Fork on the Road
Andrew and Molly are on the road on this week’s Go Fork Yourself. On a three-hour car ride to Iowa, they chat about road food, cars, GPS, and where you’ll find the cleanest pit stops.
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Andrew: Coming to you live from high atop Food Works headquarters conveniently located directly above a Subway sandwich shop, it’s time for Go Fork Yourself, with me, Andrew Zimmern and my travel and food obsessed doppelgänger, the lovely, the beautiful, the smart, the funny Molly Mogren. Slap on your helmet, buckle up kids, it’s time to go fork yourself.
Andrew: Did I catch you coming out of the girls’ room? What was that, “hi”?
Molly: Hi. I don’t know.
Andrew: Sort of blustery, bashful.
Molly: I don’t know. It’s just that, we recently spent a lot time in a car together, and I’m just kind of sick of talking to you.
Andrew: Actually we’ve just spent two hours recording interviews on our podcast and you’re really sick and tired of talking to me. I think the audience will pick up on your distaste for conversing with me during our road trip episode. I think they’ll pick up on it just fine.
Molly: Oh yeah.
Andrew: It’s there. You don’t even have to guess at it. It’s like, “Get me out of this car. Please make it stop.”
Molly: Well the thing is, okay let’s talk about this quickly.
Andrew: We should tell people by the way. This is a special episode of the podcast, Go Fork Yourself. Recently I had to go give a speech in Lake Okoboji, Iowa.
Molly: Which is in the middle.
Andrew: Yeah it’s three and a half hours from where we live.
Molly: And two hours from the nearest airport.
Andrew: Correct. So you have to drive there. And I made you come with me, because I’m a spoiled little child and didn’t want to be alone in the backseat of a car.
Andrew: What was the highlight of the trip for you with me?
Molly: I kind of liked our pit stop at the gas station. Both of them.
Andrew: Interesting. No, we did have two good pit stops. One on the way there, one on the way back.
Molly: In Blue Earth.
Andrew: Do you want to know what the highlight was for me? At one point, I don’t remember which, and you may be able to fill in the blanks here, you turned to me with this exasperated look on your face that I see from everybody who I’m really close to, and said, “Aren’t you going to ask me a question about me?” Basically I’m paraphrasing, but that may have been kind of what you said.
Molly: You know what I was just going to say is usually on road trips, you probably don’t, but I find I have the best conversations with people on road trips. You really get deep into stuff. I don’t know. Do you find that?
Andrew: I don’t get deep into stuff with anyone.
Andrew: I’m a very shallow surfaced person on the outside and in real life I stuff things down low where nobody can find.
Molly: Right. Well maybe that’s best that we didn’t get too deep into any conversation.
Andrew: No. It was a comment/question that I get all the time from people who I’m close to and it actually made me really happy, because it meant that I’m really close to you.
Molly: It was like, “Why don’t you just shut up?”
Andrew: Combined with the irritation that I wasn’t sharing enough of the real me. I thought it was fantastic.
Molly: It was. It was a growing moment.
Andrew: It was a great day. I think we have an interesting product to share with you. This is actual, unexpurgated recordings of us on our road trip to Iowa.
Molly: I’ve got to just say, god bless Kim, our driver, who put up with whatever.
Andrew: She’s a professional. Kim drives me a lot and she sits in the front there and she doesn’t take a lot of crap and she heard some of the weird shit coming from the back seat and she didn’t do anything.
Molly: The really weird conversation unfortunately was not recorded. Unfortunately actually, it’s fortunate for your reputation I would say.
Andrew: That it wasn’t recorded? As in most things in my professional life. Anyway, without further ado the road trip podcast, Molly and Andrew go to Iowa. Enjoy. We’ll let it play through till the end of the show, so I will tell you now just to go fork yourself.
Andrew: It was a great idea and it was all yours. The credit goes to you and Beth for putting this together. I was just an un-indicted co- conspirator.
Molly: Of course.
Molly: Well, I’m in hour three of a ride to Okoboji, Iowa. Haven’t you ever wanted to go on a three hour road trip with your boss?
Andrew: Three hours and 45 minutes.
Molly: Each way. All in one afternoon. I’ve never wanted to do it and yet that is what I’m doing. We just stopped at a convenience store in Blue Earth for some pretzels, some of Madge’s homemade fudge and coffee. I got a Dr. Pepper. Now our driver Kim, lovely Kim who’s driving us in this lovely Lincoln Towncar, which by the way they stopped making in 2010.
