Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why I wrote Grillin' the Road...

Me 'n my trucker man,
Charlie aka Wildman
Almost 3 years of working off and on on this project and it's finished. Well, the first edition is finished.  Now it's in print.  I'm amazed how easy it was to get it published as an eBook and POD paperback.    I recently had some temporary health issues that gave me time to sit and work on this project and get it done.  Within three weeks I came up with the cover design, direction and content, and found a way to get it out to the public.  It just all fell into place, and here it is.

The main purpose of this book is to get people thinking. Trying to drive truck, with its hectic schedule and thankless, long hours and miles, does not leave drivers, or their supportive families, a lot of time to come up with healthy solutions.  With this book, I've compiled tips and tricks that have helped me develop a system that makes it easier to eat and be healthy on the road.  It's not "quick and easy".  Real cooking, using good, wholesome, healthy foods, requires time and effort. Convenience foods and pre-prepared foods require little time, that's why they were made, but they lack much in nutrition, while giving us additives, preservatives, processed sugars and salts in abundance.  

I only included a few of my own recipes for a sample.  There are so many wonderful cookbooks, Internet recipe sites and options for recipes that can be easily adapted to my methods.  

There is no way I can cram all my knowledge, findings and experience in one short book. It has to be short enough to provide ready info to those who need it and don't have time to read a great deal. The challenge was to put what is essential, and give a basis for thought into how to prepare meals - for and on the road. Its a starting point, to get people thinking of how they can incorporate their favorite dishes and foods into something they can take with them.  Consolidating one's cooking efforts, such as bulk buying when possible, using basic (wholesome, healthy) ingredients, making many meals at once (baking several small meals in the oven), with variations of flavorings and ingredients, then freezing or storing for travel later, make this chore less time consuming. If we really think about it, most of us can find a few hours, one day a week, to prepare a week's or more worth of meals. This book gives you that basis and how to do it.  And it covers a multitude of situations - long haul drivers, short haul, travelers, and even preparing for daily lunches for work or meals at home.

I never thought to write a book.  I'm a reader, for certain, but write? I'm not much of a writer.  I suppose if I had an original idea...   This book came about almost quite by accident. As most know, my hubby is a truck driver and has been for many years.  I was one myself for a while, quite a few years ago. Little things got me thinking that I really needed to write down and share my knowledge and experience.  Once, a few years ago, I was watching an Emeril Lagasse show on Food Network when he was answering a letter from someone wanting dishes for her truck driver, and he offered salad in a baggie (which, by the way, is an excellent idea). That was one seed planted.  I had to cook for myself and my partner in the truck when I was team driving, many years ago. Not to mention the many people who asked where my hubby got his meals when he'd take 10 minutes for lunch.  One of the problems with being a truck driver is having time to take care of one's self. Trucking is a demanding job; long hours and most times away from the family. Not to mention the stereotypes pinned on them due to a few unsavory drivers who give the rest a bad name.  It's too easy to grab fast food or junk from the shelf at a truck stop, resulting in bad eating, and therefore bad health. 

Since about a year or so ago, I've been having increased issues with my Parkinson's and other problems, that and being in my late 40s, resulting in having to use a cane to walk all the time.  I got tired of being sick. I started researching about foods and diet and how it affects one's health.   This, coupled with my over 40 years of love of cooking, prompted me to ensure my husband (as well as my family) had good, healthy food to take with him on the road. The food not only had to be good, and flavorful, but also portable and easy to reheat. Charlie runs a local route, 50 miles one way, but does that about 10 times a day, including dropping and hooking up trailers, waiting on loading/unloading, and all his necessary duties as a responsible driver. He's busy. This resulted in finding dishes that were sturdy, portable, stood up to grease and rough handling, could go in the microwave, and were small enough to put in his cooler in his truck.

People noticed.  Charlie would heat up his meals in a microwave at a shipper or receiver's break room (he's well known and liked), and other drivers and workers would ask what he was eating. It looked good. It smelled good. The way my husband inhaled it, it tasted good. He'd let others sample the food, especially the cheesecake.  Charlie would tell them how I prepared food for him. With that, we found a market. People who needed this information on how to cook for traveling.  So I started to write it down.

As I said, it has been about three years in the making. I'd start to work on it, but never quite got where I wanted to go with it.    It's amazing where a few seeds will lead.  May the seeds I offer help you "grow a garden" of good food choices, better meals and excellent health in your travels.


(c) Lisa Murray 2012

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