Favorite road foods

Jane, Jenny, and I will be attending the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Awards ceremony this Saturday in Chicago. This will be my first major trip in two years, and I am looking forward to it – not only because I will be seeing two of my favorite people and attending the JBF ceremony, but because I will be able to eat my favorite road trip foods.

Because I travel infrequently, I indulge when I am flying or driving cross country. When flying, I hit up my favorite airport bars and restaurants (a nervous flyer such as myself can benefit from a well-timed wine flight), and when driving I eat all manner of sketchy, grossly unhealthy, and absolutely delicious things. Calorie counts are not considered.

Jojo potatoes from a Mind “Full” Mom

If you have driven on interstate highways across the US, you are familiar with the massive truck stops that offer a sundry selection of chips, candy bars, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, and other junk foods. I look for limited edition candy bars (mint Kit Kat was my last discovery) and will also try regional treats when I spy them, like Jojo potatoes. Truck stop coffee also keeps me revved up from stop to stop, and I am thankful that most places have anted up to higher quality coffees than they had in years past. (According to over the road truckers, Pilot truck stops have the best coffee.)

I also use road trips as an excuse to eat fast food. While it is possible to find healthy items even at truck stops, where is the fun in that? It is much more pleasurable to have a Culver’s Deluxe burger and a scoop of frozen custard. If I see a Krispy Kreme on my travels, I will slide in for a fresh plain glazed doughnut, especially if the Hot sign is lit. (I have already confirmed that there are two Krispy Kreme locations near Chicago. Woohoo!)

No road trip would be complete for me without a bag of salted sunflower seeds. If I am feeling feisty I will get the dill pickle-flavored seeds. They are my go-to snack, serving double duty as being both tasty and a way to stay awake when driving on long, straight stretches of highway in flat land (it is always amazing to see how much land is devoted to growing field corn in the Midwest US). What are your favorite road trip foods?

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  • Fyretigger  on  June 10, 2022

    The article about JoJo potatoes was eye opening. In the small Montana town I grew up in was a bar/restaurant called The Embassy Club, which served broasted chicken and jojo potatoes. They were the goto place to order takeout from when you didn’t feel like cooking for the family – chicken, jojo potatoes and a quart or two of spaghetti. Everyone took it for granted that the potatoes were name for Josephine (everyone called her Jo), the female half of the couple that owned the place. They must have had one of these pressure roasters. It was certainly years before KFC was anywhere near southwestern Montana. Now as Paul Harvey used to say, I know “the rest of the story.”

  • racheljmorgan  on  June 10, 2022

    I love the horseradish chips from Mapco stations and pepperoni rolls from Sheetz when we’re traveling north.

  • Dollhouse_Cuisine  on  June 10, 2022

    I love that the Jojo potatoes piece is from Willamette Week. (I used to write for that paper.) I hadn’t realized Jojos were such a big thing in Oregon, and I also hadn’t known they are supposed to be breaded. I’ve been served many potatoes calling themselves Jojos, but not really filling all the requirements for that.

  • sayeater  on  June 15, 2022

    We had those potatoes in Indiana when I was a kid. I still remember them… I buy potato wedges now when I see them but they are never the same. Now I know why.

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