Friday, March 19, 2010

Cooking while Traveling

I thought I'd share our strategy for cooking when we travel. We take four to six trips a year and normally stay in condos, either Ron's timeshare, or mine. His condos have dishes, ample cookware, coffee, tea, basic spices like salt, pepper, Italian, dried parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and dried onion, dishwasher detergent; mine have dishes and cookware. (I sold mine last year when we bought a joint membership at Grand Mayan in Cancun.)

I get the impression that many, if not most people don't cook much while traveling; perhaps they don't do it for entertainment like I do. In fact for me, cooking is a vacation. I dream food! One of the other reasons we cook is that neither of us is particularly fond of fast food, eating in restaurants for several days can really add up, using money that would be better spent on something else-lift tickets, for instance.

I've learned when we travel, at least in the states, to take along a few essentials. Maybe more than a few, and they can change depending on what I think I might plan on cooking. Our last trip, for instance, I'd brought pork loin chops, lamb chops and chicken drumsticks. The friends who joined us brought salmon caught on their last trip to Canada, which we barbequed and I featured in an earlier post .

They once called me and asked if I liked duck...boy, do I, however until then I hadn't had duck since my Dad hunted when I was a kid. They invited me over for roast duck, wow, it was a dream come true! Yum-yum!

In no particular order:

Coffee; Ron drinks instant, but the condo usually has a couple packets of drip-type
Coffee creamer; Ron's also
Tea; I like loose tea (I elucidated in an earlier post my love for tea and my fave tea shop) but I often take bagged teas on trips. Convenience factor. In fact, I've bought so many boxes of bagged teas on trips, I take it now just to try to use it up
Olive oil
A couple cups of flour
A couple cups of sugar
Sea salt in mill; I need a new one, the one I have doesn't work so well
Peppercorn mill
A mix of spices; this time it was Montreal seasoning mixed with dried parsley flakes
At least one head of garlic
Red pepper flakes
Dried rosemary (that I grew and dried)
Spice packets leftover from prior condo excursions, once opened they discard them, this way they aren't wasted
Some kind of pasta
Microwave popcorn. Usually we watch a couple of movies, but that week we watched the Olympics

Miscellaneous stuff that might rot in the refrigerator during the week if we don't eat it before we leave!
Since we were skiing that week, sandwich ingredients-bread, sliced turkey, cheese, mustard, mayo
Salad ingredients-lettuce, green onion, green pepper, bleu cheese dressing, mushrooms
Hershey's chocolate for my chocolate milk in the mornings
(Not to get on a soap-box, but if you are even mildly environmental, follow this link about Nestle's marketing and try to be cognizant of where what you eat comes from and what resources might be used producing it)

If we're driving, this all goes into coolers and a box or two, if we're flying, obviously we don't take as much as we have to fit it into luggage, which takes space away from the number of shoes I can take! With these basic items, we can go to the store at our destination and cook pretty much anything we decide to buy.

Happy traveling! Which reminds me, we are going to New Orleans in May. I've never been to The Big Easy and am very excited, so if anyone can suggest some really great things to do, drop me a note...


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