It was a surprise to me when a friend told me she had added The All-American Truck Stop Cookbook to her Kindle library. It had been a treat for me to join Jim Clark and Ken Beck in writing the cookbook, originally published in 2002. We never dreamed then that technology would give new life to the fun stories and filling recipes we gathered over a decade later.
The book includes over 200 dishes you can prepare from truck stops flung far and wide. From the Arctic Circle (yes, you can park your rig at the Coldfoot Truck Stop in Alaska) to the Deep South (“Roger that coffee,” at Uncle Pete’s Truck Stop in Lebanon, Tennessee), these dishes fill drivers’ tanks and keep them between the ditches. In between recipes, there are stories from waitresses, drivers, overnight radio announcers and various truck stop characters.
There’s the waitress in Mississippi who recalled when country music legend George Jones’ bus drove off without him after stopping for fuel and food, the driver not realizing “N0-show Jones” was in the men’s room.
And then the time(s) overnight trucking radio hosts not only got requests for songs but to deliver marriage proposals over the air as eighteen-wheelers carried romantic drivers and cargo of all kinds through the night.
What about the belief held by many that the food must be good at a truck stop because there are so many trucks parked outside? Turns out that all started not because of the quality of the food but the space needed to park big rigs. Parking was first, and then the drivers demanded that the food improve.
Gathering the recipes and stories was fun for me because, as a traveling musician, I made sure to eat at truck stops while I was on the way to perform in New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama and other places. When I could meet the managers, I would ask for a recipe and a story. It was a book project that broadened my cultural horizons, as well as my waistline!
Since 1990, I have written articles for many trucking publications, including Trucker’s Connection and Tennessee Trucking News. During that time, I have observed how high-technology has become standard equipment in trucking. Now, thanks to Kindle, it’s keeping our stories and recipes on the road, as well.
Ten-four, good buddies and here’s a sample for you from Uncle Pete’s Truck Stop. Enjoy!Uncle Pete’s Barbecued Catfish 4 cups barbecue sauce 1 tablespoon lemon pepper 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning 1 scant teaspoon garlic powder 12 catfish filets In a bowl, mix the sauce and seasonings well. In a gallon-sized sealable, plastic food bag, marinate three 5-ounce catfish to 1 cup of sauce. Grill. And don’t forget to tip your waitress.
View & download The All-American Truck Stop Cookbook Kindle edition here.
Learn More about Les at www.leskerr.com
Text and photos copyright 2013.