Elyseonthe inflight dish

Phantom Soup and Subliminal Snacks: CO37 EWR-MCO

 
I don’t take many domestic flights. When I do, they’re connectors, usually of the crack-of-dawn variety at such an ungodly hour that the choice between eggs and cereal becomes a weighty decision. I recently found myself on a relatively short flight at a decent hour, heading down to Florida. Frankly, I needed a break from New York City’s ongoing “Snowpocalypse” 2011. I was happy just to be on the flight (happier after my pre-flight Bloody Mary), so it was a pleasant surprise when I received a snack tray.
 
It contained a fruit salad, crackers, the requisite Milano cookies and the main platter: five cheese cubes, four pepperoni slices, three baby carrots, two cucumber spears and a slice of deli turkey. I sense a song coming on.
 
 I paired my pepper jack and pepperoni with the house white. I haven’t a clue what it was, but chose it based on the process of elimination. As someone who spends one third of the year in Italy, I just can’t bring myself to drink airplane Chianti. Call me a wine snob if you will, but we can talk in-flight Bordeaux or Malbec any day of the week.
 
I think it was at this point in the snack service when I noticed something odd. On my tray was a soup bowl. It was empty save for an orange package of Jacob’s Cream Crackers. What made these crackers so special that they had their own soup bowl. Were they soup crackers? If so, where was the soup?
 
 
The answer to the soup question is that some flights serve soup and some do not, but the flatware remains the same. The crackers still had my attention. On their packaging they purported to be “famous” and “number one” but I had never heard of Jacob’s Cream Crackers.
 
I did a little research and turned up some very interesting results.
 
First, the crackers are famous…in the UK where they’re from. So what was Continental catering doing with British crackers? I headed over to the brand’s website where I found their logo on an orange background, the message “cracking new site coming soon!” and a link directing me to…wait for it…www.unitedbiscuits.com
 
Readers, you can’t make this stuff up.
 
I linked over to United (biscuits, naturally) and read about how they acquired the business and brand of Jacob’s Cream Crackers. Newsflash: Jacob’s and United are combining to form the world’s leading cream cracker. They promise to deliver a number of crispy, crackery changes in the months ahead, and they think you’ll like them.
 
This may be deepest, darkest form of subliminal marketing I’ve ever seen. Keep an eye on those snack trays, folks. Your salad dressing may have ulterior motives.

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