Andrew: Kim is like family to me though.
Molly: Yeah. She is.
Andrew: She’s driven me for years.
Molly: For sure and Prince.
Andrew: Put it this way. If you were a Minnesota mega-celebrity, I mean big wattage, Kim takes care of you, period. Zimmern, Prince, Mogren, probably the occasional Minnesota Twin. You’re a Viking or two, maybe some Eastern European junior hockey player about to become a big star on the Wild.
Molly: What about Josh Hartnett?
Andrew: Josh Hartnett. A Horst.
Molly: A Horst, yes.
Andrew: Garrison Keillor. Believe me, if you’re anyone you’ve been in the back of Kim’s car.
Molly: That sounds dirty. I’m sure she appreciates that.
Andrew: I’m eating a pretzel, excuse me.
Molly: I’m eating a Sour Patch Kid, which is the best road trip food.
Andrew: Let me just point out your scene setting sucked.
Molly: I just spit right into your cheese curds.
Andrew: Then you lied, because you forgot to say on your side of the car is a 16 ounce Sour Patch Kid and a Chex Mix.
Molly: Which I haven’t opened yet.
Andrew: It doesn’t matter.
Molly: The thing about Chex Mix is don’t you know? It has 60 percent less fat than regular potato chips.
Andrew: Chex Mix is good for you. It’s got all of your basic vitamins. I’m off to do a speaking gig, you’re coming with me to take video of the demo.
Molly: Well that’s the thing. I’m coming to take pictures because I don’t have the camera, but I can tell you that on the podcast so you can’t berate me.
Andrew: That’s fantastic.
Molly: I could take video with the camera I brought.
Andrew: You could do some.
Molly: I can.
Andrew: It probably won’t be as good.
Molly: It won’t be as good.
Andrew: It’s good. We’re just getting into this whole video thing.
Molly: We are. Beth K. Gibbs did a good job editing some of our stuff from Austin.
Andrew: I bet she did. We’re in the back of the car. Two hours in, we pulled over to the rest stop. Nobody enjoys a good rest stop visit more than people in the Midwest. Folks in California, New York, Florida, Oregon, Portland, Massachusetts, the coastal people, they don’t understand when we say Midwestern rest stop convenience store, they really don’t understand what we’re talking about. A minimum of 40 gas pumps, slots for 200 18-wheelers, place that has showers in the back that you rent by the quarter hour, multiple stall bathrooms, little Ye Olde Fudge shop in one corner, wall of slurpies in another.
Molly: Don’t forget the fashions.
Andrew: The clothes are unbelievable. A lot of American flags on stuff, a lot of embroidery t-shirts.
Molly: Hilarious bumper stickers.
Andrew: Hilarious bumper stickers like, “My other ride is your mom” and stuff like that.
Molly: “Badass girls drive badass toys.” It doesn’t even rhyme.
Andrew: No, it doesn’t.
Molly: Because boys rhymes.
Andrew: Right. That’s the kind of place that we’re talking about. Where you can get pizza, fried chicken, sandwiches.
Molly: You don’t get fried chicken. I don’t think you get it at Midwestern ones.
Andrew: You can get fried chicken in a lot of them.
Molly: Really? I’m thinking more like Subway.
Andrew: Yeah they have little hot side stuff. A lot of them have the kiosk and things, but we’re talking about these big, giant.
Molly: Some of them say the Hearty Plate Diner.
Andrew: Correct. They have an amazing clientele as well. I’m not talking about the itinerant travelers like you and me that bounce in and out and may never get to the same one twice. I’m talking about the regulars who use it as their local hot spot restaurant, hangout. The one we just stopped at in Blue Earth, no one believed me that her name was really Madge, the woman who ran the place.
Molly: I believed you.
Andrew: Did you believe me?
Molly: I saw it on her name tag and if I had just met her I would have maybe guessed Peggy.
Andrew: She looked like a Peggy, a Madge.
Andrew: Margie. Yeah. Very much Midwestern Grandma. I went immediately. I did not want to get bad – They had bad pizza, they had bad pre-made sandwiches. Here’s the thing people get there that always freaks me out. The cups of pasteurized fruit, or the hard-boiled eggs. Who would get a hard-boiled egg in a convenience store? It’s the last thing I get there. Kim would of course. I’m not a big hard-boiled egg guy, but I was really thrilled they had 1919 rootbeer on tap. You serve yourself, you could pour it into pints or quarts, but they had dixie cup samples.
Molly: There were a lot of samples there.
