Road Foodie

Some people drive simply to arrive.

Another Route, Not My Own

Posted By on December 27, 2008

Nancy doesn't mind having me in her kitchen, bless her heart.

Nancy doesn't mind having me in her kitchen, bless her heart.

12.26: Toledo to St Louis: 500 miles. Three states: Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri.

Dog-owners will recognize this scene: The car is just about packed and we are saying fond goodbyes and thank-you’s to C’s sister Nancy and her husband Charlie, who have been our kind and generous hosts for 3 ½ days of holiday conviviality. They’ve tolerated our luggage-laden, wine-quaffing, dog-centric stay in their immaculate new home with grace (even though having me in the kitchen for a big dinner or three is, according to many of my friends and relatives, not always the piece of cake one might imagine). On cue, Stella barfs. A lot. All over Nancy’s brand new cork floor. There follows a slight delay.

I like Toledo. They have lots of toys and a nice carpet here. - Stella

I like Toledo. They have lots of toys and a nice carpet here. - Stella

There is much to be thankful for. On Christmas day, we roasted a great deal of pork tenderloin (which had been brined for 48 hours) on lots of butter-and-rosemary-tossed apples, and served it with my famous (people-have-bribed-me-for) green sauce—actually an Italian salsa verde, heavy on the garlic, light on the anchovies. To cook in the middle of a roadtrip is rare; to cook with family not my own—but quickly starting to feel like my own—is a precious gift. The assembly has apparently never savored the glories of brining, having had a less-than-stellar experience with a brined turkey (I suspect it was not adequately dried off before roasting). The meat is juicy and flavorful—as supermarket pork can never be without brining—and a resounding success. I impart nuggets of roasting know-how to Nancy, who, rather than wishing she could snap her fingers and have my rather particular self vanish from her kitchen, seems quite appreciative.

The road is not very welcoming this morning, so I will briefly refrain from stating that it’s my middle name. Between Sylvania and the southern outskirts of Toledo we pass 7 emergency vehicle-attended accidents. The last one takes us 45 minutes to drive past; when we see why, it seems clear that at least one life was lost in the cinder-crusted hulk off of the right shoulder. It’s going to be a very long day: evidently, there will be rain and heavy fog all the way. This is scary stuff, and for the 8th time we agree never to take such a northern route again. Not as soon as I’d like, we hit I-70 and head west. In seven recent cross-country trips, I’ve never set tire on I-70. (As any dedicated driver knows, all the “0” roads run east and west, while all the “5” roads run north and south. Of the e-w group, the first number gets smaller as you go south, thus I-10 is the southernmost east-west road, and my own favorite. But it’s way too way south for this trip I we expect to make Malibu by the afternoon of New Years’ Eve—and we’d better, because I’m cooking dinner for eight.

A stop along the misty way.

A stop along the misty way.


When C begins driving, 4 hours and only 150 miles into The Longest Day, we start listening to Carrie Fisher’s latest book “Wishful Drinking.” It’s a little too faux-dissembling, a bit too “isn’t my screwed-up life just so cute” for me, especially as I used to play with Carrie and her brother Todd when I was a Hollywood kid myself. I somehow managed to grow up without multiple drug addictions and electro-shock therapy. Well, sort of (and there were those two extra husbands, before I met third-and-final). Ooops—now I’m doing it too.

Comments

Leave a Reply