I recall some time ago learning about interesting theories on why airplane food does not usually have a reputation for being exquisite. Yes, studies have been made on this topic, maybe inspired by despaired chefs whose gourmet creations were never praised by those eating high up in the air.
The most common theory that explains why airplane food is always bland has to do with the loud droning sound of the engines. It seems that the louder the background noise, the lesser we can perceive other sensations such as smell and taste.
Another explanation is that the higher up we go, the air pressure becomes less. So the air will be less dense and less conductive for the volatile molecules to reach our noses, i.e. we smell less. When we perceive how something tastes, a lot of it has to do with the smell. For example: if you were to buy a strawberry flavoured yogurt (as opposed to one that contains strawberry), you might find that it includes red colours and strawberry aromas, tricking our brains into thinking its strawberry flavour. So if there is less air pressure, we will smell the food less and therefore taste it less.
In a sauna however, you can be in peace and quiet (no background noise) and the steam saturates the air (you can smell the food). Plus whether you’re wearing a bathing suit or just your birthday suit, the volatile molecules won’t get absorbed in your clothes so you can smell the food even more. In theory your food will be tastier!
Back to question of this post: would you rather dine in an airplane or a sauna?
Thank you for reading!