HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What's your latest food project? Tell us about it
TELL US

Cooking on vacation

iheartcooking Jan 5, 2014 12:02 PM

Some folks think I'm crazy, but I really like cooking on vacation, particularly camping but really anywhere where there's a cabin and a decent kitchen. Part of this is, many places we go have terrible or overpriced food choices (Delta, UT comes to mind first) but also, I just like it. In a couple weeks we are going to a cabin in the (hopefully) snow and I'm looking forward to preparing out meals after hiking and snow play.
Does anyone else feel the same? Do you enjoy cooking outdoors? Or in unfamiliar kitchens in a new setting?
By the way, it's different when you're visiting someplace with great food like SanFran or NYC.
What do you like to make? Am I the only one who feels cooking doesn't detract from relaxation?

  1. j
    jarona Jan 5, 2014 12:12 PM

    Every summer we rent an apartment in the South of France. I cook most every night. During the day we are at the beach or pool or out and about sight seeing or doing day trips. When we come "home" we stop off at various shops and gather our dinner makings. I love cooking the fresh fish or meat and great produce..and we relax on the terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I also enjoy cooking when we are in Paris..it makes me feel like a local...and I have more money to spend on shoes.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jarona
      l
      lemons Jan 5, 2014 12:29 PM

      This sounds great - where in the south of France?

      1. re: lemons
        j
        jarona Jan 5, 2014 01:19 PM

        Theoule-sur-mer

        1. re: jarona
          Kat Jan 5, 2014 02:09 PM

          Gorgeous place! We found this town driving around last summer and fell in love. Spent a day there on the beach, walked the seaside path by the cliff and had lunch (and too much rose!) at one of the cafes along the path. The view is beautiful and it felt like a breath of fresh air, away from much of the commercialism of the area. I envy you, my friend.

          Aside from that, I love cooking and shopping for food on vacation. It is one of the many pleasures of travel. My favorite meal during our stay in the south of France last summer was a simple roast chicken and salad that we prepared and enjoyed outdoors on our terrasse

          1. re: Kat
            j
            jarona Jan 6, 2014 03:24 AM

            It's heaven on earth..and the I know our vacay has truly arrived when we drop our belongings off , get in the car, and drive to the Geant hyper marche in Mandelieau to stock up on the necessities.lol!

    2. h
      Hobbert Jan 5, 2014 12:13 PM

      Definitely! I love staying somewhere with a kitchen and bonus points if it's walking distance to a market. I have find memories of family vacations to the Outer Banks and the huge meals my dad would make for dinner and breakfast. Plus, it's so much easier and less expensive. Sometimes, after a full day, I just want to eat in my pj's. And I hate having to go out for breakfast!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hobbert
        r
        Rick Jan 5, 2014 02:48 PM

        That's another reason! I don't usually enjoy breakfast out, very often it's overpriced and something you could make better at home.

      2. x
        Xine Jan 5, 2014 12:15 PM

        I like cooking on vacation if I am some place where the local ingredients make cooking a treat, where doing the necessary shopping is part of the fun. I've only ended up doing cooking on vacation while in Italy, and I loved it. Plus, it gave me the chance to drink with dinner, which I couldn't do if I was going to have to drive the Amalfi coast road to get us home from dinner, as I did on one trip.

        1. MamasCooking Jan 5, 2014 12:23 PM

          You are not alone. Nothing beats cooking outdoors especially if there is an abundance of regional/local ingredients, freshly acquired fish, foraged blackberries etc. If we are staying in a time share location that we travel to by automobile we bring favorite foods/booze and staples with us but look for great fresh foods to purchase and make a party out of.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MamasCooking
            q
            Querencia Jan 5, 2014 06:04 PM

            Your mention of foraged berries takes me back to one of the best breakfasts ever, a Cape Cod camping event of blueberry pancakes (after picking the berries up above Highland Light) and scrambled eggs with linguica, the local Portugese sausage. You ask if anyone else likes to cook on vacation. I would go so far as to say that people who eat only in restaurants on vacation and do not venture into local markets and use local materials and COOK miss about 25% of the experience.

