Trillin’s joke about his “no-frills picnic” while en route from New York to Miami is a tongue-in-cheek report of the consequences of his wife Alice’s frugality that he calls “Law of Compensatory Cashflow.” Because Trillin always (almost) defers to Alice’s superior wisdom, he decides to save money by flying no-frills. Of course, whatever Trillin saves on air fare, he will spend on food for the flight.”

Trillin’s indulgence for this in-flight picnic is gourmandish. Even so, he chagrinned to admit that the meal was incomplete because of a mix-up and the fried chicken was left out. How he packed it all is left to the imagination, but he stuffed onboard—a small jar of fresh caviar, some smoked salmon, crudités with pesto, tomato-curry soup, butterfish with shrimp stuffing gelée, spiced clams, lime and dill shrimp, tomatoes stuffed with guacamole, marinated mussels, and assortment of pâtés, stuffed cold breast of veal, a bottle of Pouligny-Montrachet, a selection of chocolate cakes, some praline cheesecake, and Italian cheesecake with fresh strawberries in Grand Marnier.

The tag line is left to the woman sitting next to Trillin, who leans over to tell him, “You must be a gourmet eater.”

[Also see W.C. Fields’ gourmand three-day picnic posted elsewhere on]

Featured Image: Detail of the first edition dust jacket by Sam Cooperstein.

See:  Calvin Trillin. “Fly Frills to Miami.” In Alice, Let’s Eat. New York: Random House, 1978.