Today's topic is: travel food.
As my readers are aware, I spent much of this summer in the car. My personal philosophy of car travel is:
1. Eating in the car cures everything (sleepiness, boredom, irritation), and
2. Calories consumed in the car don't count, so
3. I can eat things in the car I would never eat in real life.
Like Slim Jims.
I love Slim Jims. They have just the right balance of salt, spice, and grease. My car eating habits are such that the Slim Jim looks healthy to me; at least it has protein! But I would never think to buy Slim Jims to keep in my home. They are strictly travel food. Imagine my excitement last week when I found a Mega-Sized Slim Jim in a gas station...it was about 18 inches long and had the girth of a cigar. I couldn't finish it. I think Sven had to shoot the second one...it had a decidedly shifty air, as though it was planning to hawk the good silver. We simply couldn't have it in the house.
I have become totally disillusioned with snack mixes, the other mainstay of my travel diet.
It seems that every snack mix I buy contains roughly the following:
72% boring food item that I really don't care about
26% tasty food items that are okay
2% good stuff.
(The above formula does not apply to Cracker-Jack, which is now 99% caramel corn and 1% honey roasted peanuts.)
Chex Mix, the gold standard of snack mixes, has really let me down. I remember when I was a kid, when you had to make your own Chex Mix from the recipe on the box, Chex Mix seemed sophisticated and mysterious. Lawry's Seasoning Salt and Worcestercestercestershire sauce? On cereal? With peanuts? Whoa, are we at the White House? We loved the Mix, because it was so cosmopolitan.
Nowadays, not only can you buy pre-made, bagged Chex Mix, you can buy it in various varieties, savory and sweet. You can get Traditional, Bold -n- Spicy, or Cheese Lovers; you can also get Sweet -n- Salty, Peanut Lover's, Chocolate Lovers Turtle, and Lawn Clippings -n- Pebbles. Chex Mix has really let me down, though. My last bag of Sweet -n- Salty promised "candy coated chocolate pieces" (translation: blank m&m's). At the very bottom of the bag, amid the crumbling remnants of the wheat Chex, I found three brown candies. That was it. Those could have gotten into the bag by accident. I don't think they should list something as an ingredient in the mix unless there is a sporting chance of you finding it when there is still "mix" to be had.
Gardetto's Mix, on the other hand, is the Cadillac of snack mixes. It doesn't delve into the namby-pamby world of sweetness, it's all about the savory, baby. Surprisingly, Gardetto's is made by General Mills, who also makes Chex Mix! Huh. Gardetto's has pretzels, but it also has bread stix, sesame bread stix, and rye crisps. Yummy.
On this last trip, I discovered Planter's Trail Mix. I will give this one my highest recommendation. Salted peanuts, almonds, and cashews, with raisins, dried cranberries, and, of course, Chocolate Coated Candy Pieces. No pretzel filler. CVS Drugstore brand trail mix was good, too. Real M&M's in that one!
At last! I know what I'm doing next summer...