The Convenience of Beef Jerky As a Travel Food

Beef Jerky is the best snack when you want to grab a quick bite without worrying about “fattening ingredients” and “no nutrition” stigma associated with fast foods. It is also the most convenient food item when you are travelling or just want to nibble on something while enjoying a glass of chilled beer. It has a good shelf life and does not rot easily like fresh meat. So instead of choosing greasy chips, french fries or cheese balls for a snack, you can always opt for the healthy beef jerky. It can also be given to children for packed school lunch. They are perfect for being served as starters and appetizers during parties or a get together for friends. Moreover, a lot of innovative recipes can be tried using it as the chief ingredient. You can surprise your guests by preparing some tasty sandwiches or subs using them as a filler.

Beef jerky is prepared by marinating slices of highest quality beef and placing them in specialized drier at regulated temperature for 12 hours. Once it is dried to the appropriate moisture content to prevent spoilage, it is cooled and hygienically packaged. To prevent any oxidation, the sealed packages may sometimes contain small pouches of oxygen absorber.

A variety of flavours are available. So as per your taste, you may opt for the natural beef flavour, black pepper variant, sweet and spicy beef jerky, smokey jerky or the spicy hot chilli beef jerky. With a nil fat content and high protein value, it is the ideal snack for all age groups. Indeed it is not a “junk food” and like most other snacks does not add bulge. On the contrary, it helps dieters as its consumption gives a feeling of fullness and the best satiety value. Beef jerky is the best anytime food to accompany you on long journeys as it needs no preparation and there is no need to store it in a fridge or at any particular temperature for long.


The Importance of Public Relations in Food and Travel

Creating a successful public relations campaign is not an easy task by any standards. There are many domains for which such a project can be developed and each one of them requires a completely different approach. In the last couple of years, more and more PR companies have started to focus their attention on a few areas alone, such as food and travel.

Food PR is usually revolving around the immediate need of the consumer, but more importantly around the problems which can appear in certain situations. Nowadays, more and more serious diseases have started to be transmitted through our food supply and getting ill after consuming any type of food is not uncommon. This means that you’ll never know where the next case will appear: maybe from a piece of meat or perhaps from vegetables.

Even if most of these incidents are isolated, the situation remains the same: potential customers will change their opinion based on what they see and hear in the media, not on the actual facts and statistics. This is where public relations come in; a successful campaign will be able to transmit the right message and it will create a bridge between your company and your potential clients.

More importantly than dealing with incidents is making a new brand successful. In this situation, Food PR plays the important role of bringing the product to the attention of the right persons.

In the case of travel public relations, the task is a little more complicated. An entire web has to be created and you need to make the connection between your client, his transportation means, his accommodations and the activities he will partake in while going on a vacation. After that, the right PR campaign needs to stand out among thousands of others and make sure that your company is the one which gets all the attention it deserves. Traveling is no longer a problem for anyone and this is why so many travel agencies are trying their best to make offers which can’t be refused. The right travel PR campaign can tip the scale in your favor even if you are not the market leader, which is something that can’t usually be achieved in most domains.

The power of the right PR strategy can’t be underestimated, especially if you take a look at your competitors. Instead of trying to create a campaign on your own, you should find a company which already knows exactly how to get a head start and grab the attention of the public without too much effort. This way, you will save a lot of time and money and the results you were hoping for will appear sooner than you initially thought.

Travel Food: How to Eat Healthy While on Vacation

Eating healthy while traveling is a priority so when I leave town, food comes with me. Although my husband is always amazed at how much food I can pack into one suitcase, it’s really not as difficult as it seems.

Here’s a list of my food staples that are nutritious and travel well…

Cacao Powder: I use this raw, unsweetened “super-food” (i.e. packed with nutrients and antioxidants) to wake up in the morning instead of pounding coffee. I mix one tablespoon into a cup of hot water, add stevia and either some milk or cream, and it’s like a power-packed cup of hot chocolate, sans the chemicals, caffeine, and sugar.

Sardines: Yes, really, I think most people get sardines confused with anchovies, the small, flat, extremely fishy fish that come on pizzas and in Caesar dressing. Sardines are actually less fishy than tuna and bursting with healthy oils and protein. You can get them cheap (I recently found a cool “10 for $10” deal). In Costa Rica, I discovered that a can of sardines, paired with a large tomato from the local mercado, and drizzled with olive oil, makes for an excellent breakfast.

