Travel Food: Fresh Food On the Go

Travel Food: Fresh Food On the Go

Travel Food:  Memories of long journeys

Travel Food. When I look back upon our childhood, travel and food always went together. Back then, travel was fun and long train journeys even more so. I recall that the seats in the train were just wooden planks, the windows were open, and come rain or sunshine – it didn’t matter. Mind you – these were “reserved” train compartments, although, minus any of the frills of the modern train journey. The journey was as basic as a train journey can be. The lack of frills, though, never bothered us because we were thoroughly enjoying the train journey. I distinctly remember not seeing too many snack vendors aboard the train. Once all of us were exhausted from the games and fun, we would look forward to the food that we brought along.

The Joys of Slow Train Travel

I remember, as children,  we loved travelling by “passenger” trains – the ones that stopped at every station on the way. Just the thought of looking at each station, reading the station names, getting down and adventurously getting back into the train, was a huge joy for us. Those were days, I guess, when we cherished leisure and were not in a tearing hurry to reach our destination.

Sumptuous Food on the train

Long train journeys always meant games, singing and of course, great food cooked by Amma. Remember, that these were also the days when there was no food available at the stations, except small eats– so home cooked and packed food was pretty much the menu for all the meals consumed on board a train. Savouries formed the small eats – munchies really, and Amma used to make a whole array of them. I still wonder where she got all the energy from, to make all these in the heat and dust of the kitchen, unfailingly before all long journeys. I wistfully compare this today’s fast food times, when everything is cooked in a jiffy. Times have changed, and how!

Travel Food for Long Journeys Today

My food memories of those train travels, is not about these sweetmeats though. It was about the main course. Remember, we had virtually three meals or more aboard the train. Every time, Amma used to bring food that would stay fresh and delicious all through the journey.  Back then, I didn’t know her hacks for keeping food fresh. Years later, I realized how she managed that.

In fact, those food hacks are valid even for the fast-paced lives of today – especially if you are the home-cooked food enthusiast. If you are traveling on a budget airline that doesn’t serve complimentary meal on board, you will have to buy the sandwiches and other packaged food. Now if you were to carry these foods with you, it would be a treat of a different kind altogether. What are these foods? Read on.

Amma’s Tasty Food Secrets

We knew that Amma was a great cook. But it was not till years later, that I realized the tricks of her cooking that served us sumptuous food on our train journeys. Let me share the secret with you today. My maternal grandmother, Paati was also a very inventive cook, and  also helped my Thatha (grandfather) run a small catering business which incidentally, was a railway canteen.   

Reinventing the Idli as Travel Food

I am sure that Paati must have had part in making Amma the cook that she was. As mentioned, Amma always made sure that the packed food was tasty, and did not be spoilt for two days at least, or possibly more. Idlis, as always, were her  first choice. But the classic accompaniments to idlis – the Sambhar and the coconut chutney – were likely to turn sour in heat, and would not pass the train endurance test.  Added to this, the idlis themselves can become dry and caky over time.

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