Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Car Kitchen

I briefly mentioned the Car Kitchen in the last post and it deserves more blogtime.

The Early Years

traveler's cb
published 1965

Three years ago I was at the Oakland White Elephant Rummage Sale with the Inimitable One and I happened upon a book that would change my life, "The Ford Times Traveler's Cookbook." It was a humble tome, wedged in a pam box with other small cookbooks with really boring names like Aunt Frida's Fermented Fish Recipes and Junior League Fondoo Surprises. I took it home and read it from cover to cover, marveling not only at its exciting recipes, but also how it celebrated American regional foods and presaged the whole slow food movement, all without sounding the least bit pretentious. But even better than the recipes, are the instructions on kitting out your own car kitchen.

tcb 5

As soon as I arrived home with Dutch's car, the stuff I had been hoarding for years suddenly started finding it way to the trunk.


I get teary-eyed looking at this-- not only all the potential road-tripping contained here, but our glorious heritage of traveling and eating-- from wooden ships, to wagons, caravans, Mustangs and station wagons of all stripes-- I feel connected to the ancestors near and distant.

Oh How I Love FOMOCO
me and ford

The car I learned to drive in was a '70 blue Mustang. The handling was so syrupy that only by actually looking down at the pavement did the driver get an indication that she was actually on the ground. Big Red is no different, I've since discovered, its a Ford thing.

The Fine Tableware

It matches the car. Vintage melamine I bought at a garage sale in Flip Flop on a table cloth I purchased for $1/pound at the Flip Flop Bargain Barn.

At home on the Range

Only in Cambodia introduced me to the magic of the butane stove. Cheap and easy (especially if you live near an Asian market), it requires no special skills or supplies, just a level, fireproof surface.

slice and dice

All ready to clean and chop any kind of veggie.


Clean-up, my "favorite" activity.


I am not sure why its so exciting to know all this stuff is in the back of the car. Its slightly embarrassing, even. It only starts to make sense to me when I think about all the road trips I went on as a child, all the great memories and all the great food (why are beans warmed in a can, over a fire, so good?). Maybe Dutch has something to do with it. Cooking is always so much more fun when there are at least two people to enjoy it. Maybe I am just a frustrated gypsy, and the illusion that I am settled in an apartment is merely a thin veneer over a contrary reality. Maybe, its just time for a road trip.


Poulet said...

Awesome post. I need a road trip. Wish it could be for your birthday, but we're stuck for a while.

The Nikkster said...

I fell in love with using a cleaver. It's just so fun to smash and chop up the garlic with one: an essential kitchen tool wherever that may be.

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