Andrew: Madge knows how to run a convenience store, because as you turned to me and said, “This is the best convenience store I’ve ever been to on the highway.”
Molly: It was good. They had free samples of cheese, free samples of homemade fudge.
Andrew: I went for the Baumgard’s Dairy cheese curds, which are absolutely fantastic. So we’re eating those with pretzels in the back of the car.
Molly: A little squeaky.
Andrew: They are. The nice thing is a lot of people do fruit and cheese. I’ve been doing sour patch kids and cheese and I hate to tell you, the tart sweetness of them is really nice with the cheese.
Molly: It’s sort of like an apricot spread preserve?
Andrew: Sort of. Look, you can go to a Jose Andres restaurant and have some sort of rare, runny sort of sheep’s milk cheese and some fantastic quince preserve or membrio, or you could just get in the back of a car and do a Sour Patch Kid and cheese curd.
Molly: I’m going to do that together. You’re not actually doing it together.
Andrew: I do it to finish, to cleanse the pallet.
Molly: I’m actually doing it together.
Andrew: Not bad. Salty, sweet.
Molly: Yeah the texture’s not working for me, but next time I’ll try it your way.
Andrew: You see what I’m saying?
Molly: It tastes like apple cheese.
Andrew: There are a couple things I look for in road food, because I’m constantly in a car stopping at rest stops. Something that Minnesota does not have is the f’real milkshake machine. Have you seen them in your travels? It’s f’real. I don’t think there’s a statewide franchise, because I think the way it works is, you buy it territory and you then can sell the machine to convenient stores on the highway. Then what they do is they stock these plastic cups filled with a soft serve frozen yogurt flavor. There’s 40 different flavors of f’real and what you do is you peel off the aluminum top, you put your cup into this machine, up the cup goes and you pick do you want yours loose? More milk or thick? Less milk? The machine then puts a whirly-gig down inside it, blends it and in 60 seconds later gives you a custom blended milkshake called a freal. Ben Hammock, our assistant director, producer on Bizarre Foods America, in whose car I travel when we’re making the show. He has like five jobs. He’s the only person who does five jobs on our show. When we’re on set, he’s the associate producer, associate director, third camera guy, he does everything and then he also handles the car the producer and I drive in. The producer and Ben and I are always in the car together.
Molly: By the way, what kind of cars are you driving?
Andrew: Usually it’s a Chevy Astro minivan or something like that.
Molly: I don’t think those are technically minivans, they’re like the full size vans.
Andrew: Well they’re kind of…
Andrew: Occasionally we’ll get the Lincoln Town and Country, the Cadillac of minivans, but that’s rare.
Molly: I like the Transport SE.
Andrew: Yeah. Sometimes we’ll get a Toyota Venza or something. Anything that’s big and chunky with a big back seat. Ben and I got addicted to f’reals and now we only stop at stores that have them.
Molly: How do you know?
Andrew: Because they always have a sign outside saying, “We have f’real Milkshakes.” I think you get the sign free. f’real. That’s a really, really nice bonus. The other thing I like to get when I’m in convenient stores, I like the shitty fried chicken, I like the shitty pizza.
Molly: No. Tastes too much like eating a washcloth.
Andrew: No I know what you mean. I love the different flavored Slurpies that are regional.
Andrew: In the south, I had a banana one that just blew my mind. Certain parts of Texas there’s a lot of lemon lime and cherry and things like that. Up here it’s more of what do you want? Red or blue?
Andrew: They don’t even come with the flavors. Red or blue?
Molly: What’s the deal with the Coke ones too? I don’t get that.
Andrew: I love that and the frozen Fanta, frozen Coca Cola.
Molly: I don’t know. Doesn’t do much for me.
Andrew: Fantastic. Do you ever buy one of the oranges or under ripe bananas at the counter?
Andrew: What about scratch offs?
Andrew: What about condoms in the men’s room?
Molly: No, usually not in the men’s room, though I will go in the men’s room sometimes, but just if there’s a long line for the women’s bathroom and it’s a one seater.
Andrew: Wait. Whoa. First of all and I’ve told you this before, I’m not afraid to say this in front of the world, okay? I feel very paternal about you and my love for you that way knows no bounds and the idea that you would use a men’s room for your little daintiness?
Molly: If it’s an emergency, I will.
Andrew: If it’s an emergency, run behind the rest stop and lean off a tree.
Molly: No. Girls don’t do that.
Andrew: I would rather crap my pants than sit on the seat in a rest stop by the side of the road.
