Quantcast

Will full service dining ever return to the Western trains?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,159
Location
South Florida

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
747
Yes. There are people who love those TV dinner style meals and there is more variety in the expanded options menu.
I lived on a lot of TV dinners in grad school in the 1970s and they were far superior to what we were served on 48 for breakfast and lunch in May 2019.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
168
I lived on a lot of TV dinners in grad school in the 1970s and they were far superior to what we were served on 48 for breakfast and lunch in May 2019.
Oh, come on now. The 1970s Swanson salisbury steak and turkey tv dinners with powdered mashed potatoes were definitely not "far superior" to what is served on Amtrak today. Mind you, neither are good - but the 1970s tv dinners were downright awful.

TV dinner 2.jpg
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
747
Oh, come on now. The 1970s Swanson salisbury steak and turkey tv dinners with powdered mashed potatoes were definitely not "far superior" to what is served on Amtrak today. Mind you, neither are good - but the 1970s tv dinners were downright awful.

View attachment 18437
I will take that Salisbury Steak Dinner over the May 2019 Lake Shore fare any time. I must have had that dinner once a week years ago and I suspect it had less salt than the present Amtrak meals.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
168
I will take that Salisbury Steak Dinner over the May 2019 Lake Shore fare any time. I must have had that dinner once a week years ago and I suspect it had less salt than the present Amtrak meals.
Nostalgia can be a strong thing. Those old tv dinners were absolutely loaded with sodium. And I'm surprised that you would prefer chopped meat and powdered mashed potatoes over real cuts of beef and real potatoes. You are certainly in the minority. Although if memory serves me correctly, the chicken I had in the chicken alfredo dish (now gone from Amtrak's menu) was made of compressed chicken.

I'm not saying that Amtrak's meals are good - they aren't. I'm just being honest about what those 1970s tv dinners were.

Tv Dinner 3.jpg
 
Last edited:

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
747
Nostalgia can be a strong thing. Those old tv dinners were absolutely loaded with sodium. And I'm surprised that you would prefer chopped meat and powdered mashed potatoes over real cuts of beef and real potatoes. You are certainly in the minority. Although if memory serves me correctly, the chicken I had in the chicken alfredo dish (now gone from Amtrak's menu) was made of compressed chicken.

I'm not saying that Amtrak's meals are good - they aren't. I'm just being honest about what those 1970s tv dinners were.

View attachment 18438
I realize that we all have different tastes. I probably had at least 40 or 50 of each of these TV dinners over a period of several years. Since I was a repeat customer many times over, I obviously considered them quite satisfactory in terms of taste, price, time and convenience, nostalgia aside. I would usually make a decent size salad (about 4 times the size of the present Amtrak salad) to accompany the meal as I dined alone in my apartment nostalgically living the ascetic life.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,094
I also am one who has consumed many of those Swanson Frozen Dinners over the years. Certainly not haute cuisine, but they served their purpose and were usually tasty. I still buy one or two and keep them in my freezer for those meal times when I need to fix something quickly and/or I don't want to cook something for myself.

Being served such a meal in a "restaurant", be it stationary or "on wheels", is unacceptable and really a type of insult to the patron.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
168
I've long wondered how a flavorless and nutritionless web of cellulose snuck into the lettuce family.
It is a big myth that iceberg lettuce is nutritionless. This article explains it well:

TLDR: It actually has some nutrition, but iceberg lettuce is lower in nutrients than other types of lettuces.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,544
Location
Texas
It is a big myth that iceberg lettuce is nutritionless. This article explains it well:
TLDR: It actually has some nutrition, but iceberg lettuce is lower in nutrients than other types of lettuces.
After reading the article I'm still not sure if you're an expert on nutrition or just unfamiliar with the role of hyperbole in casual speech. 🤔
 
Last edited:

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
168
After reading the article I'm still not sure if you're an expert on nutrition or just unfamiliar with the role of hyperbole in casual speech. 🤔
You aren't exactly known for your hyperbole. Quite the opposite. You are usually zealously literal. So forgive me for assuming that you were not engaging in it this time.
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,748
Location
Los Angeles
After reading the article I'm still not sure if you're an expert on nutrition or just unfamiliar with the role of hyperbole in casual speech. 🤔
Forgetting the nutritional side, sometimes FRESH iceberg lettuce adds just the right crunch to a hamburger, Even in a salad it's just the right touch. At which time I'll have to find my nutrition elsewhere.
 

Manny T

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
493
Location
Chicago IL
...Swanson Frozen Dinners over the years. Certainly not haute cuisine, but they served their purpose...
This hits the nail on the head -- not that the 1950's TV dinners were good or bad, but that they served their purpose for those consumers who bought them. And they were voluntary, a supermarket choice among other available options.

