Solo Road Trip’s Basic Food Groups – Mama Mia!

Recognizing the importance of the food pyramid to your health and overall well being is paramount – when you’re under 30. I’m no longer under 30 (HA! HA! there are advantages). Therefore, I’ve created my own cholesterol laden, fat riddled, delicious food pyramid based on a road trip this weekend to the Italian capital of Oklahoma – Krebs (population 2,000+).  I hope my doctor doesn’t see this.

It was the first purely pleasurable road trip I’ve taken in a few months. And when I encircled my arms around the gems I’d purchased at Lovera’s Italian Grocery, this tray resulted.

SRT Basic Food Groups

Had I been asked to choose my last meal before I recently summited my first mountain (Grand Teton), these items would top the list.  I could live off this assortment for the rest of my life.  Well, I’d have to buy more of course…

And wouldn’t this delectable plethora be fun to pair with various soda pop choices from your Arcadia library of soda pop? Talk about overindulgence – yikes!

Components in the SRT food pyramid: Meat – smoked or cured or medium rare grilled over a really hot fire; Cheese – in this case, Scamorza; Grapes (yep, they’re there, in a particular form); Bread; Olives – any kind, but these blue cheese stuffed ones bottled in olive oil, are sublime; Sweets.

Meat, cheese, grapes, bread, olives, sweets – the perfect ingredients for a lovely fall picnic. No inclination for a picnic?!  That’s OKAY. These are the PERFECT ingredients for anything (please no comments about a heart attack – this is meant to be a fun post – age means we’ve learned balance, right?).

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Nougat. My first. Definitely, not my last.

Italian Salami


Cholesterol?! How DARE that word appear anywhere in this post!

Lovera's Grocery

SRT Basic Food Groups – purchased here, Lovera’s Grocery, Krebs, Oklahoma

Will Hike for Nutella-Filled Waffle Sandwich

“One waffle, please”, I croaked. Just two steps from the door to the counter, the guy running tiny Corbet’s Cabin barely looked up when I trudged in. Ruddy skin, chapped lips and wild eyes topped off by a black stocking hat, a bright orange bulky backpack and beat up hiking boots, he saw my type several times a day.

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Scott McGee, my Exum guide during the preparatory mountaineering course, recommended for the two days prior to the start of the Grand climb I take the tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, do some light hiking, take a book, and breathe the air that was noticeably absent at 10,500 feet,,, for 4 hours each day. “No one ever does what I tell them, but trust me, it’ll help when you get above 13,000 feet.”  “Oh, and, load up on carbs. It’ll be easy to do.  Corbet’s has this waffle thing.”

This climb was at the upper end of my physical abilities and I had, and would continue, to do whatever the experts suggested would help. Loading up on carbs would be the easy part.

“What topping?” the gentleman asked. He didn’t wait, “there’s Nutella, strawberry preserves, and brown sugar butter.”  Darn. Only two days but 3 toppings.  “I’ll have Nutella today. Tomorrow I’ll try the strawberry preserves.”  He turned to the blackened, blistering waffle iron behind him. I took another step, swung off the backpack and submitted onto a wooden bench.

I expected a waffle. Flat. And a plastic fork. What I got  was this brown edged, crunchy on the outside, dense but light and moist cake-like on the inside, slathered with Nutella and folded over,, waffle sandwich. The slight saltiness from the oiled crust, the mild sweetness of the soft interior, the hazelnut and chocolate sublimity of the Nutella all collided, then burst on my energy bar deadened tongue.

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Wrapped in parchment paper, its heft involuntarily lowered my arm from chest high to waist high when the hand off was made. It was hard to eat with a smile that big.

The best thing about this culinary experience? It can easily be duplicated at home. Trust me.

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Day #2. You didn’t think I was kidding, did you? One more day and I’d have gone back for the brown sugar butter. Next time.

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Photography Tip: strawberry preserves photograph better than Nutella.

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Scott, my Exum Guide. Grand Teton in the background. 