Molly: Are you familiar with hovering?
Andrew: You do a lot of Pilates and stuff don’t you? So you can do the hover. I used to be able to do the hover. What I do and this is no joke. I will go out in the woods, because once a week when I’m shooting, you’re hunting. There’s nothing and someone has given you one too many cups of crappy coffee or a shitty sandwich, but you go and you literally just squat and hang off a tree. I always carry TP with me.
Molly: I know. I’ve heard a lot of your emergency bathroom stories.
Andrew: I’ve been on planet Earth for 51 years, so the first five years of my life, ages zero to five are filled with emergency bathroom stories. Then every four or five years, once you hit 35, you get some fun emergency bathroom stories.
Molly: Yeah. I mean I have a couple I suppose too, but yours are way worse than mine, but you’ve had more years. You’re right.
Andrew: I’m a really good emergency bathroom storyteller.
Molly: Yeah. That’s the other thing is I maybe wouldn’t be as likely to tell a sharting story as you.
Andrew: I’ve been in Mexico in Mexico City and had disaster strike in a way that it never should happen to anyone and I was carrying a pocket knife thank you Lord, cut out my underwear from my pants. I have had to pull over the side of the road and hide underneath somebody’s flowering shrub and take care of business at two in the morning in a residential neighborhood. What was the improv thing that I did?
Molly: HUGE. You just took a crap right on stage.
Andrew: No, but I told the story in Bali, I desecrated a sacred temple by accident.
Molly: But it was a pretty big deal.
Andrew: It turned into a small, international incident. That stuff just follows me around like a bad cloud. Getting back to the subject though, you will occasionally sneak into a boys room and hover.
Molly: I have weird visceral reactions to bathroom stuff sometimes. A dirty bathroom will make me on the verge of throwing up, but the thing I can’t stand is the smell of a urinal cake. I can’t stand that smell. It makes me want to barf. That’s why I don’t like using the men’s bathroom even if it is an emergency.
Andrew: Is that that tasty little peppermint hockey puck, is that what that is? You want to know something?
Andrew: Have you been to Japan yet?
Molly: Not yet.
Andrew: Okay. It will ruin you forever.
Molly: Why? Are the bathrooms so nice?
Andrew: You take a bullet train eight hours out of Tokyo or whatever, right? And you rent a car and you’re driving and going from one place to another and there’s an Exxon station or Shell or local gas station. You pull in. First you notice how gorgeous and clean and neat everything is. Everyone greets you. Sometimes there’s a greeter at the door. The food is phenomenal. The Japanese have mastered atmospheric packaging. You’ll see whole bento boxes that are atmospherically packaged, like what of those Oscar Meyer treats where you get the cheese and the deli meat.
Andrew: It’s kind of like a high end lunchable in a little tray. Sometimes there’s an Onsen cart where there’ll be broth and 50 different types of poached little fish balls and turnip cakes. The quality of the stuff is really, really good. Then you go to the restroom. To say that it’s perfectly sanitary is the reason why you’re there in the first place, but a Japanese highway rest stop bathroom is cleaner than most people’s bathrooms in their homes.
Molly: I like the sound of this. They’re designed with all tile and steel. You can see these nozzles all over on some of them, where the end of the day, the door seals, you hit a button.
Molly: You flush the bathroom.
Andrew: And you flush the bathroom. So put it this way. It’s a bathroom where you don’t have to take paper toweling out of a dispenser to turn the handle on the door or the handle on the sink to wash your hands. How great is that?
Molly: It’s pretty great.
Andrew: Rest stop of your dreams.
Molly: Can’t you just drive us to Japan.
Andrew: Straight to Japan and don’t stop until you hit Tokyo.
Molly: And don’t talk to us.
