Snacks are an essential part of travel. They keep hunger — and impulsive, hanger-driven decisions — at bay, sustaining long days on the road (or on your feet). They also offer a tiny piece of home, whether it's the familiarity of a pack of peanut M&Ms when you're in a foreign country or the knowledge that you've got your go-to granola handy for breakfast.
With snacks and travel on our mind this month, we reached out to five road warriors, people who are away from home as often as not. They've got snacking down to a science — and they're sharing their tried-and-true tips.
Binta Niambi Brown is the CEO and founder of Fermata Entertainment and Big Mouth Records, a start-up label seeking to shake up the business model in the music industry. Formerly a corporate lawyer for some of the world's biggest entertainment companies, including Time Warner, Dreamworks, and HBO, Brown is no stranger to an on-the-go lifestyle.
But her philosophy on snacking might surprise you: This road warrior places a premium on sit-down meals. In the midst of the day-to-day madness, she still manages to set aside time to enjoy food, to feel grateful, and to commune with her artists and collaborators in the kitchen.
We spoke with Brown over the phone to hear her philosophy on food and snacking, and to get a glimpse of her method for finding calm in the midst of the storm.
Binta's Non-Snacking Tips
1. Break bread with friends and coworkers.
For Binta, food is always better in the company of great friends and family. "Some of my favorite times when we're in the recording studio is when we all take a break and sit down and eat together and we're sharing ideas," she says. After all, Binta notes, when you break down the word companion to its Latin roots, its literal meaning is "with bread." "Isn't it interesting that that's the definition of companionship?"
The team at Big Mouth have been working on an album for the past several months, and Binta explains that they travel to Los Angeles for anywhere between three to six weeks at a time to knock out various parts of the project. "When we're there, I love the feeling of bringing everybody into our house ... bringing our producers and other musicians together and just making food together," she says. "It's as enjoyable for us as it is to make music together."
2. Make time to be thankful.
When you're really busy, you end up eating on the run a lot. But Binta makes a point of being grateful. "I'm a fairly religious or spiritual person, so every time I sit down to eat, even if I'm doing it on the run ... I always take a moment before I eat, and I always take a moment to express my gratitude for having food to eat," she says.
3. Find the space for a meaningful moment.
Recording days are busy days and Binta says the crew eats the vast majority of their meals together. "It ends up being a nice time for us to kind of take a break," she notes.
Just the day before, she tells me, she and the team had been listening to the album they're currently recording, and they stopped to prepare and enjoy a meal together. "We consciously sat at the table together before going into the studio," she explains. "We didn't take the food with us; we sat and we talked. And then when we were done, we were ready to go."
She admitted that "with the go-go-go-ness" it can be difficult to create space. But, she says, "We're not animals and we're not machines — we are people. And it's not like [how] you just put a little bit of gas in your gar and then you get going. A car is not a human being. To me, food is celebratory and a source of great joy." There is, she says, "always time to create space."
Do you make time for real, sit-down meals when you're on the road?