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Corbet’s Cabin

If you liked this post, some of my previous Travel & Taste Buds’ posts might be equally entertaining:

Oklahoma Fried Potatoes & Rocket Science

Scandinavian Almond Bread

Solo Road Trip’s Basic Food Groups (anything but basic)

For more delectable photographs and discussions of food around the world (and not necessarily at the top of it), check out Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.


A Library of Soda Pop

Pointed elbows and lowered hat bills greet soda pop aficionados at Arcadia Oklahoma’s POPS Soda Ranch on Route 66. While 2 glass floor-to-ceiling walls of the colorful bottles tempt you to pluck and run in order to escape the furor of the refrigerated section at the back, the library shelves are merely for perusal; the bottles are glued-down samples.

On any given day you can vie for over 500 flavors of soda pop imported from all over the world. Take one and ask for a straw on the spot, or load up the 6-pack containers for a picnic later. Or for gifts. Or to create your own soda pop library – one of my quests in life.

shelves of soda pop

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If you get inside and decide you need something for your exotic, imported soda pop to wash down, you’re in luck. The grill is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and offers nostalgic choices such as an old fashioned cheeseburger basket, grilled cheese sandwich, or a substantial chicken fried steak. Sit at the stainless steel counter for a real blast from the past.

at the counter

See those 6 packs lined up? Yep, they’re all mine.

Go at night and be greeted by the 66 foot tall pop bottle sculpture complete with a giant straw. Lit by colorful LED lights pulsing through the structure, it’s the perfect prelude to what you’ll find inside.

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the whole shabang

Located 15 miles west of the Wellston exit off the Turner Turnpike on Rt. 66, you can’t miss the small shop. A white, steel cantilevered canopy extends 100 feet over the gas tanks. It’s unsupported (by design) so there’s no need to worry about side-swiping the posts.

And you don’t have to be a soda pop aficionado to enjoy POPS. Gawkers are welcome too.

For more fun travel and taste bud ideas, check out Wanderfood Wednesdays at Wanderlust & Lipstick.

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A beautiful Oklahoma sunset provided the backdrop for my much needed 3 hour road trip this past weekend.

Join the Road Trip Revolution at the Solo Road Trip Facebook Fan Page, here.

Pops on Urbanspoon

Scandinavian Food Break!

We interrupt the broadcasts about photography for a food break. There will be a Part III of the Now, What? series, but only after a discussion about what’s been haunting my dreams of late.

For my birthday I asked to climb a mountain…  just me and a guide. I stated out-loud that I was going to climb Grand Teton. Then I made it very public by discussing it here. Grand stands at 13,770 feet and is a technical climb.  I’m scheduled to summit over a two day period sometime late August/early September, depending on weather conditions on the mountain.  By that time I will have devoted 4 months of my life to this pursuit. I’m a non-athlete. This is a big deal.

While I’ve been eating, actually more than usual to fuel my workouts, all sugar and fried foods have been deleted like a sad regret at the computer.  When Beth Whitman at Wanderlust & Lipstick asked me to guest post for her Wanderfood Wednesdays, never wanting to miss writing opportunities, I agreed. True to my penchant for self-torture, I’ve made and posted about the things I’m craving.  Like fried potatoes, szechuan green beans, and now Scandinavian Almond Bread.

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You can see why. The bread is sweet, fragrant, dense, buttery, and pulled from the refrigerator is as refreshing as a glass of lemonade on a hot, humid Oklahoma day.  What’s interesting is I didn’t know it existed until my son fell in love with Joie Sherman, a North Dakota girl of Swedish descent (and soon to be guest cast member on AMC’s Mad Men). The love affair happened even before I accidentally discovered Kansas’ Little Sweden (Lindsborg).

While Joie describes Scandinavian food to be “white and bland”, my experimentation has not confirmed that.  White, largely. Bland, sometimes. Delicious, always.

lefsa, butter, eat

Upon returning from my solo road trip to the Dakotas, I ordered a case of lefse from Freddy’s Lefse in Fargo.  Grocery stores here don’t carry such northern delicacies. Our loss.