Andrew: You’re just fascinated because Kim was ‘fessing up some of the requirements that some people have when they are renting a car. Can’t talk to the client and can’t do this, can’t do that. Have to have a certain type of water. Only wear green or whatever it is. I never understood it. I made fun of that kind of thing until I got into this business and had a couple of experiences where I came back to the office and you sit next to Dusti and I pull up a chair and I say make a note that the next time we book cars for me, we never ever do blank. And you just learn as you go on. There was one speaking engagement that I had where we let them arrange car service from the event at night to my hotel which was 20 minutes away. For whatever reason, they were very nice and we said yes. When they said we’ll arrange car service, I think it went down pretty innocently. I think someone on the committee that arranged for me to go down there and talk said ‘We’re going to hire a car for Andrew’ and then somebody else in the committee said, “Oh, no we’re super fans. We’ll drive him.” The person said, “Oh okay,” because they could save 50 bucks. This happened. This was real. I was away for two weeks filming Bizarre Foods. It was one of those months where I had three months at home. It was the end of a trip. I was super crabby. I stopped in this city to do this speaking gig, threw my stuff in the hotel, went to a book signing, went out to the University or wherever the auditorium was that I was speaking, did my thing. The after party was hosted by some civic group. I’m getting ready to leave and grab up my things, saying goodbye and I go outside and there’s no car for me. I go to the person who was my onsite contact and I said, “The car to take me to the hotel?” By the way it’s 11 o’clock and I’m angry. I’ve already been there for an hour longer than I wanted to be or was supposed to be.
Molly: Any of us would be crabby in the same situation.
Andrew: Absolutely. I was also hyper crabby. She says, “Oh, let me get the Smiths they’re driving you home.” It took 15 minutes to round them up. They showed up at the front door of this club with 20 friends and family. So they’re like, “Do you mind if we get a picture?” The next thing it went to midnight, I still haven’t left. I had to smile. Instead of just jumping into the back of a car and be driven home and actually getting some sleep. Then they drove me home. They had had a couple cocktails. I’m in their station wagon having to listen to their little stories of how much they love it when I put that eyebrow up and don’t really like the food and they’re asking me the six questions that you don’t want to answer ever but certainly not at midnight in the back of a family station wagon with strangers. I’m getting the, “Hold on, we’ve got to call Iris, Betty’s cousin because she’s a huge fan. She’ll be up, she’s in California.” They start calling relatives. “You wouldn’t believe who’s in the back of the car.” Once they did it once and they got the rise out of their cousin or sister or brother or whoever it was.
Molly: Are you trying to be polite?
Andrew: Of course I am. I’m a nice guy. I’m horrified. As I’m sitting there, they’ve got the fifth relative on the phone, I’m like, “Hi.” They’re like, “Oh my God!” I’m playing along and trying to be nice. I finally just started texting people. Dusti will remember the story. I texted her, Bethany, Rebecca, all the people that touched this project like, “I am trapped in the back of a family station wagon being driven God knows where. Cousin Dorothy is on the phone.” It was pretty funny.
Molly: Aunt Edna was strapped to the roof.
Andrew: Yes. Bethany and Rebecca and Dusti all texted me back within seconds going, “Come on, you’re kidding me right.” I’m like, “No!” It was one of those things you just don’t realize you have to put everything in writing. My point being is there are a lot of beleaguered folks, maybe less open minded than me, but they certainly have learned over the years. I need it contractually mandated, I’m picked up here. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want music in the car. I need two waters. I need this. I totally get that. I’ve gotten into the backs of the car after 36 hours of straight of crazy stuff I do and someone’s cranking tunes or on the phone and I don’t even have the strength to say, “Please can I just have peace and quiet?” Or someone who just wants to talk to you a little too much. It’s just a fact. My sympathies for these 22 year old starlets and musicians who have nervous breakdowns and are hospitalized for exhaustion quote, unquote. I know what that’s all about.
Molly: Yeah. Because you used to do a lot of drugs.
Andrew: There’s that too. It would help if they didn’t do that.
Molly: Yeah it would. Where are we right now? We got off the freeway and now we’re in a small town. We just passed Pizza Ranch, everyone’s favorite small town pizza place.
Andrew: That’s where Parkview Car Sales is. Okay.
Molly: We just passed the Des Moines River.
Andrew: This is downtown Jackson, Iowa. There’s the Lion’s Club softball field.
Molly: This is my favorite part of road trips is tooling through these little towns.
Andrew: Me too. There’s the Wishy-Washy laundromat, Chris’ Clubhouse with amigo-go’s. That’s taco night on Friday and Saturday, the Flower Market. This is Small Town, USA.
Molly: I love it.
Andrew: If you go into anyone’s house, there’s a lot of residential stuff mixed in, and they have homemade jam.
Molly: That’s probably true. Most of my road trips have been through Wisconsin, because A) that’s where I went to college and I’m from Minneapolis.
Andrew: And that’s where you troll for guys.
Molly: And troll for guys. That’s where Josh’s parents live also.
Andrew: Correct. So you’re always going back there.
Molly: Yeah, the thing that’s fun about Wisconsin road trips, and I realize that you don’t drink anymore, but one of the great things you can stop in small town little bars and get a burger and a beer. We go to this one place called Crazy Jerry’s off I-94, which is pretty fantastic.
