A-Z Wednesday reading challenge seems to be flying towards the end of the alphabet; we're already up to T. It just so happens one of my favourite books begins with this letter: Two for the Road, written by the husband-and-wife team of Jane and Michael Stern.
I love this book. You will too, if you're at all a fan of road trips or even travelling in general. And eating. The catch? You have to be willing to forego the chain restaurants and try the local fare. When the captain and I travel, this is something we always do. If you also do that -- or you haven't but you'd like to -- then please read this book. It'll make you want to hit the road, pronto.
Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say about this gem: The authors of Roadfood are crazy for American local food, that often informal, inexpensive cuisine that's not especially healthy but sure is tasty. The husband-and-wife team has traveled the country since the 1970s, seeking out the sort of food found in "unlikely restaurants in small towns and off two-lane highways," which, naturally, leads to all manner of fish-out-of-water scenarios, which they relate in this endearing chronicle. The Sterns' adventures are funny, if not quite perilous; the car breaks down in Enigma, Ga.; six jugs of iced tea bought at a South Carolina restaurant leak all over the car's floor, which the Sterns don't realize until days later, when they're nearing the Mojave Desert and could really use a refreshment. Their enthusiasm is inspiring; they regularly consume 100 meals in 10 days or less, but that only makes them more passionate for road food. Their descriptions of their grail are the book's highlights: baby back ribs at Carson's, in Skokie, Ill., for instance, are "sensuously sticky with a baked-on sauce that [is] striated red-gold as if it had been painted by an artist of the Hudson River School"; caramel rolls at North Dakota's Havana Cafe are "light and fluffy, swirled with veins of caramel frosting."
And here's a small excerpt:
"Long before GPS and Mapquest, getting lost was our lifestyle. As we drove through the east Tennessee hills on a road that twisted into a realm of primitive otherworldliness, we felt like strangers in a strange land. Through a tunnel of trees, we passed preplumbing log homes with dilapidated La-Z-Boy recliners on their front porches for the residents' relaxation. As foreign as it seemed, it wasn't scary, for every porch-sitter we drove by waved hello as if the passing of a car were a happy event."
This is one of the few books I've read more than twice. The Sterns are so crazy about what they do and they tell their tales of the road with such passion and enthusiasm, it's contagious. I highly recommend this book and I also suggest you check out the Roadfood web site. Happy travelling and happy eating!