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NEW DELHI, India -- When businessman Ashok Sharma chomped down on a two-inch lizard served to him on a Monument Airlines flight in India last year, the surprised passenger thought he had a court case. What he didn't think was that he was starting a trend. But that's exactly what seems to be happening.
Ernie Washoe, known as The Food Traveler, told reporters, "Thanks to Mr. Sharma, cold-blooded and slimy creatures have become the nouveau cuisine of the upscale traveler, and the airlines are ramping up to cash in on the trend."
Many airlines have long offered first-class passengers the option of selecting "special" meals when making their reservations. Now, in addition to being able to order seafood, low-calorie, low-sodium, vegetarian, kosher, lactose-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, sodium-free, fat-free, MSG-free, peanut-free, range-free and neon-free prepared meals, passengers can choose from a selection of reptiles and amphibians. (Dr. Jonas Sulker, dietary expert at the World Health Association, noted that most meals prepared with reptiles and amphibians tend to taste like chicken.)
According to Aida Nuff, spokesperson for Food Aire, a major airline catering company based in Dallas, the most popular meals among the new creations delivered to their clients have been Snake Eyes Sandwiches (all the rage on Las Vegas charter flights), Toad Suck Teriyaki (offered by Arkansas-based carrier Air Ozark), Cornfrog-On-A-Stick (available on MidAmerican Airlines flights during the popular summer state fair season) and Tuatara Tacos (being promoted on domestic Kiwi Airways flights).
Not to be outdone, several lodging companies will also jump on the bandwagon — or in this case, on the buffet table. For instance, the Traveller Hotel Group, known as a vanguard in the lodging business, is working to develop trendy menu items to replace its Atkins food offerings, which according to a statement released by THG, has "lost its hipness on the fad diet scene.”
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