Andrew: Pretty fantastic? I’d love to go there. I could get a diet coke and a burger.
Molly: You could. And it’s great because everyone at the bar is 1,000, Male, smell like cigs and they just go outside here and there.
Andrew: Do you know the Anchor Bar in Superior?
Molly: No, but yes.
Andrew: That’s a famous joint like that.
Molly: Isn’t it like that one little under the bridge area?
Andrew: Everyone is 1,000 years old. The guy flipping the burgers, you can see him from the bar and I’ve been there a bunch of times and we went in there once and the lady who owns the place or the guys wife or whoever it was, the grandma was in the back flipping and she was working six or eight burgers on the grill. A lot of orders came in at once, but she didn’t want to put out her cigarette so she stood at the thing and I watched her, and she had it in her mouth because she was using both hands, cigarette dangling out of the mouth. It was the greatest thing. I have a picture of that somewhere buried.
Molly: I love that kind of stuff.
Andrew: Yeah me too, and they make Anchor’s famous for their burgers.
Molly: Yeah I think there’s no better place in America than just the state of Wisconsin to stop anywhere for a beer, a burger and some cheese curds.
Andrew: It’s right up there and I know that you’re in love with the romance of Wisconsin being the one and only for that and it is a very special type of culture there for certain types of things. Remember this is the state that birthed the butter burger, so there’s a great tradition and certainly local suds palaces and it’s a state wide passion, but as someone who has driven through all 50 states, that has spent many years documenting. Each state has it’s own character for that kind of thing that really is magical in a really slick way. I wouldn’t call them burger beer bars in the south, but in Georgia the road side barbecue places and in Mississippi the meat and three joints. Every state has its own sort of… even Hawaii with the Poke stops and the fruit stands and things like that. It’s a great way to see this country is road tripping.
Molly: I love it. Josh and I are talking about doing a trip to Yellowstone this summer.
Andrew: Fantastic. I would love that.
Molly: I would too, because that means I can have a week off.
Andrew: No absolutely not, but you just gave me the idea so I’ll tell you what it’s like when I come back from it.
Molly: Great. Thanks. Sorry, you go.
Andrew: I think the best part about working at our place is the flexible hours.
Molly: It is good.
Andrew: …which I think all businesses around the world should adopt. I’m a firm believer in it. I haven’t done that drive. I think you’d love it.
Molly: You know I’ve worked for you from six different continents, that’s true.
Andrew: That’s correct. That is correct.
Molly: That’s pretty good. I got internet in Antarctica. You can do it.
Andrew: Right. It’s amazing and quite frankly, as someone who has a boss and who also manages people who work for me, flexibility is what it’s all about in the workplace these days. That’s why Madge, she can take her rest. She does not own that rest stop that we were in.
Andrew: But she makes all the fudge there.
Molly: She does?
Andrew: Yes. I asked her when we came in. You’ve got to let people pursue their passion so if you want to go to Yellowstone and stop at every bar drinking and burgering your way across the Dakotas I’m all for it.
Molly: Great. Well I’ll be doing that maybe.
Andrew: Are you going to take your dog?
Andrew: It would be fun.
Molly: It would be fun. She would be so cute playing with the grizzly bear.
Andrew: Getting eaten. Peeing in the back of Josh’s car. That sold you didn’t it?
Molly: Yeah. What is your most epic road trip ever? I know you grew up in New York and stuff. Did you have a car?
Andrew: I didn’t. Aaron did. We would road trip up to Vermont to go skiing. That was a lot of fun. We’d road trip to a lot of colleges under the guise of visiting them for purposes of matriculating there.
Molly: We may go to school here.
Andrew: I drove with my father from New York to Florida once.
Molly: How was that?
Molly: How old were you?
Molly: Okay. I was going to say if you were 38…
Andrew: I didn’t split the duties. He drove the whole way, but boy it was fun, stopping in motels. We stayed in a Howard Johnson’s hotel and ate in a bunch of Howard Johnson’s which was my favorite because you would have the clam bellies. This was during the days Jacque Pepen was corporate executive chef for Ho Jo’s.
Molly: If you watched, maybe that was based on you and your dad except for Don Draper and his new wife went to the hotel.
Andrew: They had chocolate lollipops that they sold at the cashiers that were white chocolate embossed on one side and milk chocolate on the back. They had pictures of Howard Johnson’s logo or weird animals. I’d always get one on the way out and dirty up the car with it. It was awesome.
