Last weekend was a long weekend in Canberra so we skipped town and drove to Melbourne (to see family and friends and generally enjoy a proper city).
Over the past couple of years i’ve become much more organised with road trips. Rather than an inspired choice by me it became a requirement owing to having a vegetarian husband. Food choices during the 7 hr drive consist of burger chains, that fried chicken place, and some slightly better fare off the highway in country towns. Until fairly recently you couldn’t really find vegetarian options in Australian country towns at all and it’s still a bit of a challenge. Therefore it’s better just to pack something yourself. As with all of my sustainability tips, this is not a revolutionary idea and something that older generations/more organised people have done and still do.
Cheese and pesto sandwiches are now the favourite option for our road trips. I often make pesto at home, to use up excess coriander, basil or rocket (arugula). You don’t even need a blender/food processor, you can use a large kitchen knife to chop the greens as fine as you can (it’s therapeutic!), and then finish off in a large mortar and pestle to blend in the nuts (pine/walnut/cashew), parmesan, olive oil and salt and pepper (all to taste, but don’t be stingy with the oil).
The addition of cheese and good quality bread makes this a tasty and satisfying snack, just as good in my book as any junk food. A small step to minimise plastic is avoiding the use of plastic wrap (cling film, saran wrap). To wrap the sandwiches (in this case one large baguette cut into thirds) i just carefully put them back into the paper bag the bread came in, and then wrap the whole thing in a kitchen towel (to prevent drying). It also helps to put the wrapped sandwiches into an esky (Aussie slang for ‘cooler’) although this isn’t totally necessary if you’re eating them in the next 12 hours. I’m sure there are lots of other fillings that would be just as tasty with the trick being to pick something that is not messy when eating with one hand.
Oh, and i don’t use plastic wrap on opened blocks of cheese either. I just fold over the plastic packaging and then put the whole thing in an airtight container (in this case a re-used take-away/take-out container (they fit perfectly!).
Also on hand was homemade muesli slice (granola bar), which ended up in rustic looking wedges after I tried the tipping the whole thing off the tray while it was still warm… but with dried mango and choc chips it was an energy packed, delicious treat.
I even brought along homemade soda! We have a sodastream (kind of amazing that these have only recently been sold in USA), so i added apple cordial to soda water and put the delicious mix into a re-used juice bottle.
The drive home is always harder to organise for, so this was not as ecologically minded but we still managed to have a healthy picnic thanks to supplies we found at Euroa IGA (that place has everything, even vegetarian fake bacon). Bread, cheese, sugar snap peas and carrots to dip into hummus, what more could you want? (fake bacon for him, and hot salami for me, apparently). Good times!
P.S. I should have refused that plastic bag, that was a bit of a brain fart after a busy weekend.
P.P.S. Large packets of potato chips and cans of energy drink are also always on hand on such a long car ride.