Leaving the airport by the north baggage claim, I turned left and walked precisely seven minutes down a dark highway to the taxi assembly, the parking lot where cabbies await the call to pick up passengers. At the rear of the lot lay their break room, which doubled as their cafeteria. When cabbies wait, they get hungry, and since the vast majority of Atlanta's airport-taxi drivers happen to be African immigrants, the cafeteria serves food to fit their tastes: Ethiopian injera, Somali rice and Nigerian fufu, with halal meats and vegetables cooked every which way ... My Styrofoam container held a bread roll, two simple sautés — one of chicken, onions and peppers, the other of beef, both spice-coated and peppery — plus a meaty hunk of fish in a memorably smoky tomato sauce.It was food of refreshing honesty, made for people who need nothing but nourishment, a taste of home and a reasonable price (my meal was $5.35).I wish there were such an airport taxi stand at Dulles, La Guardia, O'Hare or at DFW (the four airports I find myself in most commonly). So, I've given up on eating anything in airports, except for frozen yoghurt. Instead, I pack food that is solid (and so can be carried through security) and tastes good cold. This is my list:
- Tabouli salad: bulgur wheat, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers [leave out the onions!] marinated in lemon juice and black pepper. Tastes best if you can make it the day before you travel, so that it marinates for a day. Do not use onions as they start to spoil quickly. Otherwise, it's good for up to 6 hours.
- Pesto farfarelle: cook pasta in salted boiling water and toss in pesto sauce (I use hazelnuts and pepper-jack cheese instead of pinenuts and parmesan) with sauteed bellpeppers and shrimp. If you take it out of the fridge, microwave before packing. It'll retain its flavor for 3-4 hours.
- Handva muffins: We bake this spicy Gujarati batter in muffin pans and freeze leftovers. On the day of travel, I microwave it for a couple of minutes before I pack it. It retains its flavor for a whole day.
- Peanut butter jelly sandwiches: I use creamy peanut butter and unsweetened orange marmalade or lingonberry jam and use toasted wheat bread. Even a PBJ is better than airport food.