept them and as always, enjoy!

I'm no mathematician, said...

There were three in your row, right? She gave one bag to the other two, and then left you with four? Didn't it occur to you she assumed you would share the bounty, giving one of the additional bags to each of the others, resulting in two for each of you?

Chef John said...

no

Anonymous said...

cause you look like clooney

No Mathematician said...

No, what? Not three in your row, OR you didn't understand the extras were for you to distribute to your row mates equally?

Chef John said...

yes 3 in the row, no they were not for the others. she would have given them 2 each since she served them first. Why give them 1, then give me 4, without saying anything and hope I pass them out? And no other row I saw got extra.

Jason said...

clearly, they were trying to get a mention on foodwishes.com. can you imagine the sense of pride at having their bagged pretzels getting an honorable mention from Chef John?

face it John, you are a powerful man.

Anonymous said...

Say it isn't so! You didn't really keep all four for yourself, while your row mates only got one? You at least offered to share, right?

Your Conscience said...

Are you starting to feel a little shame and guilt for not having shared? Well, that means you're listening. I'll praise to the hilt when called for, but naughty behavior means time for a scolding. That's my job.
Love,
Jiminy Cricket

Chef John said...

No, not feeling bad at all. Besides, I got a weird, anti-social vibe from the couple next to me... I think they may have been vegans.

Asian Malaysian said...

Chef John, maybe you should come up with a recipe including a bag of pretzels to commemerate the event. "What to do with all those extra bags of pretzels flight attendants keep handing out?"

Uncle Joe said...

They were out of date...
sorry man....

Anonymous said...

I suppose you didn't want to ask the attendent because you just hit the airline pretzel jackpot? ~Jesse from Detroit

cruiseny said...

thank you gift for all the awesome work you do. She probably knew who you were

Steve said...

She fancies you ;-)

Anonymous said...

She wanted you, you HUNK OF A MAN YOU

Algis said...

Maybe she thought you were a teenager and as a growing boy you need more nourishment...

Anonymous said...

I love you chef John and I hope you take no offense but your not the smallest person ive ever seen. maybe she gave em to you because you were...larger than life.

Anonymous said...

AH, Vegans!
What can you cook w/ pretzels?

Patricia said...

You were the last person left to get the pretzels and she had 4 bags left. You got them all so she wouldn't have to take them back to the galley

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

Apparently, three of the other passengers had tasted the pretzels on a previous flight and took a pass.

Alex said...
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