Grace Hwang Lynch

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

Grace Hwang Lynch

Grace Hwang Lynch
Silicon Valley, California,
December 31
I'm a former television news reporter. Currently a communications consultant, freelance writer, and mother of two. I write about raising a multicultural family at HapaMama, and I'm also the News & Politics Editor at BlogHer. My work has been published in several magazines and newspapers, as well as in the anthologies "Lavaderia: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash and Word" and "Mamas and Papas:On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting" by City Works Press. Follow me on Twitter: @HapaMamaGrace


NOVEMBER 8, 2010 12:02AM

Wrap It Up For the Road

Rate: 10 Flag

Big Holidays are perhaps the most loaded with meaning during those times in life when you don't have family or a community nearby. That was the case for me, one year, when I was living in the remote ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes, California. 

I was expecting to work on Christmas Day, but at 4 o'clock on Christmas Eve, my boss had a change of heart and waved me off, " Merry Christmas! Take the day off!" With Tioga Pass — the main east-west route from the Bay Area, through Yosemite, to the Eastern Sierra — closed for the winter, the drive home to see my family would take a prohibitive 12 hours. But the trek to my boyfriend (now husband) and his family in southern California was a mere five hours. Quickly, I packed my bag and jumped in the car.

Schat's Bakkery photo

  Photo from Schat's Bakkery website

Driving south on U.S. 395, the last major "town" between Mammoth Lakes and the L.A. Basin is Bishop, known for trout fishing, Mule Days, and Schat's Bakkery — a family run Dutch bakery housed in a Hansel and Gretel building . There, I managed sneak past the closing doors and pick up one of their last Stollens, so I wouldn't  show up at my future in-laws completely empty handed.  

 Pre-holiday traffic can be formidable, but you know what's even more disconcerting? The eerily abandoned highway of the actual holiday. Highway 395 follows the Owens River through the high desert of the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. It is rugged sagebrush country, punctuated only occasionally with tiny towns like Big Pine and Lone Pine (whose Alabama Hills are the backdrop of nearly every Hollywood cowboy movie). There is Manzanar, one of the sites used to intern Japanese Americans during World War II. Only an old guard shack remains to remind of us its ugly history. What the 395 lacks in built environment, it more than makes up for in natural splendor. Towering over the southern end of the corridor is Mount Whitney, the tallest point in the contiguous 48 states.  Nearby lies the Owens Dry Lake, an alkali dustbowl left behind by the funneling of the Owens River to the City of Los Angeles.

As interesting as these way points are, they do nothing to address the grumbling in one's stomach. In the mid-1990s, U.S.395 was one of the few arteries in the country yet un-colonized by Starbucks or McDonald's. Charming as they may be, the local watering holes — with their flickering neon signs —  didn't look to be good dining spots for a single woman travelling alone at night.

I drove for hours, me and my grumbling stomach, until the town of Ridgecrest, where among the mid-century rocket launching modernity, there was an AM/PM. Mmm, hamburgers  warming on rotating metal bars! I plunked down my 59-cents and scarfed it down on the last leg of my journey.


 When travelling, the journey should be part of the fun —  including enjoying the local flavors. But as I learned from my holiday drive down 395, that isn't always possible or prudent.  In the years since then, I've developed a couple of guiding philosohies:

 1. Don't travel on an empty stomach. Driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic or untying your shoes in front of strangers for the fifth time in a day are irritating enough, without low blood sugar contributing to your low patience. Even if the road you are travelling is paved with Cinnabons and In-n-Out Burgers, pack something (even if it's just some granola bars or nuts) for the journey!

2. Don't leave a refrigerator full of food to rot while you're away. The worst part of most trips is coming home. What's even worse is coming home to a refrigerator that smells like a compost bin.  Avoid stocking up on groceries before a vacation, and try to use up what you have on the way out.

My solution: the pre-Thanksgiving wrap, two variations. They use up ingredients I often have lying around the kitchen — deli turkey slices, leftover rotisserie chicken, tortillas, apples, salad mix — with the help of a few holiday themed accoutrements.

Turkey and Cranberry Wrap

Turkey wrap 009web


1 tortilla, flatbread or Lahvosh

Deli turkey slices

Cream cheese, or other spreadable cheese (I used Chevre)

Cranberry Sauce

Salad Mix, lettuce, sprouts or shreds of whatever vegetables are in your produce bin


1. Spread tortilla with cheese

2. Layer with turkey slices, leaving the last few inches bare

3. Add a few dollops of cranberry sauce

4.Lay the greems in a row near the end of the tortilla which is covered with turkey.

5. Tightly roll it up, moistening the bare end of the tortilla with a little water or cream cheese.

6. Seal the whole thing in plastic wrap and remember to take it with you!


Chicken Salad Wrap

chicken salad wrap

 Photo taken with my simple point and shoot camera, set on macro mode

(usually indicated by the flower or leaf icon)


1 tortilla, flatbread or Lahvosh

Shredded rotisserie chicken

1/2 Diced apple

A handful of raisins


Salad Mix, lettuce, sprouts, etc.



1. Mix chicken, apple and raisins with mayonnaise to suit your taste.

2. Spread the mixture over half of the tortilla.

3. Add greens in a row near the edge of the tortilla covered with chicken salad.

4. Roll and moisten with a little water or mayonnaise to seal.

5. Wrap, pack and go!

Don't forget to throw in some fruits and cut up veggies. Sweet potato chips are also a festive snack to get you in the holiday spirit.

All text and images, unless otherwise noted ©2010 Grace Hwang Lynch

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These look great, Grace! I love wraps, and chicken salad's a favorite. I enjoyed the story, too.
We live and we learn. You exhibit the wisdom that takes us from being cautionary tales to becoming shining examples, Grace. Great wraps, plus a timely reminder about the fridge. :) Rated
Oh, the food rot! Will I ever learn to follow rule #2? Nice post, Grace. If it were me, I would have eaten the Christmas stollen by the time I got to my destination. You have great self control! :-) Rated
Sweet story, Grace. Wraps are a great idea for travel. And you gave some really great tips, too.
What a good idea. I have used travel as an excuse to eat fast food (which I love - terrible taste I have, right?). Now I am really trying to follow a pretty strict diet and just can't do that anymore!
wow, that just makes me hungry, those look wonderful. And, terrific tips for food/travel. I do a lot of photo solo road trips and always think that if I just eat less on the road it will be a good way to lose weight. I've never been successful with that. I guess I need to tote healthy fare.
you know, the fact that your photos of your wraps are so good is not helping, I'm hungrier now, but still busy working...well, working and looking at OS.
bbd- I gained ten pounds working as a "one man band" reporter-photographer. It's an occupational hazard! But theses wraps are pretty healthy, I bet you could rustle up something similar for lunch.
Thanks for the common sense tips along with easy and practical recipes. Wraps are also very popular for brown bags lunches.
Great post and great advice. Grace, I am big fan of your writing.
Grace, this is a great story & I love your "before you leave home" advice. I sometimes will make chicken broth or vegetable broth before I leave. Sometimes, I'll take bags of produce to my neighbors on our way out of town. The wraps are beautiful & I love that you use cranberry sauce in the sandwich!
Those wraps look tasty! And I love your story of your long holiday drive; it sounds quite colorful. I'm surprised you didn't eat that Stollen in the car--I would have!
Yes, I thought about eating the stollen... but I was brought up to never show up at a host's door empty handed!

Thanks for reading!
yum yum and thanks for the tips. rated