Sometimes, after facing a 90-minute security line, a random TSA search, a gate change that’s actually in another terminal, handing over your carry-on because you’re in Boarding Group 340, waiting in another line on the jet bridge, shame-walking past first class passengers nestled into European mink blankets nursing scotches while angel investing in blockchain technologies, finding your middle seat in between an unaccompanied minor and a volatile Ambien sleeper, being told you’re in a weather delay as you sit on the tarmac, and discovering the airline magazine crossword has already been correctly completed, you deserve a f**king cheese plate.
I am, as the kids say in travel subreddits, an Airplane-Cheese-Plate-Head. I have had the Murray’s French Brie, Irish Cheddar, and Pecorino Calabrese with gala apple wedges and flatbread on Delta flights, and the Beecher’s Flagship with a Seattle Chocolates truffle on Alaska. I have sampled the Air Canada herbed havarti with lavash crackers and red grapes, and the JetBlue creamy Dutch Hollow Dulcet and "Jamaican Jerk-seasoned No Woman” with honey. I have delighted in the smoked Gouda from Gilman Cheese with oven-baked ParmCrisps and Copper Cowbell cheese spread on United. I have not had any Spirit Airlines cheese plates for reasons I'll leave unsaid because we're talking about nice things here, specifically cheese plates.
I’ve read the travel blogs and I’ve seen the healthy tips for eating on planes, and how you can bring your own purified water-filled Klean Kanteen, and make your own granola, and I’d like to remind folks -- you are on a goddamn plane, not hiking the Colorado Paint Mines. Our grandparents -- god rest most of their souls -- used to dress up for airplanes, because taking an airplane was a big, classy deal and also the Taft-Hartley Act wasn’t going to protest itself. But now you’re lucky if the gassy man next to you in the Life is Good mock turtleneck and cut-off pajama pants doesn’t take off his socks while watching late-series Charmed on his iPad.
The cheese plate, therefore, is my own tiny protest against the Panic Room-level state of chaos enveloping economy-class plane travel in the modern era, a simple stab at humanity in a sea of tumult. It is the airplane food equivalent of the band continuing to play as the Titanic sinks. Wait, maybe that’s a bad example.