May 21 2009 by Chris McGinnis
If I were not a travel writer, I'd be a food writer. My gastronomic passion is wide ranging...I'm fascinated at how eating at airports has evolved in recent years. I even frequently arrive early just to see what's on the menu. In-flight fare has never bothered me all that much and I enjoy the break from the monotony of a long flight.
I'm an arbiter of taste when it comes to the hotel breakfast buffet. I'm happy to know that May is National Hamburger month. I love judging the quality of the "krinkle kut" French fries and homemade pies at a roadside diner as much as the foie gras at the latest, greatest bistro in New York or Paris.
All of that brings me to this question: What are the best foods for business travelers? I've got some ideas, but would like to hear yours, too. Please post your favorites or comments below!
HANDLES: In the era of swine flu, clean hands are of utmost importance. But when you're in transit, touching escalator handrails, doorknobs, gas pump nozzles, pens, seat backs or dirty luggage, hands get filthy. And there's not always a bottle of Purelle or a sink nearby. For that reason, I'm a big fan of food with handles when I'm on the go. Corn dogs, grilled meat skewers, frozen fruit bars, those ubiquitous and yummy Dove ice cream bars. A long, thin baguette sandwich that I can wrap in a napkin also works well. All these foods with handles serve business travelers well when one hand is holding a suitcase or briefcase, and there's only one hand free to eat with.
CUPS. From a hygienic standpoint, a meal in a cup is another good idea. I can devour a nice cup of warm soup or chili held in one hand while the other hand is on the steering wheel or roller bag. It's great when you find a cup of freshly-cut fruit to toss back. I love those McSalad Shakers that McDonalds has ingeniously packaged in clear plastic cups that can be eaten with single hand (and fit in the car cup holder).
COMFORT. I'm always game for a fine dining experience but when I'm on a long trip, I really appreciate comfort foods. A sign that says "fresh homemade pie" will nearly always prompt me to pull over. If there's a homemade soup on the menu at a roadside truck stop, I'll grab it. (I'm particularly partial to the Country Market & Cookery diners at Flying J Truckstops along interstates.) I'll nearly always jump for a quick cup of "chowdah" at Boston-Logan airport. When I'm changing planes at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, I make it a point to grab a cup full of fried okra, a fried chicken drumstick (it's got a handle!) and a sweet tea at Paschal's, which has been serving comfort foods to Atlantans for at least 50 years.
So road warriors, what are YOUR favorite road foods?