Drinking Wine While Flying?

Anabella Murillo

Turns out a lot of people fly either for business or pleasure, sometimes both. I travel more for business than for pleasure, however my goal is to travel for pleasure as much as I travel now for business. When travel I look forward to sit down on my seat. Why? Because sitting down could mean two things: either I fall asleep or I drink wine (and fall asleep later). Which brings me to the subject of my post. I have to warn you about drinking wine while flying.

Even though it sounds exciting it can get “complicated”. When we fly, our body is exposed to changes we may not feel or see. We fly in pressured cabins, temperatures are low for a reason, we are exposed to tons of germs and our body tends to dehydrate faster. It’s not a secret to anyone that when we drink alcohol we dehydrate.

I learned the lesson the bad way. In 2011 I was based in NYC and working for a company that choose 20 employees and flew them to South Africa for a “leadership employee boot camp”. It was more like a crazy detox boot camp, but I will save that story for another occasion.

My flight was from JFK to Johannesburg, meaning I was taking a 15 hour flight… straight… nonstop. I must confess I felt anxious as I had never spend so much time in a flight before. The first thing I thought: what will I do during 15 hours? I can sleep, watch movies, eat and then what?

During all my precautionary measures taken before my trip, calling my dad (he’s a doctor) was on the list since I needed some advice on vaccines in order to travel. His advice?  “Do not drink wine, drink tons of water, move your feet every two hours and make sure you drink enough water so you’re obliged to stand up and walk to the restroom”. I was not happy with his advice but somehow I planned to apply it.

I had an aisle seat (just in case I followed my dad’s advice and I wouldn’t bother my neighbor every hour to go to the restroom). Turns out my neighbor was a South African old man. It was a noon-night-morning flight so we got lunch, dinner and breakfast. This poor man was not prepared to be seated next to a Venezuelan girl asking wine questions like crazy in her imperfect English. Guess what? That’s exactly what I did.

To my surprise, he was happy to guide me. We shared stories and of course tried my first South African wine. He actually gave me wine lessons. I remember trying a wine I had never tasted before. It was a Pinotage. How many of you have tried this wine? I was a first timer. He explained it was a grape from his country, created after the combination of Pinot noir y Cinsaut (known as Hermitage at that time, hence, the name). There I was, receiving a free lesson on Pinotage on my way to South Africa. How lucky was I to share a seat next to a ZA old man who happens to know about wine? Jackpot!

We spoke for hours, I even took notes. He told me what to do in Cape Town, where to eat, tips on my safari and of course, Stellenbosch, a famous wine region in ZA that I had plans to visit. Hours passed, 1 Pinotage bottle later, pages with notes on what to do in ZA and no water whatsoever. I started thinking on my dad’s advice. Was it too late now?

Finally landed at Johannesburg around 8:00 am local time, met with two Venezuelan friends and we all took the same flight to Cape Town. I was so ready to taste all kinds of ZA wines. We went to the hotel, checked in and went upstairs. We needed a shower. Then we headed out to explore the magic city. I was taking my shoes off when I noticed something that freaked me out. I had no ankles. Literally, no ankles, gone. My toes and legs were so swollen I didn’t recognized them. I got scared and looked for bruises in my legs. I showed my –no-ankle feet to my friends and they were surprised as well. I started thinking why my feet were so swollen…and then I remembered my dad’s advice.

I had no water, just wine. Never made the exercises he mentioned. The only thing I did was walk a couple of times to the restroom. I got nervous, there I was with swollen feet at a city I didn’t know and had no idea of where the nearest hospital was. I took a shower with cold water and kept my feet high for hours. We went out and I walked a couple of hours. 24 hours later I was lucky enough to have my feet back.

I learned the lesson, the hard way, believe me. My flight back to JFK was different. I bought pressure socks, drank plenty of water and slept the entire flight back. I was exhausted from my three weeks adventures in South Africa. Landed in NYC with perfect feet and ready to have some wine with friends and tell them all the stories of my South African adventure.

Now, I can’t go without leaving you some tips while flying…and drinking:

For every glass of wine, drink one glass of water. This applies whether you are flying or not. Believe me, it will change your life.

  1. Move your ankles every 30 minutes if you are on short flights, or every hour for long flights.
  2. When safe to do so, stand up, walk down the aisle and back to your seat.
  3. Go to the restroom.
  4. You are drinking at 35,000 feet of altitude, hence, the effects of alcohol may be stronger or you may notice it sooner. Also you may feel dizzy or with a headache, remember flying means less oxygen gets to the brain.


