I’m in the marketing biz for a high tech company and this week the whole team was on the road to put on our annual client conference.
Location? A large hotel conference and banquet facility in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City. There are a number of restaurants nearby where I could get a safe, gluten free meal, but with the requirement to be there and working from 6am until sometime in the evening, dining out was not an option. I had to rely on hotel food.
I’ve written a lot about the challenges of eating while on the road, but the gluten free dining nightmare equivalent of Saw 3D has to be dining in a large banquet facility. I have about as much faith in the safety of gluten free meals from a banquet facility as I do in Chloe Kardashian winning the Presidency in 2012. (For those of you not really into reality TV and politics, that means I’m not really all that confident.)
Given the number of times I have either gone on hunger strike out of fear, or gotten sick from restaurants, I’ve started to bring my own food when I travel. This usually puts me frighteningly close to the 50 pound luggage weight limit imposed by most airlines. Usually I bring snack foods like Glutino Pretzels and Riceworks Chips. You know, TV snacks appropriate for football games – not meal replacements. This time, with some creative inspiration from Aunt Rissy, I took one step closer to “gourmet in a suitcase” with the following:
- Hot-Kid Sesame Rice Crisps
- Hormel Pepperoni (Turkey and Beef because I felt guilty about all that fat in the beef ones. Yeah, like the turkey ones are healthy…)
- Laughing Cow Original Creamy Swiss Cheese Wedges
Besides the fact that 2 out of 3 of these items have really silly names, they were actually chosen for another reason: None require refrigeration prior to opening and one could argue that refrigeration may never be required. I think I saw some of these things in the trunk of Mad Max’s car.
The real genius in this selection is that you have everything you need for mini-sandwiches. A lot of them. The recipe is pretty simple and can be prepared in a hotel room without utensils, if you’re willing to spread the cheese with your hotel room key card.
- Two rice crisp crackers
- A boatload of pepperoni slices
- A sizable gob of creamy swiss cheese
- Eat in one bite. I found out the hard way that trying to take small bites out of the mini-cracker-sandwich generates lots of crumbs and the housekeeping staff gets cranky.
An added benefit is that these mini sandwich gems contain all four basic food groups essential to joyous living:
- Bready stuff
- Greasy meat product
- Cheese! (Did I mention I really like cheese?)
- The stuff you get to lick off your fingers when you’re done
In all seriousness, this turned out to be an awesome plan. I had them for lunch three days this week and was quite satisfied. They are tasty! And I really like that Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Cheese. I figure 4 or 5 of these are equivalent to a real sandwich, more or less. Add some rice chips on the side and I felt like a real human.
Definitely a do over!
I’d love to hear about your creative solutions for dining on the road. What ideas do you have?