            1. re: Querencia
              c oliver Jan 5, 2014 06:08 PM

              But those people are super happy not cooking. I have multiple friends who like nothing better than to go to all-inclusive resorts (Hawaii/Mexico) and never so much as make a cup of coffee. To each their own. Not for me but still wouldn't the world be boring if we all liked the same thing.

              1. re: Querencia
                MamasCooking Jan 6, 2014 12:55 AM

                I still forage for blackberries and if we had wild blueberries here in N California I would be out there gathering away. Right now I am trying to figure out a way to nab some loquats from the next door neighbors tree without being detected this coming spring:)

            2. a
              alisonm Jan 5, 2014 12:29 PM

              Add me to the list of people who love to cook on vacation! It probably stems from my childhood - we would rent a beach cottage (really, a plywood shack) for a week every year and cook out almost every night. One or two nights of those weeks, we'd go out for a meal, but for me, the best meals were eaten off paper plates while still in my bathing suit and wrapped in a towel. Our vaca spot was close enough (1.5 hours driving) that we would have family friends come up and visit, and it would be a huge day and a half long picnic. It was awesome.

              Next month, my husband and I are going to Costa Rica with a small group of friends and renting an apartment/condo thing. I've been there before, he hasn't. We have a full kitchen, a grill, and a well-stocked local supermarket a 5 minute walk away. I can't wait! We'll go out to eat a couple nights, but I'm looking forward to all of us cooking together...my friend who organized the trip also loves cooking and is really good at it (she worked in restaurants for over 10 years), so it's gonna be awesome...and delicious.

              1. c oliver Jan 5, 2014 12:43 PM

                We travel a good bit, both domestically and internationally. We house exchange when we can and rent small apartments otherwise. I hate staying in hotels for more than a couple of nights. I love to cook and especially love to when we're staying somewhere with great food. Barcelona about a year ago was fantastic. I carry all manner of cooking accoutrements when we travel. Over Christmas, which was an exchange, about four hours away by car, I carried chef's knife and microplane grater, various herbs and spices, good olive oil and vinegar. Over Christmas in the SFBA, I made coq au vin for our holiday dinner with our kids and grandkids. When in Barcelona I bought a lovely chicken and made Zuni chicken one night.

                Traveling like this enhances every trip. I'm glad others enjoy it also.

                1. t
                  travelerjjm Jan 5, 2014 01:14 PM

                  I love to cook when I travel. I often bring some spices, a knife or two, shrimp peeler, kabob skewers, and even a thin plastic cutting board. We love to spend time in Mexico and the food at the markets is often good and fresh. We've done it in probably half a dozen countries, in addition to the US.

                  Some people ask why. I usually say that it takes less time than taxiing to a restaurant and back, I get to have the wine I want, and I don't have to wear shoes! Plus, I know the ingredients are fresh...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: travelerjjm
                    q
                    Querencia Jan 5, 2014 06:08 PM

                    One thing easy to take if you are going to be cooking abroad is plastic bags. They weigh nothing, take up no space, and are priceless for storing food and leftovers, and the ones in other countries aren't as sturdy, I find.

                    1. re: Querencia
                      c oliver Jan 5, 2014 06:10 PM

                      And/or a roll of plastic wrap.

                  2. tcamp Jan 5, 2014 01:19 PM

                    Yes, me too. One of my fav traveling pastimes is to haunt the local market, farm stands, even interesting grocery stores. Shop and then cook it up!