Kale chips: Now that kale has gone mainstream, you can find it everywhere. Kale chips have become a recent (and favorite) addition to my suitcase because (1) they don’t require refrigeration and (2) they help to ensure I get my daily servings of vegetables.

Vegetable juice: Although not my personal fave, vegetable juice also provides the much-needed daily servings of vegetables, is low-calorie and much cheaper than kale chips.

Sugar-free dried meat sticks. I like these because they travel well in purses, beach bags, and glove compartments and don’t require refrigeration. They’re also great between meals to keep blood sugar stable. I’ve tried several brands but my rule of thumb is to read the labels carefully: Dried meats are notorious for being packed with sugar, so always, always, always make sure to select only the ones without sugar.

Dried edamame: These crunchy nuts are packed with protein and make a great pre-workout snack.

Almonds & sunflower seeds: Nuts and seeds are a traveling must for me. I’ll measure out one- or two-ounce servings, place them into snack-sized baggies, and keep them handy in my purse in case dinner or lunch is delayed (also great snacks for beach days).

Stevia: If they stopped making stevia, I would seriously have to reconsider whether I could go on with life. Although some people find this sweet herb has an unpleasant aftertaste, to me it’s pure heaven. I put it in my morning cacao powder, add it to club soda + lime to make a refreshing soda-like beverage, mix it with lemon + water for a healthy lemonade… I could go on but I think you get it. Fortunately, stevia is everywhere these days so you can get it in powder, tablet, packet, or liquid form and use it instead of the harmful artificial sweeteners and sugar provided by most restaurants.

Whole grains. It can be extremely difficult to find whole grains (or even ones that aren’t filled with sugar such as the standard continental breakfast oatmeal). I travel with packets of instant oatmeal, whole grain crackers, and rice cakes to make sure I’m not eating refined carbs and causing unpleasant blood sugar spikes and cravings.

Beverages: Go down any supermarket aisle and you can find a multitude of options to add a little sum-sum to your water – everything from green tea packets, to electrolyte powders, to fruit flavor drops. I’m personally not a big fan of chemicals but a lot of these options are much better for you than soda. And besides, you’re on vacation… why not live a little?

So you’re probably thinking…

Are you crazy? I’m not packing all that stuff!

Well, you don’t have to. Even I don’t pack all this stuff all the time. For a recent trip to Costa Rica, for example, I packed everything since I wasn’t sure what would be available. For weekend getaways, I tend to just pack my breakfast and snack foods. It’s your trip – make it work for you and keep it healthy!

Budget Travel – Food For Thought

While food is not the most expensive item that makes up a family travel budget, if you plan ahead for your trip in other areas (plane fares, hotel bookings, car rentals if applicable) there is no reason why you can’t squeeze savings out of your dining budget  while not compromising the elegance of your trip.

You can of course simply avoid regular fare restaurants and eat at fast food outlets or buy food in a grocery store and dine in. For the most part, this is NOT why people go on vacation however, so the following advice is geared toward saving where you can and still be able to eat in decent restaurants when desired. So let’s pretend you are visiting a Theme Park and use some common sense before you enter their gates.

Do NOT rush out of your room and head for the Park! Stop and eat breakfast at a family friendly place while on the way. If you are staying ‘on-site’ there probably are numerous chains outside the gates and easily within walking distance of the Park.  Kids meals will probably only cost $3-$4 and will fill everyone up for less than $25. This way, you are not entering the Park and having to immediately feed the kids overpriced and non-nutritious corn dogs and sodas at exorbitant prices. Of course as parents we want to indulge our kids at times so this does not mean you can’t buy cotton candy or ice cream later. It just means the kids will be less likely to want it  an hour into the day.

The same is true when you leave. Don’t fill up on concession food at 4pm and then go out to dinner at 7pm. No one will eat all of their food at dinner (including adults) and you will have wasted an evening of dining. If you do eat at the Park, then eat out later at a fast food restaurant or bring food back to the room to snack on. Another favorite idea is to order a pizza to be delivered to your motel room. Most motels have lists of delivery places for you either in the room or near the front desk. For probably $20 or less (tip included for driver) you can order a filling pizza rather than spending twice that much at Denny’s or similar type chains.

