At Cook's Country, we're big fans of road trips. For the last decade, our team has traveled all around the country in search of the very best traditional and down-home fare. We've visited small towns and big cities, home kitchens and busy restaurants, truck stops and taco trucks. Why? To bring recipes that have flown under the national radar back to the test kitchen and then to Cook’s Country magazine, so anyone can recreate the best in American fare at home—no matter where they live.
Since we love stories—and food—from the road, I reached out to our Cook’s Country team to ask them about their ultimate, no-limitations road trip.
Today’s dream trip comes from editor in chief Tucker Shaw, who’s been guiding the direction of Cook’s Country for more than four years. Here’s where the man of many tastes would go, what he would listen to, and most importantly, what he would eat.
What are your top 5 must-visit destinations and what are you eating when you get there?
I want to go to all of the places where people say the best pizza exists.
Since I’m located in Boston, my first stop on the road is going to be in New Haven, Connecticut. I’m seeking some New-Haven style pizza specifically from Frank Pepe. I haven’t actually eaten from there but everyone talks about this city as having great pizza, so I figure I may as well eat it from the place it originated from.
Senior Editor, Ashley Moore, recently came out with a Detroit-Style Pizza recipe that’s received nothing but praise from our members. (That light and airy, with a crunchy, buttery crust can’t be beat!) With that said, I have to head to Detroit, Michigan to have some of their well-known pizza I neglected to have there during my last visit there.
Next, you’ll find me in Chicago, Illinois. I’m not sure if there’s a city that takes their pizza more seriously than Chicago. They have more than one style of regional pizza from classic deep-dish pizza to stuffed pizza to thin pizza (and more!) that I’m interested in getting to know better.
After I’ve had enough variations of pizza in Chicago I’ll drive to Saint Louis, Missouri. I’ve never had St. Louis-style pizza (thin crust) in St. Louis! I'd love to try it at its source since dishes are always better when you eat them in their city of origin.
Finally, I’m going to Steamboat Springs, Colorado . . . just because I love it there. Also, because there’s a little Italian restaurant there called Cugino’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant and I like their pizza. After a long drive, it’s nice to end up somewhere you’re familiar with.
Who are you bringing along?
I’m going on a solo trip—I’ve never done one before. I want to meet new people along the way. Hopefully, I don’t get a flat tire on the expressway!
What will you be jamming to while on the road?
I will be listening to Chaka Khan, since she is the best singer who ever lived. Some Marvin Gaye and Patsy Cline will be playing, for sure. The next two might sound really weird but I love to drive to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and the soundtrack to Fiddler on the Roof. Also, I love the local radio—so when I drive into each city I’ll likely turn on the a.m. radio just to hear what’s up.
Any car snacks?
I like jerky and I’ll likely be able to find jerky at gas stations that may or may not have been packaged. I love stopping at little bakeries and loading up on whatever their speciality is. If you’re driving through Pueblo, Colorado, stop at Hopscotch Bakery and get their lemon bars. This fantastic bakery was one of my random finds I came across by accident during a trip. I always love finding little things like that.
Snacks for the Ultimate Road TripWhether you're driving cross country or a taking a day trip across state lines, your snack selection should get just as much love as your road trip itinerary. Here are our favorite snacks to bring with us on the road.
Any car games?
I like to play how far over the speed limit can I go before I get a ticket. I usually find that around four to six miles over the speed limit is acceptable. On a serious note, one thing I do love to do is count the miles. I like to count how far I’ve gone and how far I have yet to go—though I do find it really sad when I’m almost at my destination. The journey is just normally so much fun, you know? I probably hate traffic just as much as the next person but I do love driving—especially in between cities, where the ride can be more meditative and less annoying.
What are you bringing back with you from this road trip?
I like to send myself a postcard from every town. Preferably kitchy postcards that will remind me of places that have no rhyme or reason to them like the Corn Palace in South Dakota.
Any travel trip tips for those hitting the road soon?
These are small reminders I always tell myself:
- Don’t plan too strictly because you want to be able to make that unexpected left turn and have it pay off for you.
- Get off the highway! You only have to get a couple miles off and suddenly you’ll find yourself in a hometown that has something interesting happening.
Cook's Country Takes AmericaThe Cook's Country team is inspired by the home cooks and regional dishes in every region of the country—and we're determined to get to know them all. View this article to read about where we've been, what we've eaten, and how you can recreate our favorite regional dishes at home.
Don’t forget to check out our other team members' ultimate road trips below.
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Test Cook Matthew Fairman’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook's Country: Deputy Editor Scott Kathan’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On The Road with Cook's Country: Test Cook Morgan Bolling's Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Executive Food Editor Bryan Roof’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Senior Editor Ashley Moore’s Ultimate Road Trip