I've been known to pack healthy snacks for long road trips because I hate stopping for fast food. But I've never had the ingenuity to do what this woman from Washington, DC does on the go: She actually prepares hot meals in her car from the passenger seat! The way Ellen Kassoff Gray sees it, the dashboard and glove compartment can get quite hot en route so why not take advantage of that heat to "cook" healthy food. Some people think food hot off the dashboard sounds gross, but I think it's pure genius!
Of course, Ellen has some advantages over the typical road trip traveler when it comes to car picnics: She's married to a chef-restaurateur (Todd Gray of Equinox) and together the two have extensive experience coming up with creative solutions to food challenges. Additionally, Ellen spent her childhood road-tripping in a camper with her family; preparing food on the go is nothing new.
So what sorts of delicacies does Ellen make on from the confines of her car? Her specialty is a tea that brews in the sun back with the luggage for hours and is mixed with pomegranate and lemon juices and fruit slices. She also combines packets of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard, non-dairy creamer, soy sauce, and honey into a tasty dipping sauce and serves them with fresh veggies she buys at roadside farm stands and cools with the air conditioner. (No, really, I'm not making this up.)
But by far her most brilliant car recipe is glove box pie: She prepares a crust before the trip, pats it into a disposable loaf pan with fruit and jam and warms it in -- you guessed it -- the hot glove box until the ingredients sort of melt together.
If you didn't gather by now, Ellen is quite frugal and hates to waste food. But I think she's on to something and her recipes could be a viable solution for anyone looking to avoid a pit stop on the road. Before you know it, dashboard dining just might be the new trend in 'fast' food.
Have you ever "cooked" in your car?
Image via vivianeji/Flickr