How come the food I eat on airplanes is so bland?
“At 35,000 feet, the first thing that goes is your sense of taste,” explains Grant Mickels, executive chef for culinary development of Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs. The quality of the food isn’t the issue. In a mock aircraft cabin, German researchers tried out ingredients at both sea level and in a pressurized condition at 8,000 feet. The tests revealed that the cabin atmosphere “makes your taste buds go numb, almost as if you had a cold,” says Mickels. Our perception of saltiness and sweetness drops by around 30 percent at high altitude. Decreased humidity in the cabin also dries out your
nose and dulls the olfactory sensors essential for tasting flavors.—Barbara Peterson, from Condé Nast Traveler
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