Established by New York stockbroker Juan Trippe in 1927, the story of Pan Am is the story of US-led globalisation and imperial expansion in the twentieth century, with the airline achieving the vast majority of 'firsts' in aviation history, pioneering transoceanic travel and new technologies, and all but creating the glitz, style and ambience eulogised in Frank Sinatra's 'Come Fly with Me'.
Bryce Evans investigates an aspect of the airline service that was central to the company's success, its food; a gourmet glamour underpinned by both serious science and attention to the detail of fine dining culture. Modelled on the elite dining experience of the great ocean liners, the first transatlantic and transpacific flights featured formal thirteen course dinners served in art deco cabins and served by waiters in white waist-length jackets and garrison hats. As flight times got faster and altitudes higher, Pan Am pioneered the design of hot food galleys and commissioned research into how altitude and pressure affected taste buds, amending menus accordingly. A tale of collaboration with chefs from the best Parisian restaurants and the wining and dining of politicians and film stars, the book also documents what food service was like for flight attendants, exploring how the golden age of airline dining was underpinned by a racist and sexist culture.
Written accessibly and with an eye for the glamour and razzamatazz of public aviation history, Bryce Evans' research into Pan Am airways will be valuable for scholars of food studies and aviation, consumer, tourism, transport and 20th century American history.