Molly: That’s cute.
Andrew: Good memories. Really good memories. Then we were down in Florida. I forgot what we were doing down there. It was some old Jew relative, Uncle Heshie’s 80th or something. I don’t know.
Molly: Sounds fun. What kind of car?
Andrew: My dad… I think we went down there in either the Red Flash or the Beige Knish. He named all his cars. The Red Flash was a Cadillac Convertible, big boat fins. The thing would be worth a fortune today, just this stunner. Then we had a Beige Station Wagon that he called the Beige Knish because it looked like a giant Knish.
Molly: I feel like your dad, I can’t imagine him driving a station wagon.
Andrew: You should see my dad driving. He’s 86 and still drives. He probably shouldn’t.
Molly: What’s he driving now?
Andrew: What is he driving now? He only drives Ame- no, no, no. He has a Honda. The car before the Honda was a Volkswagen Beetle and that was the first time he bought a non-American car in his whole life. He always bought American and then finally just said, “Fuck it.” He probably shouldn’t drive, but most fascinatingly about him is you can always find him when he’s driving and the reason you can always find him is that you just stop by the side of the road, you get real quiet and you listen. Then you can hear him swearing at people as he drives by. He’ll swear at other drivers. He’ll swear at bicyclists. He’ll swear at pedestrians. He thinks that it should be him on the road and when he’s driving, there should be an alert that goes out to everybody. Stay in doors, Bob Zimmern has taken to the highway and you need to just….
Molly: My dad, he harbors a lot of anxiety when he drives. “When do I have to get over? When do I turn? When do I do this? When do I do that?’ And he over thinks the…” Do I pass this guy or do I not pass this guy? What’s this guy doing? This guys going too slow. That guy’s going too fast.”
Andrew: Is that an external monologue or internal?
Molly: It’s all external.
Andrew: Fantastic. I’m starting to do that these days according to those who drive with me.
Molly: Then sometimes he’ll swear, but he’ll swear like this which my brother and I just get a kick out of. It’s like, “What the fuck?” That’s how he says it.
Andrew: Does he use GPS?
Molly: Not really.
Andrew: Good. Tell him he shouldn’t. As someone who does that external anxiety thing, a weakness in a GPS just becomes horrific. When I’m driving, if I rent a car in another city, I’m going on a family vacation and this happened when we were in San Diego, it happened last time we were in Boston. You come in Boston through an area where there’s the tunnel, the bridge. There’s like seven options and things and they’ve changed all the signs, because they’re constantly doing road construction. The GPS doesn’t match exactly what’s going on.
Molly: You’re screwed.
Andrew: Paralyzed with fear, doing 80 because I don’t want to make the wrong decision and have to loop around. Noah’s got to eat. He’s cranky. Risha’s in the seat. She’s crabby.
Molly: I don’t really do the GPS that much either.
Andrew: Do you want to know the horrific truth? This is what I’d rather be doing.
Molly: Having someone else drive?
Andrew: All the time. We always like to rent the car, because when we go we drive two or three hours, get to the final destination and there’s a hotel and then we have the vehicle to go out with. You know something? I’d rather hire someone at the place to drive us to the one night we’re going to go out to the restaurant.
Molly: Yeah. I just always make Josh drive. Always. His parents’ house is five hours away. It takes forever to get there.
Andrew: Right. That’s different because you can’t really fly there.
Molly: No. It just wouldn’t be saving us any time. Plus you’ll be hauling crap back.
Andrew: You’ve got to fly to Milwaukee or Madison and you still got to drive two, three hours.
Molly: Well, it’s just like an hour, but yes. It doesn’t make sense, but I’m always like, oh if you’re tired I’ll drive, knowing full well I am never driving.
Andrew: He wouldn’t let you.
Molly: No. No not yet. I have driven maybe one hour of our many, many trips back and forth.
Andrew: In the truck?
Molly: Yeah. We’ll do the truck sometimes. We’ll have to take my car because better gas mileage. The snob, the slob.
Andrew: When are you getting a new car?
Molly: I don’t know right now my car is dead on the street and I need to get it towed.
Andrew: Is it really?
Molly: Yeah. It’s pretty bad. I don’t know what’s wrong with it.
Andrew: What’s wrong with it?
Molly: Well I think it’s an electrical issue, but see the problem is when you drive a 2006 Saab nobody knows how to fix them except the one dealership in Maplewood that’s a pain in the ass to get to. Now it’s becoming even more and more like just a weird dinosaur.