Scandinavian refers to the food, customs, products, and peoples of the countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark.  It seems the Swedes have the market cornered on recognizable food items, but lots of familiar products are rooted in these countries.

Swedish pancakes. Swedish meatballs. Swedish rye bread. Swedish ostkaka (cheesecake). Lingonberry everything. Swedish pepparkakor (ginger cookies). The Dala horse. Spritz cookies. Glogg. Schnapps. Lutefish. Kuchen. Lefse. Almond cake. Pippi Longstocking!?

Thank you Joie for introducing me to Almond Bread!  Since I couldn’t eat the loaf I made for this post, I gave it away to my neighbors. I only have one thing to say about that — Uff Daaaaaaahhhhhh!!!

Scandinavian Almond Bread

Almond Bread Ingredients

1 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tsp almond extract, 2/3 cup milk, 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 stick melted better, Blend all with a hand mixer. Bake in a buttered & floured pan at 350 degrees for 50-60 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. It will be VERY brown on top. Cool completely in pan before attempting extraction. Very refreshing when put covered in refrigerator.

Slices of Delight

Wanderfood Wednesday

An invitation by Beth Whitman (Wanderlust and Lipstick), to guest post for her Wanderfood Wednesday series resulted in this post. On Wednesdays I’ll make a food related post mixing in the only bug NOT to be avoided — the travel one.

In the post What the H*** Did You Do To My Quail? culinary discoveries made in China are discussed (along with childish questions about digging a hole to China). Some of the discoveries were ooohhhs and ahhhhs of palatable pleasures; others were unadulterated shrieks of horror.

I was surprised to learn the ratio of noodles to rice consumed was fairly even. Once you’ve had the sublime, al dente noodles served in a fragrant broth, you’ll understand why rice has such a worthy carbohydrate competitor.

While there are many variations, the general class of noodles is called La Mien.  To see them “thrown”, a process whereby a huge chunk of the dough is twisted, pulled, whipped into the air like a circus act until the tiny strands magically separate and get tossed into a boiling pot of water with your name on it, was a highlight.

My hands-down favorite dish was boiled octopus and squid with bamboo shoots and other vegetables in a fiery sauce — Shuizhu Yu. Very Sichuan!  But octopus being not readily available here in the Great Plains, I experimented with another, slightly tamer dish — green beans.

Not your ordinary green beans that grandmother extracts from a Kerr canning jar, I wanted to risk an arrest in Customs to bring a doggie bag back to the States. The Chinese name, Ganbian Sijidou translates to Szechuan Green Beans. As far as I’m concerned, anything with Szechuan in the name and garlic in the list of ingredients is worthy of a Customs delay. Check out the recipe below.

To Die For Green Beans

Szechuan Green Beans

RECIPE: fresh green beans, garlic, peppers (of any sort or heat), more garlic, garlic salt, sichuan peppercorns, sesame oil or hot chili sesame oil (if you dare). Heat wok until VERY hot. Add  enough oil to pool a bit at the bottom. Then green beans. Stir fry until blistering but not overdone. Add the garlic, garlic salt, peppers, and peppercorns for a moment at the end. Enjoy!  The sichuan peppercorns add a certain spiciness to the dish, but they’re not really hot. They do however produce a tingling sensation that is highly unusual, and fun.  They make the dish what it is.  Here’s where you can order them.

Other unusual things ingested in China for which I’d NOT risk an arrest?  Donkey Meat – very tasty; pan-fried Lotus flower — delicious and I regret terribly not taking a photo of it as it was a pinwheel paragon; boiled Pigeon — would die to avoid, mainly because of the gray, pallid color; and skewered Lamb intestines cooked over a spit. My son and I were heros that day with the locals. We only discovered later why they were approvingly bobbing their heads.


The Grand Climb


Tammie DooleyAbout SRT... I’m a traveler, writer and photographer for whom the open road frequently summons. Adventurous solo road trips are a staple for me, and a curiosity. So I created this website to share them and inspire you to step out and give them a try. Welcome!

A soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone – Wolfgang Von Goethe

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