Wendy Trudeau is the “rolling chef” I am featuring this month. She enjoys preparing some amazing food in her truck, but she is very humble about it. Wendy and her husband are owner operators leased to Mercer Transportation in Louisville, KY.
Wendy got her “chauffeurs” license way back in 1987 and she drove a school bus until 1999, when her daughter finally graduated from high school. During those bus-driving years, she got to watch many of the handicapped children who rode her bus go from kindergarten to high school, and she really loved those kids.
In 1999 Wendy started running OTR with her husband, Melvin Sweet. They have ran both individually and as a team, and now, in the winter, Melvin leaves Wendy home in Wisconsin to enjoy the snow while he gets himself south of the Mason-Dixon line, where he tries to stay until March. She enjoys the snow and lives to go snowmobiling. Sadly, for her this year, her sled had to sit without her on it for most of the season from lack of snow. In March, Melvin comes home and picks Wendy up for their annual trip to Louisville, KY to attend the MATS show.
With their Jack Russell mix, Missy, on board, there is a trio in their truck wherever they go. Coming from trucking parents, Missy is a trucking dog (her mom is a retired trucking dog and her dad is still on the road). Missy loves her mama’s cooking, and thinks it’s unfair that she has to sit there and endure the smells all day long while the meals are being cooked.
Wendy’s grandmother Elsie Rice was a local driver in the late 1950s who worked to support herself and her daughter, Wendy’s mom. When she was three, Wendy told her father, who also trucked in the off season, that she was going to be a truck driver. And, thankfully, before he died, he saw her accomplish that dream.
Once in a blue moon, Melvin gets to cook, but it doesn’t happen that often because he is a very mess cook. But he and Missy don’t mind that Wendy does most of the cooking – after all, they still get to eat all that goodness she creates.
Wendy loves to cook, and started cooking when she was about nine years old (her mom didn’t like to cook, so it worked out well). Now, she loves the ideas she gets from the Facebook cooking groups she belongs to, and enjoys sharing on them, too. Her ultimate dream vacation is one where she would be able to go and cook with a professional chef. If given the option, Ireland would be her destination of choice (I sure hope she achieves that dream).
Her favorite appliance is her electric skillet, and she makes most of her meals with it. For the rest of this article, this month, I thought it might be fun to actually share some of her favorite recipes. The possibilities are endless to create good food with flavors that you enjoy. Sharing ideas, encouraging and supporting each other, when it comes to cooking in the truck, is more like the way it used to be in trucking, when drivers helped other drivers. Be safe out there and keep on cooking!
I boil water in my electric skillet, but you can cook your shells however you prefer.
• 6 to 8 jumbo shells
• 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
• 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning, or fresh herbs, if you can find them, are even better
• A jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Mix cheese and seasoning together and stuff the shells.
Put shells in a container and cover with sauce and then warm it all up however you want.
You could use whatever appliance you have, but the 12-volt lunch box works good, as well as a simple microwave oven.
Start with 6 apples (take core out and then cut about an inch off the top of each one).
Mix 1/4 cup of raisins and a 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, then fill the apples with mixture.
Put a pad of butter on top of each apple.
Mix 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the apples.
Put a cup of water in your skillet, turn on to 300 degrees, and put the lid on.
Bring to a boil, turn to simmer, and then cook for about 45 more minutes.
Then, at the end, turn the heat back to 300 degrees for a bit to thicken the sauce.
During the simmer part, spoon sauce over the apples often. Enjoy!!