Here’s Everything Squirrel Flower Ate on Tour

“Louisville, KY and Portsmouth, NH are notable shows where I got fucked from eating fried taters.”

This past winter, Squirrel Flower’s Ella Williams kept a log of everything the band ate on tour for the second issue of the Talkhouse Reader — the Food Issue. The Reader is out now digitally and in print, and Squirrel Flower’s latest record, Tomorrow’s Fire, is out now on Polyvinyl. 
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music

I begin writing this in the passenger seat of my van, just past El Paso driving east on I10, 9 PM. Just ate an incredibly sad excuse for a Cobb salad from a Sprouts and shot back two turmeric shots. Been driving since 9 AM. Desperation meal for sure. I didn’t even put the dressing on the salad. We’re two-and-a-half weeks into a four-and-a-half week tour, and that’s when shit starts to get weird… But I’m gonna rewind to the first week or so of the tour, when we were eating well, I was documenting it all, and the road was still new.


January 20: Chicago to the Twin Cities. 

Our first real day of tour. Day after playing my biggest sold out show yet in Chicago. Had to get to Minneapolis. I left my house at 6 AM with my friend and merch seller Carolina to pick everyone up. My guitar player Chet lives near Red June cafe, so instead of figuring out my own breakfast, I stopped there and got a hot Americano with milk (the lord’s drink) and an egg sandwich.  

On the seven hour drive to the Twin Cities I ate some Triscuit Thins and snacked from a five pound bag of roasted unsalted almonds that my drummer Jacob always brings on the road. When we stopped for gas, Chet got a Love’s burrito and ate it cold. He said it was a 7/10. I think he was really hungry. 

After soundcheck, we got some pho. Any sort of light soup is the best for pre-show dinner. I’ve had far too many experiences eating French fries and tots before a show, only to not be able to sing from sheer thirst. (Louisville, KY and Portsmouth, NH are notable shows where I got fucked from eating fried taters.) But really, anything heavy can impact the voice, the breath capacity, sinuses, etc. Being a vocalist takes some high maintenance shit!


January 21: Minneapolis to Omaha. 

We woke up in my old friends’ parent’s house, where we usually stay when we play the Twin Cities. They’re lovely people and incredible cooks. They left out fresh homemade gingerbread for us when we got in at 2 AM the night of our show (!!!!). We all feasted together around a table of coffee, orange juice that tasted fresh outta the orange even though it was out of a can, delicious eggs, toast, fruit salad (pomegranate, kiwi, clementine, blueberries), homemade yogurt, and love. 

For dinner in Omaha, me and Carolina got ramen. The rest ate some delicious looking vacuum-sealed Indian food meals that my bass player Michael brought from home. My drummer Jacob slurped a raw egg up with a straw. We all ate handfuls of arugula. We drank Josh wine.


January 22: Omaha to Denver. 

In the morning, we tried to go to an Ethiopian cafe that was inside of a Godfather Pizza building, but it was closed. Instead, we got some fancy coffee shop shit (hot Americano with milk for me… I used to be a decaf bitch, then was doing half-caf, now I’m back on full caf). We saw a priest in full outfit walking with a 12-pack of beer. Monday morning. 

Later, in North Platte, NE, we went to a grocery store called Gerry’s. Chet got “Mrs. Gerry’s Jalapeño Popper Salad.” If you’re wondering what that is, so am I. I heard it was good though. 

Once we got into Denver that evening, we went right to a health food store. I have EBT, so I prefer to get food from grocery stores as much as I can to use government bucks instead of my own. I got a turmeric shot, some super fermented kraut with beets (probiotic type food is sooo important for well being), some sliced turkey, nice cheddar, greens, and sourdough. Got back to where we were staying and made a couple sandwiches. Food you make yourself on the road, even just a sandwich, is so rare and it feels so good! 


January 23: Denver

The next morning, we all made a huge delicious egg scramble.

Mid-day I had another turkey and greens sandwich, then after our show I got some white cheddar PopCorners and ate some Honey Mama’s — this delicious chocolate bar coconut dessert thing that Carolina turned me on to. It’s made with honey instead of sugar (I don’t eat refined sugar, but I love sweets so this shit is a dream come true).


January 24: Denver to SLC

Travel day. We drove from Denver to Salt Lake City, through the mountains of Wyoming. The rocks and mountains looked so smooth and delicious, I wanted to eat them. Sometimes I really do want to eat the earth… or clouds… clouds must be so delicious. For breakfast, we had some god awful breakfast sandwiches from some spot that took 45 minutes even though it was empty. You win some, you lose some. 

When we got to Salt Lake, we watched Thelma and Louise. I fucking love that movie and wanted to share it with my bandmates, none of whom had seen it. Once it ended, Carolina got some frozen pierogies. They were pre-boiled and the instructions were to specifically fry them, not boil them again. We didn’t have any butter or oil. Jacob, who eats probably three tins of canned sardines a day (he’ll tell you, if you “stay small” — meaning the fish size — mercury isn’t an issue), offered a nice idea: “You can use the oil from my tinned fish to cook your pierogies!” I knew it wasn’t gonna smell nice, and I’m allergic to fish, so the idea of the air being filled with hot concentrated fish oil didn’t seem that great to me. But, I love them, and wanted them to have their hearts’ desires. They did it. It smelled worse than we all thought. Had to air out the place for a while. I hid in a different room. At the end of the day, I’m glad they did it, even if it was deranged.

It is funny, we all have our own food quirks. Jacob has now collected probably 30 different tins of fish. Carolina is very resourceful and saves everything in a big box in the van. Michael and I need our bougie coffee shops or we throw temper tantrums. Chet is very easy going and pretty much goes along with whatever’s goin’ on (classic Libra). 

On tour this past July, we made instant oatmeal in the parking lot every day to save money. But the thing is, when you’re on the road for a while, sometimes you really just need your comforts. It’s about striking this balance between what is financially conservative, what will make you feel good physically, and what will make you feel comforted and at home while in a metal box barreling for 9,000 miles at 80 MPH. I would say that tonight, with my horrible Cobb salad that I bought with my EBT, I checked one or two of those boxes. But tomorrow is a new day.

The new Talkhouse Reader is out now digitally and in print.

Squirrel Flower is helmed by the Chicago-based artist Ella Williams. Their latest record, Tomorrow’s Fire, is out now on Polyvinyl.

(Photo Credit: Alexa Viscius)