Cooking in the truck

One of the biggest expenses we deal with on the road is eating, but fortunately it’s also the easiest expense to control.  Almost all trucks these days have APUs which provide for 120 AC power to run microwaves, toaster ovens, air fryers, coffee makers, kettles and so much more. Simply pre-make meals at home and load up your fridge or cooler and you’re set for your next outing.  If you’re so inclined, you can bring raw food stuffs to cook from scratch, but if you choose this option, care must be taken in choosing what you bring and how you prepare it.  Certain foods are not permitted to cross the border, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and some uncooked meats.  Currently, all poultry products, even eggs are banned from crossing the border unless fully cooked.  

When cooking in the truck, do not use any device using combustible fuel as the heat source.  This includes propane or charcoal barbecues, stoves burning butane, propane or any other liquid fuel. One small mistake and you could easily burn the truck and trailer down to frame rails.  These devices also consume oxygen, so the risk of asphyxiation is also present, 

While these situations are not all that common, they are still a very real possibility. There are even 2 cases where cooking in the truck have caused serious highway collisions.  

In one case, the driver had to make an emergency stop while his co-driver was cooking in the sleeper.  When the driver slammed on the brakes, the barbecue fell over, and the hot coals started a fire that destroyed the truck.  In the other case, the cook opened the curtains to the bunk to tell his partner that supper was ready, and the heat from the gas powered stove instantly cause the windshield to fog up, and the truck left the road.  

So if you want to actually cook from scratch in the truck, do it safely. Only use cooking platforms that are electrically powered and only use them when the truck is safely parked. If you’re unsure whether certain ingredients are permitted to cross the border, check with Canada and/or US Customs before you go shopping, or you can wait until you cross the border, then stop and do your shopping. Various meat products go from being okay, to not okay as certain conditions change, but fresh fruits and vegetables are banned.  Cooked and/or processed fruits and vegetables, like jams and jellies are usually permissible.

Don Taylor has been a professional driver since March 1985.  In 1994 he made the jump to driving tractor trailers, and has accumulated over 3.5 million miles, including over 4 years of driving turnpike doubles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  He is currently hauling flat decks across North America.