Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Road Trip (how to travel amongst animal-eaters)

Over the holiday weekend, my husband and I traveled to Pine, Arizona for his mother's family reunion. Of the six passengers in the car, three of us are vegan, and with a 14 hour drive ahead of us, we could assume that we would have to eat on the road at least twice in both directions. And we knew, of coarse, that we would have to eat a few meals in Arizona (meals that would have to be prepared in a small kitchen which the three of us were sharing with 15 other [corpse-eating] people).

Our lazy vegan plan was to:

  1. Bring healthy edibles incase of emergency.
  2. Know the vegan selections of a few fast-food places we would likely encounter in all most any city along the road.
  3. Be sure of the food options we would have once we arrived.

In Boulder, Colorado, we are very lucky that our local stores provide us with many delicious, healthy, vegan snack foods. We took advantage of this by purchasing lots of nuts and dried fruit as well as mini peanut butter cookies made by Fabe's all natural bakery www.fabesnatural.com. All these treats were great not only as snacks for on the road, but also as additions to round out various nutritionally deficient meals on the road and at the reunion. Next time, however, I'm going to add whole grain crackers or cereal to the mix; my holiday was sadly lacking in whole grains, leaving me with a horrid craving for brown rice and whole wheat bread.

For fast food places we consulted the internet, and selected Wendy's, Taco Bell, and Subway as three places we assumed we could find in almost any city. Thankfully, this worked out. We ate at Subway three times (being the most preferable of the three choices, and the most common), and at Taco Bell once (disgusting!). But when our co-travelers got sick of Subway, we ventured into a diner in Las Vegas, New Mexico for Breakfast. This ended up being the best meal experience of the entire trip. The chef was nice enough to cook all three of us a side of hash-browns in vegetable oil (instead of the usual butter), and the bowl of seasonal fruit we each ordered consisted of the best honeydew melon and cantaloupe I've had all year! The only on-road let down was coffee creamer. There wasn't any soy creamer at any gas station or restaurant we stopped at, and unfortunately non-dairy creamer (despite it's name) always contains some kind of milk derived substance. Is there such a thing as an actual non-dairy creamer that doesn't have to be refrigerated? Because if there is, it would definitely be helpful on future road trips, and would probably help make me less grumpy while watching my in-laws consuming pigs'-parts and cows' secretions for breakfast.

For our stay in Pine, we simply checked online for nearby grocery stores and found a Safeway in Payson. We called to verify they had Amy's frozen meals and some Boca or Garden burgers (we knew cooking in the kitchen would be a pain for the reasons mentioned previously, so we opted for microwaveable meals). It was pretty simple. While our family ate hotdogs, we ate chick'n patties, while they ate sloppy Joes, we ate burritos. The drama factor was low, and we came out of the weekend alive (if a little less healthy from too much processed foods).

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