The Braniff charter flying Geraldine Ferraro served the best -- and most lavish -- food encountered on the campaign trail this year.

Consider, for example, a 35-minute mid-day flight from LaGuardia to Baltimore. When we boarded the plane, we found tempting open-face sandwiches -- smoked salmon, Italian salami, and more -- on trays at our seats. But these were appetizers -- not lunch.

As soon as we were airborne, a flight attendant came down the aisle handing out slices of rare cold roast beef in a pastry crust. Followed by another attendant with pieces of venison with goose-liver pa te'. Followed by a tray of cheeses. Followed by a tray of fruit. Followed by chocolate pastries. Followed by Popsicles.

By this time, we were 50 feet off the ground at Baltimore -- and they had to stop. I don't know how Ferraro avoided gaining 50 pounds on her fare. -- David Broder The Heavy Message

On a typical day aboard the Ozark charter planes favored by the Ferraro campaign, we'd have had four meals by 3 p.m. The fare distributed by eager-to-please flight crews would start with a breakfast of fresh papaya, strawberries, croissants and a sweet roll, with two little mini-bottles of vodka, for the dawn take-off.

Then after the first stop, hot fried egg and bacon sandwiches. Following that, the lunch offering, beginning with hors d'oeuvres -- roast beef, deviled eggs, fresh-crab salad, fresh shrimp and crab claws with dip -- followed by anything from cheeseburgers to a choice of beef bourguignon or chicken wellington. All this was liberally interspersed with deliveries of ice cream sandwiches and sundaes, and cookies of every description.

Some wags questioned whether this was carrying the Democrats' theme of feeding the hungry too far. The candidate herself complained of having gained weight during her run for the vice presidency.

As for the campaign press, after a time, on some rare occasion when we were cut off from the special charters and felt an unfamiliar pang signaling actual hunger, someone would evoke knowing nods by saying, "I could use a little Ozark."