Home > Cuisine by Brian Schropp > A Trucker’s Food Challenge

A Trucker’s Food Challenge

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp, Senior Cuisine Writer

BRIAN SCHROPP ON CUISINE

So there I was enjoying another endless summer day at the ‘Deep Northern Suburban Lankville Trucker’s Pool and Spa Association’. At some point earlier in the season someone found a water hose (which I guess was used for washing big rigs) and has been regularly keeping the pool and all the various kiddie pools filled with cool crisp hose water. It’s not only the water I enjoy but also talking with the truckers and hearing their road stories. Sure, when a large group of them get a little drunk they will force me to wear an adult diaper and I have to strut around and cluck like a chicken while they throw bottle caps at me for their amusement but I try not to take it too personally. Trucker Joe says that’s just the wild humorous nature of a Lankville trucker which makes them so special and it should actually be taken as a high honor. He says most ‘norms’ (non-truckers) are usually not allowed inside at all and the few that are don’t live to talk about it. The spa can look like a rough and harsh place to us on the outside but I find it actually be a warm and loving place to those they accept (as long as they don’t drink too much).

Anyway, Trucker Joe and I were sitting at the poolside basking in the sun and getting our ‘drink on’ from the bar (Joe, a nice bottle of a local brew ‘Scrub’s Delight’ and myself a nice tall glass of strawberry milk). After awhile various truckers began to set up folding tables near the pool area. At first I thought nothing of it but became curious when tablecloths were being placed on them.

​Trucker's families love to cram into a nice small kiddie pool.

​Trucker’s families love to cram into a nice small kiddie pool.

“Say Joe, what’s going on? Is there going to be another ‘Trucker’s Fest’?”

A couple times during the summer they throw these all night parties by the pool. If this was the case I was going to make a quick exit, I would soon be clucking the night away.

Joe shook his head. “Oh no Bri, today is actually a special day for us members of the spa. You know how the norms have their own ‘Lankville Food Challenge’? Well, we truckers do our own! We figure if the outsiders think they’re good enough to crisp some bacon or open a can of Lankville Sausages then so can we. I didn’t want to tell you so it would a surprise.”

I was absolutely delighted!! I had heard tales of ‘trucker cuisine’ but never had the pleasure of trying it. I started to ask him about the rules and the judging of the event since the normal food challenge is a complicated affair.

“Nothing that advanced. We usually just set everything out and people decide which one is the best. The winner gets a 25% discount coupon for ‘Sweet Georgie’s Big Rig Wash’.”

“Are you going to enter something?”

Trucker Joe gave me his goofy grin. “Oh you bet thee, I’ve come close to winning a few times but always lose out. This year I think I have it.” He looked around to make sure no one was listening “Follow me, you can help me get it ready!”

Not only was I going to be sampling a sub-genre of food I had never tried but now I would be helping one of my closest friends in their own culinary endeavors. My imagination went wild on what possible delights Joe could have envisioned. Would it be anywhere near my recent brilliant brainstorm ‘Deep Northern Meat Bits Dinner Loaf Topped With Sweet Southern Lankville BBQ in A Green And Yellow Butter Sauce’? We went into one of the side buildings and he pulled out a cooler with his name on it from under a table. Again he looked around to make sure no one was about.

“I got this really good ham and swiss cheese at an ‘off the back of a truck’ discount. I know that sounds bad but it’s pretty good quality, I think the stuff never hit the road. Now what’s really going to win it for me is this fancy bread with black seedy things from ‘Foodville’. The bread is so soft and delicious, truckers never had bread this fancy before. I mean it, they have no concept that there is even a thing as fancy bread. I can tell you that their worlds will be rocked. Come on and help me make a few.”

​Could a simple ham and swiss sandwich win?

​Could a simple ham and swiss sandwich win?

It took me a moment to process that this was actually going to be his entry. “Joe, all you have is a ham and cheese sandwich. Everybody has had that before.”

“You’re not listening to me, it’s the bread that’s going to win it for me. It’s a fancy bread with black seedy things.” He paused giving me his ‘you must be the dumbest person in Lankville’ look.

“Well the bread is from ‘Foodville’– it can’t be that good. Anyways it looks like someone has already taken a bite out of most of these buns, did you get these at a discount to?” I wouldn’t put it past a ‘manager’ like Hank Cameron to peddle shifty bread.

Joe ignored my question and went on about his ‘culinary achievement’. He began to cut the ham and swiss out of the area where the Foodville bread was ‘damaged’– now it looked like somebody had taken a bite out of the whole thing. I began to question him if he really thought this idea was going to work especially when he mentioned there were going to be no condiments on the bread as well.

He waved me off. “You gotta trust me, I know what I’m doing.”

I left Joe to go out and try some of the other offerings. I really hoped he wouldn’t make too much of a fool of himself.

Most of the other truckers had their entries set up and ready to be judged. Being a ‘norm’ but a somewhat respected foodie, I was allowed to sample small portions. A big selection of the items were baked bean themed and among those a large percent were just open baked bean cans with stuff thrown in. I learned that most truckers don’t have time to prepare full meals while hauling freight over Lankville’s interstates and highways. They are just looking for good, simple but flavorful food. I felt proud to learn a new aspect of ‘trucker culture’ I didn’t know.

While pondering this Joe made his grand entrance. “Behold! A new kind of sandwich the likes of which you have never feasted on before!!” He came out holding two paper plates while the spa dogs danced around him (he is known in the trucker circles as a bit of a ‘drama queen’).

The crowd ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ as the plates were placed on the table. A few were afraid to try the sandwiches at first because of the black seedy things. Once they had a bite though their eyes glazed over in ecstasy. That was all it took, everyone wanted to try some. I had to help Joe make some more since the demand was so high.

“What type of bread is this?” one trucker asked.

Trucker Joe

Trucker Joe

“A fancy bread,” Joe replied.

“I didn’t know there were any other kinds expect ‘Lankville White’. Did you put the black seedy things on?”

“Nope, they came like that.”

“Amazing!!”

“Is this ham and swiss from that deli tractor trailer accident the other week?” another inquired.

“Yup”.

“Good choice. I heard the stuff never hit the road.”

It struck me that their food challenge didn’t need to be complicated or filled with any type of ‘advanced flavor profiles’. Trucker Joe actually did know what the people wanted and how to win. So kudos to him for easily winning that coupon to wash his big rig. He held the extra large coupon in the air while the music started to play from the spa speakers and a full-fledged party began. I got so caught up in Joe winning and thinking about the trucker culture I didn’t hear the chant of ‘cluck’,’cluck’,cluck’. It was too late and I found myself in the clutches of two extra strong trucker women who stripped me and threw a diaper on. I found myself clucking for the afternoon but if that was the cost for hanging around such fine folk then so be it.

Until next time dear readers, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri

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