Jackson Browne, Before the Deluge, “Let the music keep our spirits high.”
When I began this blog, my intention was twofold: to let our families know where we were and to explore my personal world of food. The first reason still holds true, the second seems to have petered out. Take our recent road trip across the country—the only food we ate worth mentioning was prepared in home kitchens. I may loose my rating on Chowhound for this revelation, but on our own and on the road, we ate in one restaurant: Cracker Barrel. Our default food strategy was to buy foot long Subways when we stopped for gas—eat half for lunch and save the other half for dinner. On busier drive days, we would make do with truck stop potato chips, rice cakes, string cheese, and Bridget’s recipe of candy corn and salted peanuts. On our last night in Missoula, Montana we found Cup ‘O Noodles in the hotel lobby “deli” and whacked it in the MW: the only goal—being not hungry. We passed on local wineries with attendant bistros, artisan bakeries, barbecue shacks, and the “Home of Throwed Rolls.” I’m weary of the search for the best of anything.
Anyways, on our last drive day we rolled through the Towne Place Suites’ automatic doors at 7:30 a.m. to dry weather but pitch black skies. Eventually night relented, seceded control to the day, and we found ourselves driving in A River Runs Through It.
What we first thought was golden autumn beauty turned out to be trees dying from a pine beetle infestation that is gradually destroying pine forests from South Dakota through Washington.
The inevitable sprinkle showed up around 10:00, the dreaded windshield wipers slapped on, and before long it was a return to the deluge. Garmin showed 375 miles to go and a 1:25 p.m. arrival time—piffle, we can do 375 miles on auto pilot. Sweetie welcomed Montana’s 80 mph speed limit, but there we were, hurtling down the mountains in the rain, passing logging trucks at 80 mph—luckily, he’s a good, skillful driver. If I’d been behind the wheel, we would still be at milepost 45.
Passing frequent “Chain Up Ahead” signs and chair-lift cables reminded us that soon fall rain would become winter snow and that icy storms were nipping at our heels.
We ran out of mountain around Cle Elum, came to a dead stop, and crept by yet another accident involving semis. Garmin’s estimated 1:25 arrival came and went, the usual Federal Way/Fife jam-up did not disappoint, and the clocks showed 3:30 by the time we parked in front of the 501. The Sweetie did not leave the house for two days.
Thanks to my family for their kind welcome, to Subway for the Roasted Chicken on Italian (hold the green peppers, cucumbers, and onions), to that gas station that showed up in the middle of nowhere when we really needed it, and mostly to The Sweetie for being an epic road warrior and getting us home in one piece.
Peanuts and candy corn
The taste of the finished dish will reflect the provenance of the ingredients and the ratio of candy corn to peanuts. My friend RA (expert on all things candy corn), recommends using this year’s corn crop, my daughter uses Costco’s tinned salted peanuts, and I would never buy candy corn packaged in a cellophane bag, sealed with a twist tie. (Look for those telling broken white kernel tips at the bottom of the sack.) The quality of candy corn bought from a bulk bin is inconsistent and should be used with reservations.
- 1 part local, farm-to-table, sustainably-grown candy corn
- 1 part Costco tinned, salted peanuts (jarred Planters can be used in an emergency)
Shake candy corn gently into an upturned palm, shake equal amount of peanuts into the same palm. Consume in one shot or pair individual pieces, as desired.
For large groups, pour 1 part candy corn into bowl, add equal amount of peanuts, stir to mix, and serve.