                    1. s
                      Sherri Jan 5, 2014 02:16 PM

                      It's very refreshing to read this post. For a long time, I thought that I was a freak of nature since I have been doing this for years. Many of my women friends request that I do NOT share this information with their husbands since they wouldn't be caught dead cooking on vacation; they want to go out every night. Me, I love haunting local shops and cooking in 'soft clothes' [which translates to 'comfortable clothes & no shoes]. I will admit to foraging for wild foods on the California coast but that's all I'm saying. I'm already looking forward to our next trip.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sherri
                        c oliver Jan 5, 2014 02:21 PM

                        I too know people who delight in eating three meals a day out while on holiday. That's my worst nightmare. A typical day is breakfast in, lunch out, shop for food and cook dinner. Your "soft clothes" are called "loungewear" by us. Same thing and yes to no shoes. Occasional dinners out. And we also save a lot of money which is a plus for us. We like to travel a good bit and frugality is a big part of our ability to do so.

                      2. h
                        Harters Jan 5, 2014 02:22 PM

                        Depends on the availability of good ingredients as to whether it's a pleasure, rather than doing something simply as a change from eating out.

                        For example, we're going to Spain twice this year - next month for three weeks and in September for two weeks. September will be a joy - really good weekly market in the town, good bakers, good butchers, etc. On the other hand, where we're going next month, the quality of produce is not good - worse than at home. There will be little actual pleasure in the cooking, although being able to eat outside on the terrace, in February, has got to be a bonus.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Harters
                          c oliver Jan 5, 2014 02:31 PM

                          Good point. I'm thinking back and it seems most places we go have really good food. Maybe why we go there? In Feb. we're petsitting for friends in Manhattan for two weeks. Now we're really talking :) Upper West Side and only a block and a half to the subway.

                        2. f
                          foodieX2 Jan 5, 2014 02:31 PM

                          We rent a place every summer that has a community kitchen and I love cooking there. The kitchen supplies are adequate, people share staples, the camaraderie is heartwarming and its just plain fun.

                          We bring cooler and boxes of stuff with us, hit the local farmers market for fresh produce and the docks for great seafood. The local foods are great too so we we probably eat out 40-50% of the time.

                          1. biondanonima Jan 5, 2014 02:32 PM

                            Going to local markets is one of my favorite things about traveling, whether I have cooking facilities or not - but I enjoy it that much more when I can buy and cook interesting new local foods!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: biondanonima
                              r
                              rainey Jan 5, 2014 02:51 PM

                              I was a preschool teacher. I also enjoy shopping in new places and I like comparing the different "familiar" things. I often took pix for my kids so they could see how wonderfully ice cream cones are displayed in Italy and what cars look like and what another culture's take on a market is, even the pavement on streets. I wanted them to think of the "givens" in their lives and what choices they will have in life if they look beyond the habitual. Besides, it's just fun!

                              It reminds me of a time I was HI and thought I'd take in the local Costco. It would have been a hoot if locals weren't packed in there like sardines. No exaggeration. If I had more patience and a better point of view it might have been instructive to see their techniques for pushing carts in that environment but, take it from me, don't bother trying to shop in the Costco on Maui it you don't master that technique first or skip the cart and shop with a backpack.. ;>

                            2. r
                              Rick Jan 5, 2014 02:43 PM

                              We also enjoy cooking on vacation. We often rent homes rather than hotel rooms and always enjoy cooking in a new area. We even have a list of what pantry items to bring along with a chef's knife and our favorite pan. This past summer we went to Hilton Head, SC and had a week full of scallops, shrimp, crab and various other local caught fish. When we were in New England we had lots of lobster dishes. It's much less expensive this way plus you eliminate the disappointment of a bad meal out. We also enjoy shopping at new markets and even grocery stores, it's fun to see what it's like in other places.

