Food & The Road

This brief hello started as a wee chronicle of my rainy Sunday morning brunch.
It still is, but I’ve added a preamble in order to get everyone up to date. A little.
Summer has been great with a nice blend of work and time off to enjoy the warm weather with friends and family.
I’d like to share a snapshot from the last few months as an example of my typical work week.
As July quietly melded into August, I found myself nosing northward, past Slave Lake, Alberta, along Highway 88, up to Fort Vermillion and then High Level for the night.
From High Level, where the road signs for Hay River and Points North tugged at my heart a bit, I headed straight East. Back toward Fort Vermillion, but this time continuing past the turn-off and following the gravel, (even that was nostalgic), for 150km to Garden River. It was Highway 58 for those who like travelling along with an atlas.
The little hamlet of Garden River is nearly in Wood Buffalo National Park. I’d never heard of it. There was a small job there waiting.
It is not uncommon in my work to have chores inverse in size to the distance I travel to do them.
On my way back West to connect with the highway South, this time aiming for High Prairie, I stopped at the small rushing Wentzel River.
I walked down to the clear cool water under the bridge where a turn in the river had created a tiny beach with a sandy river bottom. It was about waist deep.
I could not resist going for a very refreshing dip. I’d neglected to bring a swim suit.No one was there. No one didn’t seemed to mind. 😉
I’ve logged considerable milage since then. Returning to Edmonton from High Prairie I had a trip to Conklin and back the next day. An easy 700km round trip.
That was followed the next day by an unanticipated midday start to North of Edson from Edmonton, and a very late night return to Wetaskiwin.
I was able to avoid driving for the following Sunday and holiday Monday. Yeah.
Scenes from the road.
This brings us up to Yesterday. Saturday, August 11.
Starting in Grande Prairie, which has become a home base for me about half the time this Summer, I headed North then West, near Rycroft.
Highways 2 North and 49 West for those following along at home.
Now it’s about6pm, I’m done my chores and leaving the rig, about two hours from Grande Prairie, I got a call concerning an electrical problem just East then South of Valleyview. The Simonette Road. We’ve all seen it along Highway 43 to and from Edmonton and the North. Those that have frequented this route I mean. Most of the mailing list.
Note to budding young construction, oilfield, electrical, and helpers in general:
It is a risk to persons and property pressure washing the floor under a generator – while the generator is doing it’s business of generating.
Long journey told short, I finished up getting electricity back into the afflicted wellsite trailer, and rolled into Valleyview at 3:00am. Got a room at the Paradise Hotel next to the Petro-can.
The word “Paradise” is exceedingly alluring at that hour. You know what I mean.
Now, it is here this little missive was conceived, though I was oblivious to the notion of updating friends and family at the time.
The first inkling of sharing my thoughts was prompted by the wordContinental.
Naturally the lovely young girl who checked my in, and she was lovely, extolled the privilege and good fortune I’d be extended between 5 and 11am, at the Continental Breakfast.
I should also note, I was impressed she had the presence of mind to inquire if my stay was for, “the remainder of the morning?”
Six hours later, I rose from a near coma, and armed with a vague recollection of a promising invitation, shuffled down a floor seeking coffee and sustenance.
I should pause now.
We can all see where this is going, and I do want to say it’s not my intention to be critical here.
I just wasn’t in the mood to create my own pancakes with three easy steps of operation on the shiny new pancake machine I initially mistook for a photocopier.
No coffee yet.
Nor was the dessert like yogurt appealing first thing.
The fruit?
Good idea.
Why is it hard now to include flavour even in Summer?
Looking a bit lost I’m sure, and still showing the ragged edges of short sleep before having the smoothing effect of caffeine, I tried not to stagger as I turned full circle, again, in the middle of the by now, thankfully, deserted breakfast room.
I couldn’t help but wonder. I had a germ of a note.
“Of which Continent are we speaking?”
Ah well. You know, I took it in stride and thanked whichever Angel was riding shotgun these days, that by the time I’d sipped the day’s first coffee I discovered it was good. And it truly was.
In fact, I have noticed a marked improvement in the grade of coffee sold Nationwide. Amazing what a little competition will do. Someday we might hope to see the same with cell phone companies and banks! But I’m veering off topic already.
I had couple cups of the house Joe, then made myself ready to depart.
Fortunately, Grande Prairie is only an hour from Valleyview, which tells you something of how tired I was last night. Perhaps a little of how age can accumulate wisdom too.
When I got back to GP I stopped at the grocery store for breakfast ingredients.
It was assembling and frying these vittles that got my camera out. Phone actually.
And from there it was only a couple snaps, and a few recollections, before I had to sit and share.
So here we are!
Scenes from the kitchen
Eggs – as many as you like
Montreal Smoked Meat – or other meat – or vegetable. Chop it up.
Portobello Mushrooms – 3 mini’s
Whole tomato – diced thick
Avocado – sliced lengthwise in skin then spooned out
Blue cheese – or other flavour. Parmesan is a good alternative.
Salt and pepper – the kind you grind.
Brown the mushrooms in butter.
Keep adding butter as you flip the mushrooms. Portobellos are like butter sponges and butter is again healthy! It was weird eh? That blip from about the 60’s until now where certain industries thought it best to disparage the food that has kept human health constant for thousands of years. I’m looking at you Big Agriculture, whichever Chemical company markets Margarine, and Big Sugar too. Not the Band. There were an infinity of extras all with their own misconceptions and promotions too. Still are.
Eat what you want. Something else will kill you first.
Fry the meat just enough to bring out flavour then add the tomatoes and a minute later throw in about 2/3’s of the already fried mushrooms. Stir gently.
Dump in the eggs. I used four.
After a minute or two, when the eggs are no longer runny, toss in the avocado.
Wait three minutes.
Toss in slices or small globs of blue cheese.
Let cook until it would flip like an omelette, except there’s too many ingredients to be held together by only four eggs. Flip anyway.
Add in the rest of the mushrooms.
I have no idea why you wouldn’t add all the mushrooms at once? I think I had an alternate plan then forgot.
Add butter to any bare spots on the pan. It’s healthy now remember, and you don’t want anything getting stuck to the pan.
After a few tosses and flips, and when it looks like the egg is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and cover with a plate. This allows the whole concoction to meld and spread the various flavours throughout while warming your plate. It also gives you time to brew a fresh batch of coffee.
I’m a fan of Starbuck’s.
I will always differ to local and unique coffee places given the chance, and will happily return if I like their brew.
However, I am grateful Starbuck’s has run amok across the globe and even sit kitty corner to one another on Robson Street.
Only for the reason that I can now get a good coffee nearly everywhere!
In store the Pike is always on, and always good. To take home it’s Sumatra or Gold Coast.
Timmie’s dark is OK and their regular will do. Big shoutout to McDonald’s.
I have a percolator because I’m on the road a lot, and usually stay where there’s a gas stove, which means it’s fairly quick.
It makes fabulous coffee too.
Add an extra scoop of grounds (however you make it) and crush onto the coffee, shells from a just cracked egg.
Scenes from my desk