With over 300,000 lorry drivers in the UK, the chances are that a significant amount are participating in long haulage. But, it’s not just crossing borders on land but culinary crossroads that cause a foodie dilemma in Trucker Tucker.
The most important priority for any trucker is good grub. When you are faced with a lack of home comforts on a regular basis, something as simple as a warm and tasty treat can put a smile on your face and lift your spirits. And it just so happens that the team at Tasty Bites are experts in this field with their ‘Fresh Food, not Fast Food’ ethos.
So this month, we took a step back from the kitchen and got into the cab to find out exactly what drivers are eating.
PJM Lorry Park newbie and long haul trucker, Emma Hannon, was our Trucker Tucker insider into driver eating habits. Hailing from Southern Ireland, Emma does the Dublin to Coventry run for Spillane Bros International Transport and whilst she was on her regular stop at Tasty Bites, she gave insight to being on the road.
Speaking about the differences between Ireland and the UK, she said: “Irish truckstops are now very commercialised and are suitable for cars, trucks and coaches – they’re top of the range. The truck stops in the UK are on a much bigger scale, but when you see the volume of trucks travelling the roads you can understand why there is a need for such large facilities.”
Some of Emma’s travels still take her through villages and it’s at the local shops – home to handcrafted tarts and specials – that attract Emma and drivers alike. After being on the road, it’s the hankering for a personal touch, which makes traveling the roads interesting. Floodlighting the motorway, the big brands provide a great beacon of food to tempt the palate on every alternative stop on the motorway, but stripped of a homemade touch, this leaves many a driver nibbling on fast food or a pre packed diet.
There’s also the expense to think about, as Emma explains: “Even I find coffee is an expensive product these days and I don’t drink it! My husband does and can spend €3.50 to €4 on a cup!”
Away from driving, Emma does the Irish sport of Camogie – a female version of hurling – though at Tasty Bites we’ve yet to see this in action (maybe she can hurl Pete back into the kitchen instead of letting the toast burn). Clearly active, she explained that she found it difficult to eat correctly on the road.
“The way I look at it, if you had a petrol car you will not put diesel into it,” she said. “And, if you do it, it’s only going to run for a very short time. Don’t get me wrong, I do eat rubbish food and I would have a sneaky cake without feeling guilty for eating it but your body cannot live off those substances alone.”
Whatever road you travel on, everyone prepares for a journey. Clearly we could rock up to Emma’s cab for dinner; she stocks up so well, her food for the road is not dissimilar to opening Jamie Oliver’s fridge. With fruit and veg to nibble on and cooked shredded chicken to toss into anything she lays her hands on, she added: ” I am very conscious that I am not doing any physical activity while behind the wheel, so I do watch what I eat and I find eating the right foods gives me an unlimited amount of energy.”
Emma, like many drivers, eats a lot of cold food, which is hardly comforting. So, it’s good to know that Tasty Bites can tick those boxes of personal touch and fresh food. Tanya explained: “It’s great insight to hear about drivers eating habits. When they turn up to Tasty Bites it’s not just a desire for something warm served to them but a friendly chat too. They know we can offer alternatives, so if you don’t fancy a roast we can cobble something together to suit. You can also bring your own favourite pickles or garnish and add it to our meals for a real homemade twist!”
If you’re looking for new inspiration for what to eat on the road or want to know what Tasty Bites can do when you arrive at PJM, we have a few surprises from Emma and Tanya.
On the Road with Emma – Mash up some avocadoes with a squeeze of lime and spread on crackers.
Tasty Bites – Warmed banana with brown sugar is a lovely warming snack for winter.
On the Road with Emma – Shredded Chicken with Vegetables is an ‘Emma favourite’ for the road.
Tasty Bites – Chicken Tikka with salad and mint yoghurt warmed up in a wrap or served as a salad.
On the Road with Emma – Blueberries, Tomatoes and Carrots for handy snacking.
Tasty Bites – We sell snack packets of fruit and nuts, fresh fruit or a homemade pastry straight out the oven.
On the Road with Emma – Back home in Ireland, extra effort goes into enjoying a home-cooked meal to make up for the raw and cold nibbling on the road.
Tasty Bites – Tanya’s new menu tweaked with your favourite extras, the daily roast carvery or Tasty Tuesday World Theme evening; you are spoilt for choice.