Better be safe than sorry!




How to Keep Cheese Fresh

In Venezuela the variety of white and fresh cheeses is unimaginable: telita, guayanes, hand, guayamano, duro, zuliano… Maybe that’s why my family is addicted to cheese. We joked about being a family of mice because 1 kg didn’t last a single visit to the fridge.

When I moved out of my parents house, I bought the same amount of cheese as my parents’ used to buy for their house, but it rotted rather quickly. Obviously I had to buy less! So I adjusted the amount and still, sometimes, I had to throw away some of the cheese. And that really pissed me off.

So I set out to investigate how to keep it fresh for longer periods of time. Here are 5 ways to make cheeses last much longer in the fridge.

# 1 Do not buy cheese to feed an army

It is best to buy small portions even if it’s annoying to go more often to the market. But I assure you the effort is worth it. Its taste will always be fresh and, having no cheese for a week in the fridge, you will not forget that it is there and will definitely not spoil.

# 2 Replace paper from time to time

Especially with fatty cheeses that sweat a lot. It is important that, every time you take out the cheese to eat, discard the paper you had and wrap it with a new one. Thus, you will always delay the loss of freshness a little more.

# 3 Avoid plastic at all costs

It is one of the worst ways to store cheese. With the days, the food absorbs the odors of the plastic and there is no way to remove them. Cheese is a living thing with enzymes and bacteria that need some air and moisture to survive. As it is not a porous material, the plastic eliminates that microenvironment necessary for its proper storage. Therefore, it is important to use cheese paper or other similar effective methods.

# 4 Use parchment paper instead

Wrap the piece of cheese in paper and then in an unsealed plastic bag. This will form a barrier between the cheese and the plastic, while maintaining the right balance between breathing and insulation.

# 5 Keep it in the right place

That is, in the vegetables drawer that is at the end of the refrigerator and away from the freezer cold. The idea of storing some types of cheese in the refrigerator is between 35 and 45 degrees F. A lower temperature could freeze it and that would ruin its texture and consistency.

**Extra Tip: Use labels to identify the type of cheese and date of storage.

Boiled Eggs Timetable

Boiling eggs seems to be an easy task but for those who have tried it before know it might not be so easy. Also, not everyone likes boiled eggs all the same, so to save you some trouble and a lot of testing, here’s a simple visual guide for you to know (depending on your taste) how to boil eggs perfectly.

Flavoring With Spices


Adding flavors to our meals can get tricky, specially if you tend, like me, to get over creative in the kitchen. So, to save you some trouble and un-flavorful dishes, here’s a quick guide for you to learn how to spice up your meals, add flavor to your food, and become a SEASONING PRO!

Here’s a guide to read the infographics:

These are your spices:

Party Serving Guide

If you’re like me and love to host parties at home, I’m sure you’ve faced the question: how much should I serve? Well, here’s a simple guide of how much food (more or less, based on my experience) to serve at a party. I’ll start with food, and then we’ll go to desserts and drinks.

Avoid Over-Mixng Oops

Be careful not to over-mix your cookie dough. Let me explain why: when flour is combined with wet ingredients, proteins in the flour are activated and they help hold the dough together. If the proteins are over-activated, your cookies will turn out tough. So, to avoid any over-mixing and lots of crying in the kitchen floor, just stop mixing as soon as you don’t see any streaks of flour remaining in the mixing bowl. Now, how do we know when to stop when we add chocolate chips for example? Well, very easy, just stop mixing when there are a few streaks of flour left so you can combine it all together without over-mixing. #KitchenHacks #KitchenTricks #BestCookies

If Life Throws You Lemons…

…and you only need a few drops, don’t cut it in half because it will dry out quickly. Just puncture it with a metal skewer and squeeze out the amount of juice you need. This will help you not waste any more lemons!


The Ultimate Egg Freshness Test

If you are unsure of eggs’ freshness, just dip them into a glass of water. If the eggs sink, they are fresh, if they float, better not to eat them.

Fresh Egg Test

Don’t Add All Ingredients at Once

I am always looking for tips and tricks to make the most out of my cooking, and one thing I have learned is you shouldn’t add all the ingredients at once. The explanations is quite simple: Besides their flavors, most raw foods have water, therefore, when we treat each ingredient separately, there is a better chance we can manipulate the individual characteristics.

Chefs recommend we to this to get the most flavors out of each of them, it might take us a bit longer to finish each recipe, but I am pretty sure you’ll thank the masters for this little trick.

Empty sidebar

Please add widgets to this sidebar.