The Daily Palate

My life in food.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Road Rations

There's nothing more fun than a summer road trip. And one of the things I look forward to most is the food. While many enjoy stopping at roadside eateries, I'm far too impatient a traveler to stop, go inside, sit down, order off a menu, and wait for my food with the minutes tick, tick, ticking by. I like to keep moving. For me, its all about road rations found at the filling station.

I have fond memories of the the long drives with my Dad and Stepmother to visit them on the weekends as a child. There were frequent pit stops where my sisters and I were allowed to choose drinks and snacks for the road. In those days I was very partial to pineapple fried pies and strawberry cream soda. I also loved the beef jerky with Coca-Cola in the 10 oz bottles. Grape Nehi - also yummy. And Orange Crush - oh baby - oh baby - oh baby. And those little pink waffer cookies with the sugary icing in between - still my very favorite cookie ever.

Recently I found myself on a business trip a few hours from home and decided not to take the interstate on the way back. Instead, I took the scenic route through the hill country. I stopped at a promising looking filling station likely to have clean restrooms. Before I set out, it had been my plan to grab a barbeque sandwich at one of those interesting little roadside joints I've never stopped in. I should have known better, there's a reason I never do that. But this time it was going to be different.

That is until I passed a large display of beef jerky on the way to the restroom. I knew it was all over, but tried to talk myself out of it. "I could just have a little snack", I told myself. "I could still stop at one of those barbeque joints. It couldn't hurt to look at the chips." I love the chips.

Usually, when I'm at home and behaving like a sane adult, I stay away from the snack food. At my house, snack food is yogurt, Cliff bars, fruit, and triscuit with cottage cheese. I also love those little grape tomatos which I eat by the handfull - but this is all for another day. What I'm saying is - I've started down a very slippery dietary slope and I know it, but can I stop myself?

Cheetos! I love Cheetos! Now which will it be - "Crunchy" or "Flaming Hot". While I love the Flaming Hot, today I feel nostalgic. Crunchy it is. Next, beef jerky. I choose "Hot" with pepper flakes that can be seen all over the outsides. Mmmmmm. O.K. - its clear I'm buying dinner here. Shouldn't there be a tiny little dessert.

They have fried pies! I choose peach today. I am a grown-up afterall. My tastes are more sophisticated. Didn't I buy the "hot" beef jerky? I never would have done that as child. Also, in an act of supreme adult-like constraint I chose water instead of strawberry cream soda. See how grown-up I am?

My dinner this day -

Beef Jerky - Hot
Cheetos - Crunchy
Fried Pie - Peach
Water - Aquafina

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