                              Even when we go on weekend trips we like to stay at a hotel with a kitchenette. We enjoy having a full size fridge and the ability to prepare a late night snack.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Rick
                                c oliver Jan 5, 2014 03:02 PM

                                We did a house exchange on Cape Cod a few years ago. Went to the local seafood market every day. What a luxury! The only thing lacking were enough wine glasses so we went to a thrift store and picked up a couple more for about a buck each :)

                              2. r
                                rainey Jan 5, 2014 02:44 PM

                                When we used to do ski vacations we always rented units with kitchens and took the ingredients for some favorite foods. Hell's bells, I even took my bread maker and a slow cooker with me.

                                You never know how these vacation kitchens will be equipped so I took whatever ingredients I wasn't sure would be readily available. For the first day or two I took the produce already measured and chopped in vacuum bags so I could feel like I was on vacation just assembling.

                                I took a good utility knife. It's rare that you get even a barely serviceable knife.

                                As for the bread, I'd incubate a pre-ferment overnight and set up the machine for bread in the morning before we went out using the delay feature. It's one of the times I can think of that I ever used the "bake" setting but there was nothing like coming back from a day on the slopes and find a hot meal waiting without having to deal with reservations, crowds or even dressing.

                                Eventually, we'd be ready for some restaurant foods but getting to combine the pleasures of relaxing and feeling home-style comfy was great. So was experiencing new places. Above all, we had choices. Hooray for choices!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: rainey
                                  c oliver Jan 5, 2014 03:04 PM

                                  We live in ski country and when people come to visit I always cook. After a day on the slopes about the last thing they want to do is go out. Change clothes, sit in front of the fire and eat and drink.

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    r
                                    rainey Jan 5, 2014 04:23 PM

                                    I soooo agree! Altho we did enjoy a resto meal some time as well. But you get enough lines and food compromises on the slope so what you know will be good and available and relaxed is The Best™ after you've beat yourself up all day. … in such a *good* way. ;>

                                2. o
                                  onrushpam Jan 5, 2014 02:44 PM

                                  My sister and I love cooking together on vacation, whether at one of our homes or in a condo or beach house. We did our 2013 T'giving dinner in a condo in Branson, MO and it was great. We probably were a bit crazy... she brought her KA mixer for making bread. I made cranberry sauce, cornbread for dressing and the gravy ahead of time and brought it all with me. We actually only did a small grocery shop once we got there.

                                  We've done great meals in many locations, cooking inside and out. It's always fun. We especially enjoy beach trips. But, we're looking forward to making some fabulous picnic food on our next trip... July 4th at Tanglewood! :-)

                                  1. w
                                    wineos Jan 5, 2014 02:45 PM

                                    I loooove doing this and couldn't think of a more perfect vacation! I relax when good smells are coming from *my* kitchen. Enjoy!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: wineos
                                      c oliver Jan 5, 2014 03:06 PM

                                      "My" kitchen at Christmas was the first time I'd ever had a place as well equipped as my own, in some ways even better (one of them obviously bakes and I don't). I was in heaven. Plus we were about five minutes from a great market and another 15 to San Francisco!

                                    2. s
                                      Springhaze2 Jan 5, 2014 03:04 PM

                                      Another crazy person here that loves cooking on vacation. I see it as a challenge and part of the fun of being on vacation, especially if it is in a location with ingredients I cannot get at home. I also love cooking when camping - coming up with new and inventive ways to cook great food with limited equipment.

                                      For short weekend mini-vacations, we also love to going to places with great restaurants, but family vacations are usually planned around being able to cook.

                                      1. q
                                        Querencia Jan 5, 2014 06:00 PM

                                        No, I love to shop and cook in different places. A rented holiday accommodation usually presents challenges in its limitation of equipment but, one copes. If you are driving there, absolutely take your crock-pot---if you are out skiing all day and have chili waiting and ready at home, nothing could be better. Using materials "special" to the area you are visiting is great, etc seafood in New England, veal in France, baby artichokes in Spain etc. In expensive Paris our rented holiday flat had only two pans so I often did boil-in-bag rice in one and picadillo in the other (ground beef, onion, raisins, olives, tomato sauce, cumin--anticipating, I took the cumin and raisins with me from home---eating in sometimes allowed restaurant splurges other times).

