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August 9, 2017

the importance of shells & lost and found

Here's a few more food packing no-no's we've encountered:

4.  MOLD:  I chose to pack some grapes in a baggie for our trip to New Orleans.  I became somewhat desperate for fresh fruit.  Translation:  I swallowed a few more moldy grapes than I would care to admit.  Why were the grapes moldy, you ask?  Oh, I'll get to that.
Nothing screams 'we-experienced-a-food-packing-issue' like a bag of moldy grapes.  You won't believe what happened to jeopardize the freshness of our grapes.  Saving that gem of a story for one of the last in this little segment on traveling with food.

5.  MISPLACED ITEMS:  When I visited St. Louis for an Irish dancing competition back in February, I brought grapefruit.  I packed my favorite little knife that glides ever so nicely thru my grapefruit.  It was my constant companion on my mission to eat a grapefruit each morning.  In my haste to pack our stuff up and get on the road, I misplaced the knife.  Did I throw it out when I was eliminating our paper plates from lunch in the hotel room?  I initially believed that I stuffed it into some little zippered pouch on our cooler bag on wheels.  My search of the cooler bag, my purse, and my overnight bag has produced no awesome little knife.  Since February, I am stuck using dull kitchen knives to butcher my tasty fruit. I swear one day I will replace these pathetic knives and choose to live like an adult with a real set of knives.

I still chuckle when I think of the park ranger who came across my enormous cutting board in his welcome center in Gettysburg.  My dad and I took 10 kids to Gettysburg back in 2011.  I slid my huge, handy-dandy cutting board in the car between my cooler and the passenger seat.  Rather than stop for lunch, I whipped up sandwiches on my board while my dad drove.  At one point, I dragged my lunch fixing stuff into the welcome center.  We ate lunch in the cafeteria there where I used my board as prep space.  After lunch the kids lined up to secure their junior ranger badges.  Each kid posed for a photo with the park ranger.  In order to take the photos, I leaned my cutting board against the counter.  We drove off without it.  I'm guessing that my portable lunch counter was the first of its kind to be left behind.  I must've just been overly excited to witness 10 kids achieve greatness as junior rangers.  
My nephew posing with the ranger.  In order to capture a photo of each of the ten kids in our party, I stowed my cutting board in front of his desk.  In all the excitement of seeing the kids sworn in as junior rangers, I forgot to grab my cutting board. 

6.  PEELED EGGS:  Last May was a nutty time for us.  Reggie knocked Coach's front teeth out when a ball he was practicing pitching with took a bad bounce.  This was hours before Lad graduated from high school.  It was days before we were leaving for our family road trip to Glacier National Park.
The dentist had Coach pose for this shot before he jammed the tooth back in his mouth.  Then Coach met us at Lad's graduation.  Curly brought him a bag of ice to hold to his face during the ceremony. 
In an effort to pack healthy breakfast items for our big trip, I hard boiled dozens of eggs.  I mean DOZENS.  My kids like hard boiled eggs.  If we kept them in the cooler, I thought this would be a perfect protein to offer for breakfast.  I took my desire to simplify eating on the road one step further.  I PEELED dozens of eggs the night before we left.

We were planning to camp.  We also planned to drive around in the comfort of the family's 12 seater white van, the 'great white' before dawn to watch for wildlife.  I figured it was easier to peel eggs in advance in lieu of having kids peel their eggs in the car.  Besides, I always think peeling an egg with a splash of running water makes it easier.  There would be no running water in the car on those chilly mornings. 

I tossed huge gallon sized Ziploc bags stuffed with our eggs in the cooler.  We ate the eggs for the first few mornings out west.  Then one morning a kid complained that her egg tasted funny.  Initially I suspected that my kid was just complaining because she didn't want to eat food I packed in the backseat of a car.

Turns out those handy little shells are meant to keep the eggs fresh.  A hard boiled egg outside of its shell is just a hard boiled egg waiting to go bad and smell up your cooler and your car with the added bonus of possibly making your kids gag.

I get tired just looking at this photo of our kitchen the morning we were TRYING to depart for Glacier.  All that stuff had to go in our van.  Our awesome plumber is in the middle of the work area as he prepared to unclog the sink. 
Oh, and as a fun aside, I jammed all of the shells from our soon-to-be foul hard boiled eggs down the garbage disposal the night before we departed.  Not only was life before our trip made hectic by Coach's emergency visit to the dentist, and our garage door being pulled off the track when the little release cord from the opener got stuck inside the closed door of the great white the night, but we also got to invite our plumber over to unplug our kitchen sink because egg shells shouldn't go down the disposal - well, certainly not in mass quantities. 

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