By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
We are planning on making a spin-off of this blog which will include all kinds of cooking information, such as recipes, supplies, etc. There are more and more drivers who are cooking in their trucks and sharing their cooking secrets, pictures of the wonderful food they prepare, and how they do it in the truck.
We will give you tips on things like how to set up your truck in order to have a safe kitchen. If you are not an owner-operator you might have to check with your company to make sure you are allowed to do this to your truck.
Years ago we both had a 2000 watt inverter. We had them installed at Kenworth dealers (different ones) but they took the time to make sure the heavy duty wire was routed to the batteries and that they were properly grounded. This allowed us to run appliances in our trucks in the 90s that are run today mostly by APUs or GenSets. There are a lot of companies who have those installed in their trucks these days allowing their drivers comforts we could only dream about back then. More and more trucks are equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. Also those generators are able to power appliances like toasters, slow cookers, electric skillets, and my favorite, a George Foreman grill.
There are still a lot of you who don’t have the power available to operate the appliances that need 110 volts, but there are all kinds of appliances that plug into the 12 volt cigarette lighter. You can make fresh coffee, warm up foods already cooked, or even cook foods in a crock pot that’s plugged into a 12 volt outlet. It takes longer, so more planning is necessary.
Make a grocery list and take advantage of getting to a grocery store or a Wal-Mart, at home or on the road. If you have a fridge, it’s easier to keep healthy food on board such as fresh produce, yogurts, meats, and cheese.
A collection of spices that you like are also a good idea. Even if you don’t get carried away you should at least carry basics like salt and pepper. Anything that doesn’t require refrigeration (spices, condiments, etc.) are useful since all OEM refrigerators are small. Zipper storage bags work better than anything else for storing food since they can be used in or out of the fridge and take up much less space, plus they are sealable. The freezer ones are best, since they are the strongest. You can use a variety of sizes from snack size to gallon size for organizing all of your supplies. Rectangular plastic baskets work out really well and fit great into most cubbies in sleepers. You’ll have to measure your particular sleeper and take those measurements with you when looking for baskets to fit.
Get creative with your storage spaces. The more “stuff” you carry, the more you need to organize it. Make sure you always secure your cooking space. The last thing you need is a crock pot flying through the air if you have to make a sudden stop.
I would like to share with you a simple recipe that is both good and good for you. Ingredients: a tub of cottage cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil, and an onion (optional). Mix all ingredients together and let the flavors mingle into something fantastic.
I also have a suggestion for those of you who want to eat healthy but don’t know how to cook or don’t have the facilities to do so. This is simple; get yourself one of those little 12 volt lunch box looking heaters. After you get that, you can pick up those single serve Lean Cuisine dinners from the frozen food department in the grocery store. Put one into the heater and plug it in. In about 30 minutes your food will be steaming hot and ready to eat. You can pull over, get out your plastic fork, and bon appetit!
Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.