Air travel on trips

I will share a few experiences as I and part of our family traveled to Las Vegas last week by air. First of all, traveling by air anymore is not as pleasant for many people as it used to be. You can leave me out on that, however, because I love to fly and don’t really care if I have two or three airplanes to change or if there are any delays. A couple years ago, traveling alone flying to Greece, I had a ten-hour layover in Germany which didn’t bother me at all, and would drive most people crazy. I entertained myself by going to all the shops at the airport, having lunch and dinner, taking short naps and just watching people.

We flew to Vegas on Southwest Airlines, which does not have assigned seats and boarding is on a first come-first served basis, which I do not recommend. All the flights were completely full with not one extra seat in the entire plane.

Vegas was cold, windy and rainy while we were there, and while in Vegas, there was the “Saints & Sinners” Half Marathon race which our son George, his wife Neysa and grandson Franklin entered the family half-marathon relay event, where their family relay finished in first place.

On past trips, I have had to buy an extra suitcase in Las Vegas to get the items I purchased back home, but on this trip I took an empty suitcase with me which I didn’t completely fill, which made my husband very happy.

Another new system is when they served drinks, they first came and took your order, whereas on most flights they have a cart they push down the aisle. They write your order down in the order of your seating and then go back to their station and fill little glasses with a couple sips of the soft drink or drink you ordered and place them in a tray in the order they are to be served.

By the time they get all that taken care of and served, many people have fallen asleep, especially on early flights that left Vegas at 6 a.m., which meant we needed to be at the airport at 4 a.m.

I had a little problem sleeping on this early flight because of the tremendously loud snoring of a gentleman a row in front of me.

They are really improving on their snacks that they serve. On this flight, instead of giving us the little bag of 10 mini pretzels we got a little bag of 15 mini cookies.

As we were in one of the major casinos, our grandson was wearing a West Virginia shirt and two men stopped and asked him where he was from. It turned out that the one man’s sister and niece worked for us at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels in the mall for several years.

Leaving Vegas, the lady going to Atlanta, Ga., sitting next to me, it ended up that her parents lived in Marietta and when she would visit them, she would come to the Grand Central Mall for Chick fil A and Pretzels.

Then we had to change airplanes in Dallas, Texas, for the flight to Columbus. Boarding on the Dallas flight to Columbus also, was a lawyer from Parkersburg that had been visiting in Dallas. This shows you what a small world it can be.

As all of you that fly realize, they have cut the seat space sizes down, done away with meals and watered down snacks, added baggage fees, made carry-ons smaller, raised prices and made it less enjoyable and difficult for people to fly.

Until next week.

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Crab Open-Faced Sandwiches

1 5-ounce jar Old English cheese

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 6 1/2-ounce can crabmeat

6 English muffins

Melt cheese and butter. Add remaining ingredients. Spread on English muffin halves. Broil until bubbly.

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Open Hot Cheese Sandwiches

1 pound sharp cheese

1 onion

4 strips raw bacon

2 teaspoon prepared mustard

English muffins, bread or rolls

Grind cheese, onion and raw bacon together. Add mustard and mix well. Spread on bread, rolls or muffins and broil until bacon turns crisp.

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Tortellini Soup

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon margarine

2 13 1/4-ounce cans chicken broth

1 8-ounce package fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

1 10-ounce package fresh or frozen spinach, thawed

1 16-ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained, coarsely chopped

grated Parmesan cheese

In large saucepan over medium heat, cook garlic in margarine for 2-3 minutes. Add broth and tortellini; heat to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Add spinach and tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes more. Serve topped with cheese.

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Mushroom Soup with Chervil

8-12 ounces fresh mushrooms

3 3/4 cups chicken stock

2/3 cup sour cream

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons chopped chervil

Wipe mushrooms clean, but do not peel. Chop them, stalks and all. Heat stock in saucepan and add chopped mushrooms. Simmer for 15 minutes, then cool slightly. Puree in blender and add sour cream. Blend until smooth, then add about 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice to taste and salt and pepper. Pour into clean pan and reheat, adding the chopped chervil a few moments before serving.

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Zesty Pumpkin Soup

1/4 cup butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 garlic cloved, crushed

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/4 cups solid packed pumpkin

1 cup half and half

sour cream and chives

In large saucepan, melt butter; saute onion and garlic until soft. Add curry powder, salt, coriander and red pepper; cook 1 minutes. Add broth; boil gently; uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and half and half; cook 5 minutes. Pour into blender container. Cover; blend until creamy. Serve warm. Garnish with dollop of sour cream and chopped chives.

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Zesty Artichoke Spread

14 ounce can whole artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

1 dash garlic salt

1 dash Worchestershire sauce

1 dash hot sauce

Combine above ingredients; stirring well. Pour into lightly greased 1-quart casserole. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with toast points or assorted crackers.

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Cream Cheese and Bacon Spread

1 8-ounce block cream cheese

2 teaspoons mustard

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 medium tomato, chopped fine

12 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and crumbled

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

Combine cream cheese, mustard and celery salt. Stir in bacon, tomato and green pepper. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Spread on party rye.

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Molded Salmon Appetizer

1 7-ounce can red salmon

1 8-ounce package cream cheese

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 envelopes gelatin

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1 cup mayonnaise

Mix soup and cream cheese. Heat and stir until smooth. Dissolve gelatin in water. Add cheese mixture. Blend. Fold in remaining ingredients. Pour into mold. Chill until firm.

Serve with crackers or party rye.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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