September 7, 2008

Road Food

Driving across the country to start a new life is no small task. There’s lots of planning involved – renting a truck, mapping out a route, booking hotels, and packing up everything you own.

But when we first decided to do this one of my biggest questions was: What are we going to eat on the road?

To save money and time, we decided to pack food so we wouldn’t have to stop every day for lunch or supper. So that’s why I was in the kitchen making salads the night before we left on this big adventure.

I decided to make three different salads from our new cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison*: Picnic Potato Salad With Marjoram and Pickled Onions, Coleslaw with Buttermilk Horseradish Dressing, and Roasted Beets with Anise Vinaigrette.

The salads didn’t really turn out as well as I had hoped as road food. That was mainly because I kind of, um, altered the recipes a bit. Things like leaving an onion out of the coleslaw (It said to grate it. I hate grating onions and I was not prepared to do it that night), and not putting anise in the anise vinaigrette. (Well, that one was pardonable. We’d already packed all of our spices and anise seed is five dollars a bottle.)

But I guess what I really learned is that I just don’t feel like eating salad when I’m cruising down the Trans-Canada. I crave things like chips, crackers, more chips, and maybe some fresh fruit thrown in for good measure.

We did eat the beets. Not even a five-day road trip can keep me from finishing beets. But some portions of the potato salad and coleslaw travelled with us all the way to North Battleford, Saskatchewan … where they were flushed down our hotel toilet.

But let’s get to the more positive parts of road food. Things like fresh bread spread with butter and strawberry jam, or lemon curd, or tomato pesto. Or sandwiches filled with Boursin cheese, ham, lettuce and avocado. Or the fresh-baked croissants that our friend Michael gave us the morning we spent with him and his wife, Fumie, at their home in Ottawa.

The croissants were heavenly, as was the breakfast he and Fumie made for me, J and our friend Remi in their cozy apartment. Michael is a pastry chef and apparently cooks as much at home as he does at work. There were perfect scrambled eggs, fresh ham-and-cheese scones spread with homemade raspberry jam, and fruit smoothies.

It was such an amazing way to start the second day of our trip. And to head back on the road with croissants, our own jar of jam and a fresh loaf of bread was simply incredible.

Eventually I’m going to try making those salads again. I’m sure they’d be delicious if I didn’t leave out ingredients, and if we could eat them here, settled in our new home, instead of bouncing through Northern Ontario with a cooler between our seats and bug guts splattered all over the windshield.

* J bought me this cookbook a few months ago and I decided that I was going to cook all of our suppers from it this year. It’s pretty much a bible of vegetarian cooking, with chapters on almost every type of food, and a vegetable index that tells you how to cook almost every vegetable. Expect many posts about its recipes...sandwiches are coming up first.


Jeanne... said...

I'm so glad that you're keeping a personal cooking/food blog. Being in a slightly bigger city, you'll find yourself open to some new and adventurous flavours, more access to rarities like paella and fresh pastry...also opened the palette to greater options for a novice foodie like me. Way to go! I look forward to reading more!


emily said...

this is making me hungry already!

kwoodguy said...

If you are making supper every night for a year from a vegetarian cookbook, will you enjoy meat only at breakfast and lunch?

Keep writing, I will keep reading, and bugging you.

genevieve said...

wow Is, what a great start to your trip! fresh croissants!