Ah, truck stops! They’ve been an American icon since the 1940s. Where else could you get diesel fuel right off of Eisenhower’s new American interstate highway system and something to eat at the same place? Even if the truck stop didn’t have a diner, the fuel bays were designed to fit the capacity needs of a big rig, and this is where truckers still fuel up today. Jump off of the highway, fill it up, jump back on – these stops save truckers a tremendous amount of time, but money? Not so much.
My Bill Is How Much?!
Stop in at the truck stop’s diner for a cup of coffee and quick bite and you’ll pay a pretty penny. This isn’t so good when economic times are tight and gas prices are through the roof. Sure, it’s nice to take a break and rest yourself over some good, old-fashioned … and sometimes greasy … “home cookin’.” If you’re in a hurry, the lure of fast food can be strong. The toll on your bank account though, and your stomach, isn’t always worth it. In some cases, the food and its price might cause you heartburn! Nope, you’d better start cooking on the road to get your sustenance.
Don’t get me wrong. I love truck stops; absolutely everything about them. They are there for you, the truckers, and there should be more of them out there. But, realistically, it does get too expensive to stop and eat all of your meals at various truck stops along your OTR trucking route. It doesn’t do you any good to just snack along the way, either. You need some healthy, solid meals to keep your energy levels up while you’re driving.
Plug In the Grill and Get Cooking!
Fortunately, there are plenty of mini-appliances that will fit in your sleeper cab, run off your battery and keep your growling stomach at bay. Many cabs aren’t complete without a 12-V cooler to keep drinks cool while trucking through the hotter parts of the country in the summer. Some truckers also have their own coffee maker in the cab, and a microwave or lunchbox oven to heat things up. The key factors to accessorizing your truck so you can cook on the road is to make sure your power supply can handle the appliances, and what you’re cooking with is safe. You don’t want to light up a propane stove inside your cab – carbon monoxide, my friend.
Some safe options for cooking are small microwaves, lunchbox ovens, electric frying pans or grills – the nonstick kind so you aren’t dealing with cooking oils. You can also use a slow cooker to slow cook your food while you’re driving. You don’t need too many pots, pans, plates and silverware – keep it minimal and only take the stuff you absolutely need while you’re on the road. This saves space for more appliances or sleep room. If you decide you want a propane grill, make sure you stop and cook outside; again, carbon monoxide … and you don’t want to mess with that or your OTR trucking assignment will end – well – rather quickly and not so good!
Bet You’re a Better Cook Than You Realize …
Grab some lean chicken, your favorite vegetables, some wooden skewers and your favorite seasonings and grill up some kabobs on your electric grill to easily eat while you’re driving along. Soak your skewers in a little water first, however, to keep them from burning. Toss your favorite meat, veggies, some broth or a little water and soup mix into your slow cooker, and enjoy a hearty stew within a few hours. Herbivores can make veggie kabobs, or throw beans and legumes into the cooker with the veggies instead of meat, add some curry, and have a great homemade veggie stew to enjoy. Cooking on the road is a lot easier than you might think it is. It’s definitely a lot healthier and, you know what? It’s fun, too.
Life on the road is a special experience, and it takes a special person to be able to handle the demands of OTR trucking. Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the comforts of home, however. Whether your better half cooks up some goodies for you to heat in your on-board microwave or you become the Wolfgang Puck of cooking on the road, sometimes your own home cookin’ is all you need to perk up your energy level and mood. So, grab some food out of that on-board cooler, toss it into your on-board cooker and bon appétit!