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2 Meals for 13 hour train trip

I'm looking for inspiration and coming up very dry on ideas, and I'm offering this as a bit of a challenge to you folks out there. :) I'll also be searching for other ideas here, just wanted to get this post up sooner rather than later. :)

We're going on a trip to DC on the Vermonter. It's a 13 hour trip. I'd prefer not to eat out of the lunch car if I can avoid it. :) We don't need snack ideas, I have plenty of those. What I'm looking for are thoughts on an actual meal that we could bring along (lunch and dinner). Something more satisfying than we'll find hours of snacks to be. We will have time to eat breakfast before we leave, so at least we'll have that under our belts.

There are no facilities available. No microwave. No fridge. I -could- bring a cooler with a cold pack, but we're going to be gone for a week, so I'd prefer to reduce how much I'm taking with us, rather than increase it. I'd like to avoid things that need to be kept cool. There might be an opportunity to get hot water in the dinette, but I can't count on it. I am willing to make things ahead of time and one can assume I have a well-stocked kitchen and I can stop at the store to pick up things I might not have to hand. I'd also like to avoid things that might be easily crushed (like crackers).

No fish. Cured meats would be OK, but might be too salty to each much of, I'm open to ideas on this but I don't have much by way of a decent deli to work with here. No soups, my husband just doesn't like soup (and this is not the time to argue with him :), and I'd rather not have to deal with a thermos on the trip anyway. We prefer proteins as the fruit we'll probably bring will likely have plenty of carbs. No alcohol at all, we don't drink.

Sandwiches come to mind, but again, we have limitations. We'd prefer things that weren't going to get soggy and that don't need to be kept cold. Peanut butter and jelly, of course, is a possibility, though my husband generally finds that to be an unsatisfying meal (though, he may have to just deal with that). I was thinking hard boiled eggs, since they can go the day without being refrigerated, but I didn't get much beyond that.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you can suggest. :)

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  1. Sandwiches would be my choice. Put mayo, whatever in separate little containers and add to the sandwiches when you're ready to eat. Mayo does NOT need to be kept cool. I've taken leftover steak, cheese, hard rolls, pate', pickles, crackers. You can do small bags of chips and pretzels, cookies. If you want lettuce on your sandwich, again just pack separately. Tuna, ham or something salad. As you mentioned, boiled eggs. Raw vegetables. Really, it's just two meals. No one will pass out with the above choices. No cooler necessary.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Yeah, I know. Just my husband doesn't really like sandwiches that much (doesn't like ham, doesn't care for cold cuts, and has a thing about gristle grossing him out, so roast beef can be risky). No one will pass out but if I can make it nice, I'd like to. It's going to be our us-i-versary. 21 years ago on Saturday we met face to face for the first time. :) I'm thinking we might splurge on some nice italian cured meats, he likes those, but sometimes he gets burnt out on them. Though it's been a while since we've had any, he might be fine with something like some good quality hard salami. Raw veggies is a must, I'll eat those. :) Love raw carrots :)

      1. re: Morganna

        So go to the deli and get the expensive rare roast beef, great cheeses, rolls, etc. I consider that a "special meal" for us at home and when traveling. Good olives and pickles (I love TJs cornichons). Splurging a little makes this an even easier thing.

        1. re: c oliver

          Yeah, that's a good idea. Shame there's no TJ's around here. :) We'll go to the local food coop, though. They have some nice cured meats, too. :) I'll make the sausage pie with some yummy italian cheeses, instead of the usual plain ole mozz. :) Thanks folks!

    2. Will you have a e=room or are you sitting the whole trip? Any heat-generating travel gear such as a travel iron? Do you like cheese? Do you object to disposable containers?

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        We'll be sitting the whole trip. I've been on this trip to NYC before, and it wasn't massively crowded, but there's just not a lot of surfaces around. I usually don't use disposable containers, and we will be making this trip back home, so we could reuse things (I should mention that our hotel also has a kitchen, so I can wash things out and reuse them for the trip home).

        We love cheese but are mildly lactose intolerant (so we usually take lactaid). We don't own any heat generating travel gear at all. :)

        1. re: Morganna

          I am with another poster who asked what you do like to eat regularily and we could work with that.

          As another poster mentioned, cold drinks can be use to cool all the food. You can freeze juice boxes or juices in plastic bottles which would keep everthing cold and still provide a cool refreshing drink later on.

          Fried chicken is something that works well as travel food. Meat loaf would work well too. McDonald's one had salad shakers which were green salad in plastic cups. Markets sell those insulated cups with lids so you could use that for a green salad or oil-based salad.

          1. re: rworange

            Meatloaf sandwich and a salad with a sharp vinaigrette. Just pack all components separately.

      2. There are also wide-mouthed, small thermoses that you could put chili or stew in and each person could eat directly from. This is really easier than a long day in the car when you're not stopping at a restaurant.

        1. Consider a torta or strata filled with your favorite goodies. A bag of washed greens and veggies. Pack croutons separately. Make a vinaigrette in a small glass spice jar, shake before using and pour over the greens. Close the bag and shake. Perfectly dressed salad.

          For sandwiches, I pack the components separately and assemble just before eating. I hate soggy bread. Perhaps a smoked turkey, brie, tomato and spouts sandwich on a nice crusty bread?

          2 Replies
          1. re: smtucker

            Similar to the strata idea, quiche or frittata; if you're concerned about refrigeration, have this one for lunch and something else for dinner.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Quiche is PERFECT. His eyes lit up. :) And I just realized, he actually likes bologna! :) So *I* can get -real- cold cuts, and HE can have bologna! That'll make sammiches easy enough.

              Sweet, so quiche (we call it sausage pie and make it with hot italian sausage and various cheeses) and cold cuts for sammiches.

              Y'all rock, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know it can be a pain trying to help out someone who is so picky about things. :)

          2. What types of foods do you and your husband like? I LOVE road trips and have done many kinds of spreads. Lack of a cooler is not a problem as you can use your drinks for ice packs, even alcohol. Bento boxes are my favorite but my husband prefers antipasti. We will both happily nosh on granola bars and water if we get to go somewhere, but for a special occasion like yours I'd think about converting some favorite or sentimental flavors and try to present it nicely or again sentimentally. So what do you both like and/or what holds the memories?