Andrew: Your car is still a fun car so it might be time to get some value out of it and trade it in.
Molly: I know. I just like it so much.
Andrew: Why don’t you get that new badass Saab convertible?
Molly: I don’t even know if it makes sense to buy any Saab because they’re really not making anymore.
Andrew: That’s a Saab story.
Molly: Ha ha ha. Josh drives a Saab too.
Andrew: Does he really?
Molly: Yeah. His grandma always had Saabs.
Andrew: Do you guys bond over that? Was that one of the cute little things that you talked about when you first started dating?
Molly: It was, it was a cute little thing. Yeah. All of his are 1990, 1987, really old and he likes to tinker with them in the garage.
Andrew: He’s a tinkerer?
Molly: Yeah. He’s pretty cute.
Andrew: I’ve now run out of things to talk to you about.
Molly: That’s funny.
Andrew: You’re just getting started aren’t you?
Molly: Well yeah, because you don’t ask me many questions.
Andrew: That presumes I’m interested in anyone but myself.
Molly: Yeah I know. That’s a good point.
Andrew: You know the real answer to that story.
Molly: I do.
Andrew: I did ask you about your car thing.
Molly: You did. Thanks. That was nice.
Andrew: Yeah. That was nice. There are cows here. We’re in the middle of farm country. Watch this. There’s a little angst anxiety button that went off inside me. I bet it’s because we’re out of cellphone range. Yep.
Molly: Are we?
Andrew: Yep. I’m on that E thing. So I can’t get digital..
Molly: Are those hives?
Andrew: Hence the panic.
Molly: That’s my favorite thing about being in a car is I don’t have internet.
Andrew: It’s driving me crazy.
Molly: I know I love it.
Andrew: Do you want to know something?
Andrew: Recently one of the new things with car service companies is that they provide wi-fi.
Molly: What? I hate that.
Andrew: My last trip in Chicago, my last trip in L.A., I got in and both times, they’re like by the way if you want to log on to wi-fi here’s the information. They passed me a card with the wi-fi log in stuff.
Molly: I thought this was my one place I had left.
Andrew: Nope. You do not have it left.
Molly: It’s just a matter of time.
Andrew: Now the reason why I want to stop talking…There’s also a real technical reason why. Would you like to hear it? It’s a good reason.
Molly: I’m fine with not talking to you any more.
Andrew: You ready for it?
Andrew: I’m about to go somewhere and talk for two and a half hours.
Molly: Oh right.
Andrew: So I can feel it in my voice, but also ,you only have so much good talking in you each day.
Molly: Yeah. Well I have a lot of good talking left. I’ll talk for you.
Andrew: You can talk for me. Do you know where we’re going tonight?
Molly: The Arrowhead resort at Lake Okiboji.
Andrew: It’s a family crisis and treatment facility called Seasons.
Andrew: Are you prepared to talk to that audience?
Andrew: Would you like to share with everybody what my plan was this morning for you?
Molly: No, what was it?
Andrew: I was going to leave you there for a 28-day stay and go over to the head of admissions and say my friend Molly has got a horrible drinking and drugging problem and we just really feel that she’s in a safe place for the next 28 days and we’ll see what happens.
Molly: Yeah. We had a sort of intervention thing in the car. She knows what’s up.
Andrew: Yep. She knows. The more you would scream, “But I don’t have a drinking problem,” the more they would say, “That’s okay dear, you’re in the right place. You just call that denial.”
Molly: It’s fine if you leave me there as long as Kim comes and picks me up.
Andrew: 28 days from now she will. I would be what’s his name?
Molly: Dr. Drew?
Andrew: You would be George Clooney and I would be Brad Pitt at the Ocean’s Twelve or Ocean’s Thirteen when George gets out of prison?
Molly: Kim would be Julia Roberts.
Andrew: Kind of.
Molly: Alright, I’m down.
Andrew: Down with it? See I made it interesting for you. It’s all good.
Molly: Sounds like a vacation.
Andrew: Did you bring your computer with you?
Molly: No. I brought my iPad.
Andrew: Oh. OK. You’re fine. Just keep up with emails while you’re there during breaks.
Molly: Great. OK. Thanks.
Molly: Go fork yourself.
Andrew: And you go fork yourself.
Beth: This has been a Food Works, Inc. production. Executive producer, Beth Gibbs. Hosted by Andrew Zimmern and Molly Mogren. Music by Andy Mogren. For more information visit andrewzimmern.com.
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