One day our family was discussing one of its favorite topics: food. We asked Lorraine, our ten-year-old, “What is the best thing you have eaten on any of our trips?” Without hesitation she answered, “Tiger meat.” Visions of big-game hunting and safaris—“Tiger meat?”
“Yes, you know, the meat with the stripes on it.”
Of course! On our way back from the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York, we had stopped at a restaurant for charcoal-grilled steaks.
We usually try at least one restaurant on our trips. Some are special: one in Virginia where they drape the children in huge bibs and serve them greengage ice cream; another in Boston, a pier right on the harbor where the children can watch ships while we eat lobster bisque, giant popovers, and chocolate mint pie too good to be good for us.
Our best eating, however, is not done in restaurants. In our many trips across the plains, we have found that dragging children into turnpike eateries can be a drag. Movable feasts are best, spread out in green parks or nibbled in the car as the scenery zips by. Many people allow their children to fill up on candies and cookies while riding, but we have learned to snack on fruits, nuts, and cheese (except when we have homemade goodies, of course).
We live in Arlington, Virginia, but except for occasional long trips we are a midi-family that likes mini-trips. Articles about adventurous souls who tour Europe with eight children in their buses, camping out all the way, do not tempt us. We don’t drive a camper or trailer; we do not drive an air-conditioned station wagon, large enough so that no two children (we have three) sit together at at any one time. We feel that we have something to say to that middle group of people who prefer, with us, short vacations and eating on the road.
An annual vacation takes us to Shenandoah and Skyline Drive in summer or in fall, where we enjoy the beauty of those mountains. While the children crawl on rocks and take the gentle trails, we parents sit with our feet up, looking over the hills to nestled towns, munching apples or drinking icy apple juice.
Another annual weekend takes us to the seashore, usually one of the Delaware beaches, where we stow sandwiches so we won’t have to leave the water if we don’t want to. French-fried Muenster with a touch of olive is fine. We usually stay at quiet family beaches, but on the way home we tour the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland, sampling hard-shell crabs, pork rolls, and old favorites like soft ice cream and saltwater taffy.
Good eating is also found in Pennsylvania Dutch country. We stayed there on a dairy farm in early October. Our host knew every cow by name and cared for all eighty-five head with the help of his daughter and his wife’s cooking. The meals were filling, made more so by delicious gulps of autumn air. For the ride home we bought Shoofly Pie and good dark bread.
The year we visited Expo at Montreal, we enjoyed eating all over Eastern Canada and down through New England. Raspberries were our specialty. In Quebec City, after walking on a red carpet intended for the president of Switzerland at the Chateau Frontenac, we ate raspberries in the spacious hotel restaurant. Later we ate them out of hand as we gazed out the car windows, admiring French farmhouses and the blue-green forests of New Hampshire.
In Nauvoo one summer we harvested wheat in the palms of our hands, then went next door to buy bread made from it: whole wheat loaves and sweet rolls. With some Nauvoo blue cheese we made a fine picnic at a roadside park in Hannibal, Missouri, then visited Mark Twain’s boyhood home.
While waiting for the Hill Cumorah Pageant to begin, we enjoyed eating our two-crust banana pie. It holds together well and is very filling.
Last summer our travels took us through Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, where we had homemade chocolates from a world-famous restaurant, raspberries from Bear Lake, and cheese from Star Valley.
In our early travels I used to throw in anything easy, ready-made, and grabbable. But I have learned to spend as much time and imagination on our portable meals as I would at home. Our trips are pleasant if we can look forward to something different to eat in the car, something fun to spread out on the grass.
General supplies include:
Ice-cooler or car refrigerator (for sandwiches, fried chicken, and other foods).
Tablecloths, napkins, paper towels, etc.
Plenty of ice water, and a canteen for milk (sweet drinks bring on thirst).
Plenty of grapes, oranges, plums, tomatoes, and other fruits in season.
4 cups water, heated
1/2 cup honey or molasses
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
12 cups flour, usually 8 white and 4 wholewheat or wheat germ flour
(other combinations work too)
Combine water, honey or molasses, salt, and oil and stir until dissolved. Then add yeast dissolved in water. Add flour and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 30 minutes). Then punch dough down, shape into four loaves, and let rise again for 30 minutes. Bake at 400° F. for 30 minutes.
Pastry for 2-crust pie
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
6 or 8 ripe, medium bananas
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
Line 9″ pie pan with half of pastry. Mix brown sugar, flour, and salt and sprinkle about one-fourth in pan. Peel bananas and cut in half crosswise. Split halves lengthwise and arrange one-third in piepan. Sprinkle with one-third of sugar mixture and lemon juice. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Repeat until all is used. Adjust top crust. Bake in hot oven (400° F.) 30 minutes or until browned and done.
Use two-hour brown bread, spread with a mixture of cottage cheese, salt, lemon juice, canned shrimp, and pepper. Add lettuce or pickle, if desired.
8 slices whole wheat bread
2 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups evaporated milk
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dates or raisins
3 tablespoons butter
Cream or milk
Break bread into bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Scald milk with 7 7/8 cup water; pour over bread and sugar and let stand 10 minutes, or until bread is very soft. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add salt, vanilla, and dates. Pour into well-buttered 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Dot with butter and bake at 350° F. for 1 hour. May be packed for the trip and eaten next morning.
Fry wing sticks, meaty joint, until golden brown and tender. Serve with cranberry dip, if you don’t mind a bit of a mess.
1 cup jellied cranberry sauce
2 2/3 cup horseradish
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup heavy whipped cream
Mash cranberries; blend in horseradish, salt, and sugar. Chill. When ready to travel, fold in cream and store in cooler.
1 package piecrust mix
1 envelope Parmesan salad dressing mix
5 tablespoons cold water
Combine piecrust mix and dressing mix in large bowl. Sprinkle water over top, 1 tablespoon at a time; mix lightly with fork. Roll out, half at a time, 1 1/8-inch thick, on a lightly floured board, and cut into rounds with cookie cutter. Place on large cookie sheet. Bake in 450° F. oven 8 minutes. Makes 8 dozen.
1 package frozen, unbaked patty shells
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 can mushroom stems, drained
1-pound can salmon
5 hard-cooked, chopped eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Melt butter in skillet and sauté onion and pepper until tender. Stir in mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Empty salmon and liquid into mixing bowl. Add boiled eggs, pepper, salt, dill, and parsley. Stir in vegetable mixture and mix lightly. Set aside.
Defrost patty shells in refrigerator. When defrosted but still cold, arrange shells in rows, touching each other, on floured board. Roll out with rolling pin to 12-inch square. Pile filling on one half of square, leaving a one-inch margin on three sides. Fold uncovered portion over filling and pinch edges together. Roll onto baking sheet so that seam is on bottom, and reshape filling and pastry into loaf shape. Brush with egg-water. Prick top with fork. Bake at 425° F. for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.