Andrew and I met five years ago, and it has been through traveling that we have learned our most important life lessons and life skills. We stumbled upon the joys of car cooking, an important life skill in its own right, in 2003 during a spring break trip down to Big Bend National Park where we drove 28 hours straight to get there. We realized that we could fill up our thermos from the hot water taps from gas station stops and make a lot of interesting things with couscous, tabouli, and other "Fantastic" brand dehydrated bean and grain mixes.
During our travels last summer we began to explore as many variations on the car sandwiches, especially on the coast of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington an area with delicious breads, beautiful produce, and hand-crafted locally made cheeses. The combination of vegetables and cheese is ideal for car travel because the cheese can be bought in small portions meant to be consumed right away and the veggies can keep up to a couple of days buried under towels in the trunk. We normally avoid bringing a cooler because there isn't room, (our music equipment takes up almost ALL of the space in our trunk) and second without a cooler we don't have to bother with the watery mess that often comes with a cooler, with constantly finding a source to create the cold, or problems with food spoilage!
Today during our drive from outside Cleveland to western Iowa we made our first car sandwich of the trip with food purchased at the Giant Eagle in North Ridgeville, OH:
Veggie and Cheese Sandwich on a Sourdough Baguette
Organic Monterey Sourdough Baguette
Fresh Radishes, still with the greens (save for later :)
Green Onions, white parts plus one-inch of the green parts
Tillamook Medium Smoked Cheddar
Cut the baguette in half lengthwise then divide into three equal portions. Thinly slice the radishes, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese. Slice the green onion lengthwise. Layer in this order: radishes, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and top with the long slices of green onion.
Some practical issues of car cooking:
Some essential car cooking equipment include: miniature cutting board, a compact light weight knife that has stability and sharpness (I use a cut-co paring knife) some small prep bowls (I use the small plastic soup bowls that you can find at Asian markets), a few lightweight plastic plates (can be found in some picnic sets) and a few towels that you don't mind getting a little messed up. Why use non-paper items? Well, isn't that the point, why spend all that effort to make my own food if I am going to throw away as many paper and plastic products as if I bought pre-made road food? It does, however, take some creativity and planning to keep the dishes clean!
Monday, June 4, 2007