What would you rather eat?
- A grayish-brown burger on a squashed bun, limp fries in a greasy paper bag, all washed down with flat soda pop.
- Chilled vichyssoise, steak, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes and strawberries, served on linen and silver, and accompanied by a nice Sauvignon Blanc.
So why do most of our meals look like the first option? Because we Americans live in our cars. Trips to the bank and the shops stretch into rides to and from soccer practice and we have no choice but to go to the drive-thru, right?
Hello, I’m The Vehicular Gourmet, and I am on a mission to put the “fine” back in dining, even in the car.
Automotive fine dining does present unique challenges, especially since The Vehicular Gourmet recommends keeping both eyes on the road, and at least one hand on the steering wheel at all times. But we can adapt.
First we set the stage. If your car doesn’t come equipped with a bud vase, merely attach a perfect bloom to a green pipe cleaner, and wrap it around the steering wheel. I recommend placing the flower at 12 o clock to leave 2 and 10 free for your hands – safety first!
Eating is just “chowing down” without sterling silver and candlelight (it gives such a gentle glow to a lady’s complexion). Some jurisdictions frown on tassels and baby shoes hanging from the rear-view mirror, so better check with the local authorities to see if there is a similar prohibition on hanging sterling silver candelabra there.
Spills can happen, especially when you’re keeping both eyes on the road. That is why I’ve invented the Full-body Damask Napkin. This snowy white napkin covers the whole lap and most of the chest, extending up to fasten on your shoulder belt.
Our first course is a classic vichyssoise. You might think eating soup would be difficult in the car – oh, ye of little faith. I give you, the Sac Soupcon! The Sac is tied around the head at mouth-level, like a horse’s feedbag, and you drink directly out of it. It has an insulated liner so gazpacho stays cold and French onion soup stays hot. With its black velvet and white taffeta outer covering, putting on the feedbag has never been so elegant.
How about hands-free steak? Cut your filet mignon into chunks, string on a length of fishing line and attach to the top of the door. Getting a bite of luscious steak is as easy as checking your blind spot!
A lady generally wears gloves in public. For vehicular dining, we cut the tips off the gloves, and add a jeweled cuff and ring. Now your fingers are ready to host crisp, steamed potatoes. The potatoes are hollowed out for easy handling and seasoned with a shake of butter-flavored popcorn salt to avoid the mess of butter. Talk about Fingerling Potatoes!
Asparagus spears are a natural finger food. It’s the dripping hollandaise sauce that can get one in trouble. The solution? Hollandaise Jigglers! Just combine your favorite hollandaise recipe with some unflavored gelatin. Take a bite of asparagus, and then pop a cube in your mouth for a yummy combination.
Miss Manners would surely approve when eating with your fingers is this refined.
The menu was supposed to include a chilled Australian Sauvignon Blanc, but I’m sure my alert readers saw the flaw in this plan. We can’t serve a white wine with red meat! To avoid that solecism, uncork a nice, sparkling red grape juice. With the addition of a tight fitting lid and straw, your best crystal goblet is road-ready in an instant.
We’ll end our meal with a luscious serving of Little Jack Horner Strawberries. Marinated strawberries are hollowed out and served with a dollop of whipped cream for dipping. Put in your thumb, pull out a strawberry, and say – what a good girl am I!
There is never a good reason to abandon fine dining standards. After all, that’s the only thing separating us from the lower primates. It merely takes a little planning and creativity to ensure fine automotive dining is on everyone’s menu.
From The Vehicular Gourmet, Bon Voiture Appetit!
* Lovely model courtesy of Bizzy-Boo Lovely Models, Inc. (aka my daughter, Liz.)