Better yet, don’t eat much after 2pm and then plan on a decent meal that evening, though I would still suggest a family place where kid’s meals don’t cost as much. Save your night of fancy dining for a day when no one has eaten recently. The most important thing however is to fill up BEFORE you arrive at your destination. You’ll find the stomachs don’t yearn for cotton candy for hours this way and instead of spending $60-$80 on food inside the Park, you’ll likely spend less than half that on the kids and end up saving $20-$30 as a result of smart planning.

Malaysian Food – An Experience

On buying a guide book my first port of call is always the “F” section of the index. On a recent trip to Malaysia I followed this same rule. Whereas before I would then make a list of all the dishes I was to try, all the time salivating with anticipation, I became extremely confused and frustrated at the ambiguity and random nature of the food described. I needed more information, more research in order to fully understand and appreciate what was to become such a massive part of my trip.

So, the venue – the world famous hawker stalls of Malaysia are a perfect way to sample local culinary delights. Their friendly family atmosphere and freshly cooked snacks usually entertain both locals and tourists alike. Learning a few local customs beforehand however goes a long way.

I decided to start with the basics – eating etiquette. As a six foot, red haired trekker with a huge rucksack and zinc cream smothered over my face, being inconspicuous is never going to be an easy task, especially in Malaysian hawker stalls. However, in order to avoid offending the locals in the hawker stalls I sought to learn a few simple Malaysian rules of thumb.

As with many Asian countries, one of the most important rules is the use of the right hand to eat. It is a massive faux-pas to use the left as this is used for other, very different things. It’s quite simple to get the hang of really, even for a left-hander, especially when you consider how many forks are used to eat the wrong courses in England every day!

So, simple eating etiquette is sorted. We are almost ready to dig in, guns blazing, raring to consume something you just cannot find in Tescos. This brings me back to my original dilemma – what exactly is ‘Malaysian Cuisine’. Many dishes in Malaysia have been derived from multiple ethnic influences from Indian curries to Chinese noodles. The combination of these influences have created some bizarre yet delightful, weird yet wonderful dishes where the only restriction is the chefs imagination. The question is, what to try and arguably what not to.

I’ve decided to concentrate on ‘Nasi Lemak’. It has been dubbed, ‘The Unofficial National Dish Of Malaysia’, and the name is translated in English as – “rice in fat”. I don’t know about you, but that certainly does not scream “DEVOUR ME”! The basic dish consists of rice cooked in coconut milk served with cucumber slices, dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg, pickled vegetables or ‘achar’, and a hot spicy sauce – arguably a pretty random mix. It makes our once long-standing national dish in the UK of fish and chips sound slightly bland I think you’ll agree. As bizarre a combination it sounds, I found it delicious. It demonstrates the essence of Malaysian cuisine and the unusual combinations involved.

Malaysian cuisine is proof for me that the food of a nation really can represent the diversity of its people. We hear so much in the media about ‘fusion cooking’ and the art of combining different elements to create a ‘crazy’ and ‘never-been-done’ dish, especially using Asian cuisine. My guess is that the dishes we see as “odd combinations” and “innovative styles” in the West have probably been sold as standard fare for decades in a Malaysian hawker stall somewhere!

Eating different foods and trying local specialties in different countries is an all-embracing experience. The interaction we encounter with the vendor and fellow customers whilst sampling one of the few things we can all relate to can be one of the most rewarding and daring episodes of travel! Food can be a means of bridging any perceived cultural divide. For me, food is exactly this and more – a perfect excuse to explore the culinary and social delights of a country. It’s an experience in itself. Perhaps that’s the real culture shock we could perhaps feel. Not that the food isn’t what we’re used to at home, but the fact that we’re not used to eating as a social event, too used to TV dinners inside our warm houses, insulated from our communities outside.

This for me is the epitome of the travel eating experience, and a testament to the discovery, intrigue and pure multi-sensory pleasure involved in trying new types of food whilst travelling. Sometimes, it just takes a far more gutsy approach!