LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The benefits of cooking meals in your own cab are endless. You can save money. It’s easier to eat healthier and in turn, lose weight. And with more practice, you can improve your cooking skills without even knowing it.
That was the message given to attendees of the Cooking in the Cab Summit that took place at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. earlier this year.
The Summit was fronted by two Freightliner Team Run Smart drivers, Tom Kyrk and Linda Caffee, who are passionate about cooking all their meals in their cabs.
“The idea behind it was partly in support of the cookbook that Linda and I had done in conjunction with Team Run Smart and Rolling Strong,” explained Kyrk.
“But how we kind of came up with the idea was, we realized that there’s all these different cooking groups out there on Facebook and all these different resources but there’s not a lot of communication between them. So we wanted to try to work together to try and bring some community and cohesion among all the various groups. So we came up with the idea of a summit. Just basically to exchange ideas, resources, Web sites, as well as tips and tricks.”
Kyrk said there were between 25-50 attendees at the summit and that it was informative.
Different aspects of cooking at every level were discussed and people who attended the session got to learn different ways to cook their meals.
One man brought in a sample of his fermented vegetables for all to try, while another woman explained how she can cook a full meal in less than five minutes with her pressure cooker.
“I think everyone who tasted the fermented veggies last night liked them,” Kyrk said in an interview at the show. “There wasn’t a complaint about them. We’re always learning new ways to cook in the truck and that’s most exciting part for us. We don’t pretend to know everything…and that’s what last night was about.”
Caffee said she and her husband, who have driven team for 10 years as owner/operators leased to Landstar, began cooking in the cab after they realized how expensive eating out was.
“For both of us to eat out every meal, it cost us $25 a meal,” she said. “Unless we ate fast food, which is cheaper but a lot less healthy. So eating out came out to $75 a day and that’s really expensive.”
Caffee and her husband, Bob also have special nutritional requirements, which make it harder for
them to eat at truck stops and in
“Bob and I are both gluten-free so it creates a little bit more of a challenge,” she said, adding her favourite cooking appliance is her rice cooker.
“I found I can cook a full meal in 30 minutes with my rice cooker,” she said. “I can do a meat and a steam at one time. My deal with team driving is, I don’t want to smell really strong food cooking while I’m trying to sleep and that’s why I didn’t like the crockpot. For a solo driver crockpots are great, because while they’re driving their food is cooking. But what happens for us, is while our food is cooking, one of us is trying to sleep and it’s distracting to have strong smelling food in the cab.”
Caffee said she even uses the rice cooker to wash her utensils at the end of her meals.
“It’s very convenient for me,” she said. “And it’s not expensive. You can buy a rice cooker at Walmart for $30.”
Kyrk, who has been driving professionally for almost a decade, began cooking in his cab as a way for him to shed the 50 lbs he had gained when he first began driving professionally.
“I’ve always had some interest in cooking since I was young but when I started driving I weighed what I do now – 250 lbs – and then I got up to 300 lbs and I was having a lot of trouble losing the weight and basically I started cooking actively in the truck,” he said.“And my weight starting dropping off fairly quickly, and I started feeling a lot better and saving money, which is always good.”
Kyrk said he uses a variety of different cooking equipment to make his meals, though he swears a kitchen doesn’t haven to be a pricey ordeal.
“You don’t have to have a lot of money to have a kitchen in a truck,” he said. “The most expensive thing to buy would probably be a refrigerator or a cooler. Or if you don’t have an inverter, you could get a 12-volt lunchbox. So, if you want to cook in the truck, you can do it. And that’s really what we’re trying to do – show people that it can be done and it doesn’t have to be expensive.”
The e-cookbook that Kyrk and Linda compiled, titled The Rolling Kitchen Cookbook, focuses on healthy meals that can be cooked exclusively in a truck. It is for cooks and chefs of all calibers, added Kyrk, even those who believe cooking is opening a can of vegetables and dumping them in a pot.
“The ultimate goal is to show people and drivers that you can eat healthy in the truck and save money,” Caffee said. “There’s all these different options to get healthier in your truck from opening a can, to choosing a cheese and meat wrap at the grocery store, to cooking full gourmet meals in the cab. And that’s the message we want to give to people.”
Kyrk said he expects to host a similar Summit at the Great American Truck Show. You can download the e-cookbook at www.atbsshow.com/cookbook and visit Kyrk’s blog at www.roadtestedliving.com.