David and I loaded up the pups and made a long loop out to the Grand Canyon and back in a 13 day trip. The details of the road trip can be found here over the next few days or weeks. This post is going to be about eating on the road (literally) for nearly 2 weeks while avoiding BEEF, CORN, MUSTARD, PEANUTS, SOY, WHEAT and a handful of other misc. food allergies.
What I packed:
*One mid sized cooler
*Wide mouth jars full of ice, wrapped in brown paper bag to prevent "sweating"
*Safe maple syrup
*Home made trail mix
*Safe potato chips
*Sea Salt & Pepper
*Apples (pre-washed wrapped in safe paper towels and in zip top bags)
What we did while we were going from one stop to another:
While we were on the road moving from home to stop one from stop one to stop two and so on was:
1. Eat at Whole Foods where we could go in and each purchase something we could eat
2. Cook roadside at rest stops. We did this more frequently because there aren't Whole Foods in the middle of West Texas and we limited our Whole Foods spending to gift cards David had received as Christmas presents (thanks!!) It's amazing how quickly one can set up a single propane burner & cook a pot of rice and heat some beans. That's what we did. A long long time ago my little faithful rice cooker bit the dust. I kept the pot and lid, for which I endured much teasing from Hubs. However, happily, it is brilliant for propane burner rice cooking! I didn't take any pictures but it's amazing. I guest-imate the rice and water and ignore it. The rice has been perfect every time. Then we heat up a can of beans and wallah a gluten free, corn free dinner on the road. Literally on the road. Then we'd take a little walk and get back to the driving.
While camping and in hotels we:
1. Cooked. Of course. =) We mostly camped but even while we were in hotels for a night we'd cook out front. One evening David made dinner in the Grand Canyon outside the laundromat while I ran a load of laundry.
Breakfasts: Eggs, bacon, potatoes, rice, steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are fantastic. More filling than regular oats and here is a little trick. If in the evening you bring your oats and water to a rapid boil for five minutes then remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit out, in the morning you need only cook the oats for about 5-10 minutes. We did this several times and even when the pot sat out in AZ when it was less than 30 degrees the oats cooked up perfectly. (Typically steel cut oats simmer 45 mins)
Lunches: One of the days we did purchase fries and a milkshake (the two items we thought would be safe) from IN & OUT Burgers. Because we had to eat something from there. In & Out is the stuff of legends. Happily, David consumed both the chocolate shake and the fries with salt and had no reaction for corn or soy. It was fantastic. I believe I had a reaction to beef. Probably a cross contamination as they are a burger joint, or as a gelatin in the shake. Except for that day we camp fire or propane cooked food. Also, we ate cereal. David Wheat Chex and me Rice Chex. Sometimes we had granola with yogurt if we had found a grocery store between camping stops.
Dinners: Our anniversary was 03.05.2011 so we ate out at a pretty nice place in NM - Albuquerque I think. We were both able to order something to eat with out a problem. With that single exception we cooked. Typically we found a grocery store where we could purchase meat and we would grill that with potatoes or rice. We could find eggs almost anywhere, even gas stations, so if we really wanted protein and couldn't find meat we'd fry eggs for dinner and eat them with rice and beans or potatoes.
We ate well. That's what I really want to re-assure other allergy suffers. And for no more than we would have spent had we been home.
*Pack lots of filling, safe, foods!! You don't know when you'll find a market you can purchase safe foods in so pack nuts, hearty fruits & veggies that won't spoil like oranges, apples and root veggies
*Plan at least a little. Know where you'll be able to eat out grocery shop at least to some extent.
*Be flexible. Cereal for lunch is an option!