Road trip snack hacks: what to — and not to — pack as padkos
This includes some clever kid-friendly ideas
Whether padkos is an essential part of your holiday tradition, or you’d like to steer clear of crowded restaurants at petrol stations this Covid-tinged December, here are some ideas of what foods to pack as you hit the road.
WHAT TO AND NOT TO PACK
Think wholesomeness when planning your menu: you want foods that’ll keep everyone feeling full and happy.
Proteins are a good choice in this regard: biltong, droëwors, roasted chicken portions, sausages, meat balls or falafel, and pieces of cheese. (Remember to pack serviettes or a roll of paper towel and wet wipes for the resulting greasy fingers.)
Aim for a variety of tastes and textures (soft and crunchy) to keep everyone’s interests piqued. Fresh veggies and hummus are a good example and, as an added bonus, crunching carrot sticks is also said to help ease tension.
Make everyone their own travel-friendly version of this snack by spooning some dip into the bottom of jars with a screw-top lids before topping with a selection of crudités.
Avoid sugar rushes by steering clear of too many sweet things. Leave the chocolates behind as they melt and are messy. Less-messy options include jelly sweets and mini marshmallows.
Foods whose scents will linger in the car (like tuna mayo sarmies and boiled eggs) should also be off the menu.
Don’t forget a chopping board (great for serving/slicing), a small sharp knife and a large bag to collect your litter along the way.
Sarmies are the go-to food on the move. Ring the changes from standard white sandwich loaf and pick pita or flatbreads which you can stuff or roll up with different fillings. Cut French loaf or ciabatta into chucks, fill, wrap up in greaseproof paper and tie with raffia for an Instagram-worthy touch.
Chef/master baker Stuart McClarty of The Underground Bakery loves a road trip and his always involve something good to eat. One of his favourite sandwiches to pack is that old crowd-pleaser, toasted cheese and tomato, which he makes with mature cheddar and says is delicious eaten hot or cold.
McClarty is also a fan of another classic, coronation chicken, which he serves with lettuce and parsley on butternut ciabatta. He gives chicken mayo a gourmet touch by making it with smoked chicken and serving it rolled up in a wrap with cos lettuce, spring onion and roasted peppers.
SHARING ISN’T ALWAYS CARING
This is especially true when it comes to siblings in the back seat of a hot car on a long road trip. Avoid potential squabbles by passing around individually packaged foods.
Many mommy bloggers suggest creating a dedicated snack pack for each child using cheap plastic craft boxes with lots of little compartments.
Each section can then be filled with a different type of snack — think homemade popcorn, dried fruit, small savoury crackers, sliced fresh fruit and veggies, dry chocolate cereal, nuts and the odd sweet treat.
Remember it’s midsummer and will probably be very hot. Pack the food into a cooler box/bag along with ice bricks you take from the freezer just before leaving.
Another clever idea is to create frozen drinks that’ll double as ice blocks in your cooler bag and be enjoyed icy-cold by your car companions once partially melted.
Recycle individual bottled water bottles, wash them well and fill with fresh water and lemon, fruit juice, or homemade iced tea, before freezing overnight. You can even make your own iced coffee by freezing a shot of espresso mixed with milk/milk substitute and sweetened to taste. Caution: don’t fill the bottles more than three quarters full as liquid expands when it freezes.
Some fresh fruits like grapes and blueberries are great frozen too; they taste like sweet icicles and are sure to be a hit with the kids.
• Additional reporting by Toni Jaye Singer.