Stovetop Cooking, Job-Site Style

Lunch heating up on the truck stovetop. Photo courtesy of Sydney Hudzinski.

Being born and raised in Minnesota, I know how rough winters can get. Growing up, I never imagined I would find a career outside. I love winter, but I did not love it that much. A few years ago, I found my way into the tree care industry, and winter is now my favorite time of year. I get excited because winter in Minnesota means it is time to climb my favorite species of trees, oaks! They have such beautiful structure and are always a perfect amount of challenge.

Also, I hate being hot and sweaty.

Another great reason I love winter is because it is stovetop season. No, I do not bring a kitchen set or outdoor burner with me. I utilize the truck I am driving for the day. We leave our trucks running during the winter because it provides a warm sanctuary from the cold. Also, because the trucks are diesels, they just might not start back up on the colder days.

If I put any of a variety of prepared meals on the dash, with the defrost on high, my meals will go from cold to warm by lunchtime. In the summer, it is so hot and muggy that I do not eat a filling lunch. I usually find fruits, veggies and chips to snack on. During the winter months, it is nice to take a break away from the cold for lunch.

On Sundays, I will prepare meals for the week. I have made stews, pastas, soups and even some protein meals that have all been warmed up on the job and tasted just as good as when first prepared!

Breakfast burritos are awesome, as well, if you are tired of the gas-station ones. I make mine with eggs, potatoes, peppers, onions, protein, Cajun seasoning and cheese. Make sure you toast them for a little while before wrapping them in foil or the burritos will get soggy. When it is a sauce-based dish in a Tupperware container, I like to use the vented lids. That way the steam can get out and they don’t get pressurized. I was shocked the first few times I attempted this cooking technique; meals can get seriously hot.

If you are spending the morning on the ground, put your lunch on the truck “stovetop.” That way, every couple of hauls of brush you can spin the meal around to heat it up evenly. If you spend the morning in the bucket or climbing, you can ask your co-workers if they will kindly help you out. I find they are more willing if you bring a little extra for them.

It is a helpful way to utilize the tools at hand and help survive winter! I hope this helps someone else who may not find winter enjoyable. It really is the best time of the year, for me at least.

Sydney Hudzinski, ISA Certified Arborist, is a crew leader in the Eden Prairie, Minnesota, office of The Davey Tree Expert Co., an accredited, 49-year TCIA member company based in Kent, Ohio.

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