two for the road


our first date was over a white clam pizza at pepe's pizzeria on wooster square in new haven, connecticut, and it was instantly apparent as we gazed into each other's eyes across the thin-crusted neapolitan pie, speckled with tiny tender clams and frosted with olive oil, that we shared a passion for garlic. our initial lust for each other was fueled by an orgy of lobster rolls, split hot dogs, yankee doodle double dandy doodle burger cheeseburgers, calzones, and cannolis (sterns 1).


traveling with other people is tricky.

i don't recommend it.

no, that's not quite true. i don't recommend traveling with people you don't like. or who you don't know well. or who's music you hate. or quite a lot of other things.

after several disastrous group trips, i absolutely refuse to travel with tour groups, classes, or any random grouping of people of that ilk.

there are about five people i can think of off the top of my head that i'd be happy to spend a week motoring across the county with in car with broken air conditioning or a cd player that skips (there's always something when you travel), but i'm not going to name names because undoubtedly someone would be Greatly Offended that they hadn't made that dubious short list.

welcome to today's pairing, two for the road.

jane and michael stern are well-known food writers with about thirty books to their names, as well as gourmet and two james beard awards on their résumés. reading two for the road, it's easy to understand their acclaim. the sterns approach food and food writing with a deep love, understanding, and humor that transcends the typical mush food readers are served. it's refreshing.

two for the road is the follow-up, tell-all to the sterns' well-know and occasionally revised book, roadfood. being the smart reader that i am, i didn't bother to read roadfood before cracking open two for the road. the truth is, though, i didn't need to.

while roadfood is essentially a tour guide to local eateries and dining stops of note throughout the u.s., two for the road is the story of the sterns themselves: how they got started, why they do what they do, and how they go about doing it. from coping with run-down, finicky cars to eating twelve meals a day to escaping a crazed chef, the sterns roll on with unflagging enthusiasm and good humor.



food and drink:

this book covers a lot of ground when it comes to foods. and while just about everything sounds ridiculously good, a lot of the foods mentioned also sounds pretty messy. so, to keep your book intact while reading, i'd suggest sticking with an (authentic) sweet iced tea (see page 140) and something sweet, like the intriguing beet cake (listed on page 62) or the fried dough with maple butter (page 204).



clearly, two for the road is meant to be paired with roadfood. but if you're looking something else to go with those, food: a taste of the road might quench that thirst.



if all else fails — amazon takes too long to deliver food: a taste of the road, the sweet tea still needs to steep, etc. — you can always checkout the website, which is clearly based off of its namesake and hosts an ever-growing road food enthusiast community.

my mother also suggests watching julie & julia, as she thinks it's a lot of fun and embraces the same enthusiasm as the sterns. i have mixed feelings on that one, so i'll just be quiet now.