With regular stop-over options on the highways does anyone pack padkos anymore?
I have happy memories of a trip that my sister, Sheldeen, and I did with our Uncle Alistair and Aunty Norah. Their son, our cousin Shaun, was competing in the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town. We all - including his brother and sister Peter and Kim - were the support team. The day before, my dad took us to the shops so we could stock up on sweets for the trip and that evening I helped my aunt make meat balls, chicken wings and other convenient, delicious, travelling nibbles. These were happy times.
I feel like going on one of those road trips again. It's a long time since time allowed such frivolous, carefree adventures - yet they are so important. And the padkos would have to fit the occasion - nothing mundane. The usual combinations don't do it for me anymore so I have a few interesting options; nothing over the top.
When I think padkos for a road trip I want hearty, food that will heat me up from the inside out, and that will help me forget about the many kilometres ahead. A flask or two filled with a robust meat-flavoured, smooth, lentil soup works for me.
Instead of the normal rusk-with-coffee option, I suggest my grandmother's jam-drop biscuits. I remember these coming hot out of the oven and the jam still bubbling in the centre. They are deliciously decadent and so simple to make. They weren't Sheldeen's favourites so I always had two helpings!
As we all do, I have gone through stages in life. As a teenager I always wanted the chicken breast - I can even remember giving my dad the crispy skin. That wouldn't happen today! I then moved onto always having a chicken thigh and drumstick - this being the tastiest and juiciest part of the chicken. More recently I have been choosing the chicken wings. I no longer eat huge amounts at one time but rather many little meals throughout the day so I consider a chicken wing the perfect savoury, crispy snack - in fact it can be an indulgent light meal. So, in my cooler bag I'll have a container filled with crispy oat-coated chicken wings with a green-herb mayonnaise. This is just perfect for any trip.
Mince balls are a favourite snacks or finger foods so I thought I'd make it proudly South African - bobotie rolls with traditional fruit blatjang came up trumps. I don't eat enough bobotie at home the slight spiciness and sweetness combines so well with a fresh green salad. (Note to self: Bobotie for dinner when next I’m off).
I enjoy any food that is slow cooked inside a paper packet - such exciting aromas burst out when the packet is opened. It's an exhilarating experience even before the tasting. Aromas that promise to help you forget you are sitting in a stuffy car include rosemary, mushrooms, roasted garlic and sundried tomatoes. This makes a healthy option to snack on.
Gooey and sticky make a tantalising treat so remember your wet wipes on this trip. My chocolate-dipped pumpkin seeds covered in loads of good-quality cocoa powder are irresistible; and they make an interesting sweet-and-savoury combination.
On your next journey, plan your packing time to allow you to cook up these recipes. Your family will feel a lot healthier - fit and ready to take on the holiday when arriving at your destination. Once again, I suggest we cast our minds back to what our grandparents did - they knew a thing or two - and encourage family involvement, just as my aunt did.
Here's to happy foodie travels - hamba kahle.
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