Cooking on the road

In the olden days of camping out or in general traveling, there were limited options for cooking on the road. You might pack some lunch meat and sandwich fixings in a cooler. If at a camp site you might pull out a charcoal grill or cook over a camp fire. But if doing a long trip to get to somewhere there were few options beyond stopping at a restaurant or road side diner.

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Following World War II and the development of the Interstate Highway System, it became easier and faster to make long distance trips efficiently. However with the easier long distance travel available, people simply used the same amount of time to explore farther and farther out, not just get to closer places faster.

As small campers started to be come cheaply and readily available, so did the cooking options. Many campers came with small ranges and even ovens. As microwaves got smaller, more efficient and cheaper, they too entered the complement of options available.

Now there are numerous 12V DC, plug into the cigarette lighter options available. In the early 2000s I was driving a truck and the first of the warmer/cooler combo units came out and prices dropped under $100.00. I purchased one, even though most of my deliveries were day runs and I was home at night. It still made it more convenient to put a cold cut sandwich and a soda in the cooler and have it stay cool then deal with ice. The warmer side did not really cook, but it could keep soups/stews and the like to a suitable temperature until lunch time.

I detail the 12V options on another page. There you can learn about actual slow cooker/crockpots, skillets and frying pans, coffee makers and water heaters and other travel convenience. Many of these can even be used in cars and SUVs. For example, if you have a 4 or 5 hour drive somewhere, you could actually cook a dish in the slow cooker while you drive as opposed to cooking it at home and then having to reheat it on arrival.

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Courtesy S. Ward – Barrett Jackson Auto Show