While cooking in big trucks is certainly not a new concept, it is one that is gaining popularity. There are any number of reasons for the growing interest for cooking while over the road. Perhaps it has something to do with the growing number of couples teaming together. Or maybe it is the large impact social media plays in sharing our day to day lives and what can be accomplished with the cooking tools of the trade available to truckers. Or it could be because the cost of living prices continue to rise, industry regulations continue to create shortages in freight and driver pay, and more drivers are becoming health conscious. Who ever you ask, you will probably get an answer that is some combination of all of the above.
Because of these reasons, and many more, the first ever Cooking in the Truck Summit was held at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Despite the freezing temperatures and yes, even a few snow flurries, the summit brought in close to 50 people to the Freightliner Hospitality Trailer.
It was an open-invitation, round-table type meeting with several schools of thought being shared. The idea was to let people know there are people out there utilizing their home-away-from-home for more than just racking up miles over the highway. Truckers are cooking in their trucks using methods to include traditional meal prep, pressure cooking, canning, and even fermenting. Facebook and website groups were shared which contain recipes, how to’s, and cooking appliance information.
Coming away from the summit a few things were quite clear. While truck stop restaurants are a nice convenience, and as an occasional treat, truckers are starting to move towards a healthier diet and lifestyle as a whole. Some truck stops like TA and Petro Stopping Centers, whose representatives were also at the summit, are adding healthier options to their menus.
However, with gluten-free, low-carb, no-carb, high-protein, low-sugar, vegan, vegetarian, nutritarian, and many others, it is virtual impossible to meet the dietary restrictions of everyone out there. We do appreciate the truck stops that are trying to work with truckers by offering different menu items. Still, many of us are turning to ways to save money and eat healthier in our trucks. Also, we want to spread the word to other truckers who may not have discovered how easy it is to cook simple meals with easy to purchase 12 volt appliances; even company drivers can use these. Lastly, getting product creators and truck manufacturers on-board for future designs is a must for better storage, power, and appliance solutions.
Overall, I think the summit was a great success. There is always room for improvement and there are already ideas being discussed for a summit at GATS in Texas this summer, we hope to see you there and hear your ideas!