The question about Amtrak flex-dining is, does it serve its purpose? Generally speaking, does it do the job of offering Amtrak's best (highest-paying) customers dining options consistent with their expectations, likes and dislikes, health concerns, and desire for choice and variety, to the extent possible on a moving train?

I think the answer is pretty obvious (for most).
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,227
Location
Gator Country Florida
With the dining options available in the "dining car" (whatever they call the car now reserved for sleeper passengers) I'm glad they no longer offer it to those in coach. I would not be happy to pay the price they would charge those in coach to eat in the diner - it would be worse than the overcharging that is now done in the café car that coach passengers can buy from.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,544
Location
Texas
Forgetting the nutritional side, sometimes FRESH iceberg lettuce adds just the right crunch to a hamburger, Even in a salad it's just the right touch. At which time I'll have to find my nutrition elsewhere.
A fresh layer of iceberg can form a convenient separator between the meat and condiments of a burger. It can also work as a wrap for Asian style chicken appetizers or paired with blue cheese and bacon in the form of a wedge. Where it really falls apart for me is when it's used as cheap filler in an entree salad. Where I live restaurants expect us to spend $10-15 on a salad representing maybe fifty cents worth of iceberg filler plus a buck or two worth of toppings and dressing. Back in the era of refer cars iceberg was probably the best they could manage but these days I'm surprised it continues to maintain a stranglehold.
 
Last edited:

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
168
This hits the nail on the head -- not that the 1950's TV dinners were good or bad, but that they served their purpose for those consumers who bought them. And they were voluntary, a supermarket choice among other available options.

The question about Amtrak flex-dining is, does it serve its purpose? Generally speaking, does it do the job of offering Amtrak's best (highest-paying) customers dining options consistent with their expectations, likes and dislikes, health concerns, and desire for choice and variety, to the extent possible on a moving train?

I think the answer is pretty obvious (for most).
That makes a lot of sense. They served their purpose well, at least for the era. And, no, they don’t serve their purpose on Amtrak well. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but it would be very easy for Amtrak to have premade meals that are at much higher quality.

And as far as the iceberg lettuce is concerned, one thing I miss from my days growing up in Connecticut is shaved iceberg lettuce on a submarine sandwich. The lettuce was usually shaved in a deli meat slicer. It added a perfect crunch.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,341
Location
Austin Texas
That makes a lot of sense. They served their purpose well, at least for the era. And, no, they don’t serve their purpose on Amtrak well. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but it would be very easy for Amtrak to have premade meals that are at much higher quality.

And as far as the iceberg lettuce is concerned, one thing I miss from my days growing up in Connecticut is shaved iceberg lettuce on a submarine sandwich. The lettuce was usually shaved in a deli meat slicer. It added a perfect crunch.
Trust me, the 50s TV Dinners ( mostly Swanson)were terrible, just like the swill being slung in Amtrak "Sleeper Lounges " right now!
 

Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
148
OK, that appears to be written by qualified authors, and though I've never heard of those Australian universities, they seem to be well respected and unbiased.

But the risks cited are to the safety of human test subjects, and the possibility of reduced public acceptance due to the accelerated process. I didn't see any concerns expressed about the safety of the vaccine to the public after completion of the human trials.

I trust Dr. Anthony Fauci implicitly. I've seen him praised by numerous other doctors, and he was addressed with great respect by other prominent doctors in a televised forum. Dr. Fauci says no vaccine will be approved in the U.S. unless it is safe (unlike Russia.)
Fauci is not the only expert in the world. Not everyone agrees with his pronouncements. There is always risk with vaccines but the risk is going to be greater when the vaccine has not been tested over a period of time. There is tremendous pressure to restart the world economy. That is why they are skipping over normal protocols. By the way, Fauci says that a vacccin e may only be 50% effective and various vaccines may be needed for different strains. He also said that it will take some time to get a significant number vaccinted. And a few months ago he said NOT to wear masks. He is not God. I put implicit faith only in the real God.
 

Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
148
What airline are you flying first class thats serving food? Ive been on two major airlines first class and no food.
Swiss Air is very good. I had some delicious meals on Saudi Arabian Airlines also, in coach class. Even AA in first was good. The presentation was done well. Delta first class was fabulous a few years ago. The cabin attendant couldn't have been more enthusiastic. He really liked his job. Food was very good and they served several very good wines. Amtrak, by comparison, treats first class paeengers like Greyhound passengers or worse.
 
Top