Soft Blotchy TGV on Flickr.
ICE3: Looking Out The Pointy End on Flickr.
First class seats behind cab, ICE train. If the driver doesn’t want you looking at him or her, he/she opaques the smart glass.
(I was hunting around for this quote from James D. Porterfield’s classic cookbook/research book Dining By Rail, and found that its original online location had vanished: so I’m putting a copy of it here until I can refile it over at Out of Ambit.)
(PS: this is a real passion for me. When Peter and I are on the rails over on this side of things, we always head straight to the dining car and spend most of the trip there. The windows are bigger, for one thing. But the people-watching is also superior, and the food on some European railways — especially on the SBB, the Swiss National Railways — is always at least really good, and often superb, even in these days of cutbacks. Anyway, I collect old railway recipes from both sides of the Atlantic, and cook them when I can.)
A predominantly male ridership, in a time when dietary health concerns were not voiced, assured beefsteak its perennial place as the most popular food item on dining-car menus of transcontinental trains. Aside from the quality of the cut, however (where the Union Pacific, with its ready access to the stockyards at Omaha, Nebraska, surely prevailed), distinction could only be established with cosmetics. Thus, the Cotton Belt Route topped its steaks with a pimento cut to the distinctive shape of its logo, and the Union Pacific - leaving nothing to chance - served its steaks with a large fried onion ring, unique for its coating of potato flour and potato meal.
In meeting the demand for the second-most-requested item, apple pie, the railroads played up whatever apple of the season was grown by their shippers. Beyond that rather important distinction, only a pie’s crust and toppings could differ, as the nutmeg sauce that topped Fred Harvey’s French apple pies and the sweet pastry crust of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad attest.
It fell, then, to French toast to become the most popular menu item that was both common to the various railroads, yet creatively distinctive. And as the samples below demonstrate, chefs responded with some dazzling variations on the classic formula of stale bread soaked in an egg-and-milk wash, then fried. These frequently requested recipes were distributed to patrons to share with others, giving special meaning to the concept of “word-of-mouth” marketing. The Northern Pacific Railway went so far as to develop a flavorful bread used for its French toast, one suitable for use with all the recipes provided.
Recipes under the cut…
Frankfurt Fernbahnhof (mainline / long distance rail station) on Flickr.
The main line long-distance train station at Frankfurt Airport / FRA.
The children’s menu from the Union Pacific’s run through the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon.