Now that I’m a true road warrior — I can’t count the number of times I’ve driven from Denton to Santa Fe in the last year — I’m becoming an expert on what to eat along the way. Depending on my route, there are a few places where I like to stop (Golden Light Cafe in Amarillo is a favorite), but I don’t always time my driving to coincide with the lunch hour. Plus, as much as I love biting into that green chile cheeseburger, afterward, I’m more in the mood for a two-hour nap instead of the five-plus hours ahead of me.
So I’m learning to pack my own road food. The requirements are simple: 1) It must be easy and quick to make, because who wants to spend hours in the kitchen the day or two before traveling? 2) It should be healthy and on the light side. 3) It should fit into a small cooler. 4) It must be delicious.
It does not need to be something to eat while you drive. In fact, I strongly suggest that you do not do this. No matter where you are driving to and from, there’s almost always a place to pull off and spread your things out and have a little picnic.
The idea is to make it simple, whatever you do. There’s no need to go out and buy paper plates and plastic utensils. Use your own dishes and silverware. (If you feel like your dishes are too fancy, then go to the nearest thrift store, like I do, and buy some cheap white plates.) Then pack them in a few dishtowels to use as napkins and/or placemats. Not only is this easier and cheaper, it’s also better for the environment. You can wash them up and repack them when you get to your destination.
All of these recipes are lightning-fast to put together — 30 minutes or less — and can be served cold or at room temperature. One small cooler will do the trick.
Of course, if you’re really in a time crunch, you can always make sandwiches. I still like mine best on a baguette. You can take the girl out of Paris.