Truck Stops & Diners

With the July 4th holiday upon us, I thought it appropriate to talk about truck stops and diners. What’s more American than truck stops and diners? Well, actually, this post is neither about truck stops or diners but rather, truckin’ songs and diner food! And of course it really won’t include any real diner food but rather, my healthier version of what I like to think is diner food.

So, I figured out way back that I am a “Middle Person” which in my definition means, I am a very tee-tiny, infinite percent of the population that does not fit into any specific category in regards to everything. In school, I always had a friend from this group, a friend from that group. In fact I don’t even really like groups so that’s probably why I have never been successful at belonging to any of them. Kind of the Groucho Marx idea of not wanting to belong to any group that would have me as a member… or maybe it just seems way too limiting to get categorized into one group when there are so many with such varying tastes. Maybe it is a commitment issue? Anyway, along with this, I think, comes a skewed vision of what is popular with the general public. For instance, whenever there is an event I am super excited about, I just know it will sell out and I get really worried about not being able to get in for fear it will be too crowded and then the reality of this situation almost always results in the opposite and there is a small handful of other “Middle People” present. I’d say this might also be the case for the way I feel about one particular sub-genre of country music, truckin’ songs. I absolutely LOVE truckin’ songs and for the life of me can’t understand why this tiny sub-genre never made it out of that sub category. And the other day, after listening to truckin’ songs all day, and contemplating this crazy, amazing “sub-genre” (the quotes are really meant to denote some eye-rolling on my part), I was trying to come up with a way to single-handedly bring it back into the country music forefront. I don’t understand why this can’t happen honestly, with the 1980’s ballad sound resurfacing under the disguise of “new country” and all. It seems completely reasonable from this Middle Person’s point-of-view. If we could somehow tap it into the electric car theme or bio-diesel/ Willie Nelson Truck Stop concept and craft some new eco-friendly lyrics or something, I think it might really catch on.

Anyway, back to the topic- truckin’ songs.

For anyone not familiar with truckin’ songs, they are simply songs about truck driving. More important than the topic, to me though, is the amazing group of artists who have had some great songs about trucks! Also what usually catches my attention more than the words about trucks (which are always completely awesome on a ridiculous level) are the amazing guitar riffs and the sound of a truckin’ song.

They’ve been around since the 1930’s but seemed to have their little moment of popularity in the 1960’s and one of the most famous of the truckin’ songs is Dave Dudley’s ”Six Days on the Road’ which came out in 1963 (and features one Mister Buddy Spicher on fiddle!).

And here’s another classic from Del Reeves here.

Here’s a totally awesome one from The Willis Brothers which is a clip from the 1965 film, “40 Acre Feud.”

Even girls like to sing truckin’ songs. This is a classic from Ms. Kay Adams.

Thanks to the likes of Dale Watson, Chuck Mead and BR549, Junior Brown, Jon Byrd, Knut Bell,  truckin’ songs can still be heard!!! Some of these guys are even writing new truckin’ songs. Here’s an original from our friend Knut Bell who is the big country voice of the Pacific NW!

There are plenty of amazing truckin’ song compilation albums- easy to find in old country album collections. There’s also a great record label out of NY called, Diesel Only, that put out a cd box set of truckin’ songs from 1939-1969.

There is a collection of painstakingly ridiculous spoken word songs from 1970’s that were almost like little movies in and of themselves… I find these difficult to hear over and over when listening to my (awesome and amazing) truckin’ song play list Grant made for me but when you get caught off guard by one while driving around town, as I did today when WSM played Red Sovine’s “Teddy Bear,” it can turn a bad day into a glorious day!

To add to my obsession, I’ve been watching lots of Truckin’ movies lately. Netflix has quite a collection (starring the likes of Jerry Reed, Kris Kristofferson, Peter Fonda!). Every good truckin’ movie has plenty of truck stops and diners. Diners make me think of meatloaf.

As a child, my Mom made meatloaf pretty often. It was always delicious. She often served it with corn or succotash. Her best friend, Mary Bauld, always served her meatloaf with fried potatoes which were naughty delicious! Mom and Mary Bauld had a few unspoken cooking competitions going and us kids were the judges. Grant and I don’t eat much beef anymore but sometimes we do need meatloaf so we make turkey meatloaf, using a combination of my Mom’s recipe and Ms. Loretta Lynn’s from her cookbook, You’re Cookin’ it Country. It goes something like this…

Big & Lady Smokey’s Turkey Meatloaf
2 lbs ground turkey
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 slices of whole grain bread, finely crushed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup ketchup (you could make your own with canned tomatoes, tomato paste, little vinegar, and some molasses)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together the turkey, onion, egg, garlic, bread crumbs, and seasonings. Shape the mixture and place in a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. In a small bowl combine ketchup, hot sauce, and brown sugar and pour over the meatloaf. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Meatloaf served with sauteed fresh corn off the cob; squash, zucchini, and Vidalia onions; and cucumbers and dill from the garden with a little brown rice vinegar, salt and pepper!

And don’t forget that leftover meatloaf makes a great sandwich!

Grant usually makes me Sunday brunch and he just recently mastered frittatas! Dang, he’s good! The other morning he said, “This one has a super secret Southern ingredient!” Here’s the recipe…

Tater Tot Frittata
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small yellow crookneck squash, cut into rounds
2 slices think cut bacon, chopped
5 or 6 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup tater tots, baked in oven
6 eggs
splash of milk
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Use a good skillet or omelet pan. Heat pan on stove top on medium heat. Cook bacon until mostly crisp. Remove bacon and put to the side. Leave bacon fat in pan. Add onion, garlic, squash, and mushrooms. Saute over medium heat until done. Beat eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk. Add egg mixture to veggies. Cook for about 3 minutes until eggs have partially set. Fold over once. Add bacon crumbles and tater tots. Add cheese to top. Put whole pan in oven. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes until eggs have fully set. Put broiler on high and continue to bake until top is slightly brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

I made a mess of cherry pies recently for our first Red Barn Round-Up of the summer, which coincidentally had many truckin’ songs sung by Jon Byrd and Heath Haynes!!!

Now, though, the fresh summer fruit is rolling on in… Hoping to make many summer fruit pies and finally learn how to can but now, we are enjoying some delicious Pimm’s cups (completely un-American, haha!) with cucumbers from the garden. Happy 4th!

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4 thoughts on “Truck Stops & Diners

  1. Kathryn, I am so glad to find your blog! Tell your husband that tater tots in a frittata is one of the most brilliant things I’ve heard.

    That meatloaf is on the menu for next week!

  2. Thanks Angel!!! I just recently found your blog, too, and I love it! So crafty- I love that y’all share your projects. You know, I keep in touch with a few long time and long distant friends by posting a photo a day on flickr, too. It is so nice that we have these new ways to keep in touch.

  3. Happy 4th – and happy truckin’, Y’all!! Reminds me that last year we were in a very random place for the 4th….. 😉

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