                                        1. q
                                          Querencia Jan 5, 2014 06:12 PM

                                          I looooove this thread and send thanks to the OP for starting it. I thought I was weird. I would much rather rent a place and make a home, however temporary, HATE eating in restaurants all the time, and can spend a whole afternoon in a foreign supermarket, which is like a cultural museum to be studied lovingly (who knew that they sell premade strudel dough in Austria, premade quiche dough in France, and premade rugelah dough in Israel?).

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Querencia
                                            c oliver Jan 5, 2014 06:29 PM

                                            Premade rugelah dough in Israel????? Argh. We're going to be there next week but on a tour so staying in hotels. Sigh :)

                                          2. Ttrockwood Jan 5, 2014 06:35 PM

                                            I would ***much*** rather stay at a condo/apt with a kitchenette than a hotel- i get really sick of eating out all the time very quickly. Grocery shopping overseas is one of my favorite past times! I'll always have breakfast in and then eat out for either lunch or dinner. I don't get to travel much in the winter but always make it back to cali where i grew up- every trip i over buy at the farmers market and enjoy cooking for my family and having such pristine vegetables available (i live on the east coast and oct-april the veggies are kind of pitiful....)

                                            Trips camping as a kid some of the most memorable meals were made on the campfire, and what kid doesn't love roasting mashmellows??

                                            1. j
                                              janehathaway Jan 5, 2014 09:20 PM

                                              I used to love researching restaurants for months ahead of trips. Then I had a child who has severe food allergies to so many foods that dining out is almost impossible. For awhile, we avoided travel and then we decided to assemble a travel kitchen and just travel that way. We have a few large bags. One contains a single burner, a toaster oven and a few pans. The other is packed with staples that I know are safe for my daughter. We also have a cooler. We try to do local shopping too. It's turned into quite an adventure.

                                              1. f
                                                fourunder Jan 5, 2014 09:35 PM

                                                If came down to having to dress up, wait any amount of time to get a table in a restaurant... for mediocre food..

                                                I can see where cooking a nice steak on the BBQ would be no problem as an alternative.

                                                1. jadec Jan 6, 2014 04:03 AM

                                                  It looks like I'm the exception here. I don't go on vacation to relax and am usually traveling in fairly off-the-beaten track places so cooking is not a priority or a possibility. I also want to try local foods and cooking. Exceptions might be a homestay when I observe or participate in cooking with the host.
                                                  I have cooked to save money (Australian outback) but generally prefer not to.

                                                  1. h
                                                    Hobbert Jan 6, 2014 04:50 AM

                                                    Even if I'm not cooking, I like to go wander around grocery stores. It's interesting to see what the staples are and I like to pick up unusual candy and snacks to take home.

                                                    1. j
                                                      jammy Jan 6, 2014 06:21 AM

                                                      We always always always get accommodations with a kitchen. It saves a lot of money in the long run, you can eat what you like, when you like and you get more of a taste of how it would be to live in an area.

                                                      18 Replies
                                                      1. re: jammy
                                                        t
                                                        teezeetoo Jan 6, 2014 07:00 AM

                                                        we rent houses in Europe with friends every year: Portugal, Italy, Germany and France and have done so for many years. It is our pleasure to find the wonderful local markets and food. We may eat lunch out when we are exploring and sight-seeing, but almost always return to cook dinner together, so we can enjoy our wine and food without driving. We almost always rent a place where we can cook outside and with a garden or terrace. It is part of the joy of our vacation.

                                                        1. re: teezeetoo
                                                          l
                                                          lemons Jan 6, 2014 07:20 AM

                                                          Do not underestimate the value of people with whom you can successfully vacation. Not easy to find.

                                                          1. re: lemons
                                                            Veggo Jan 6, 2014 07:31 AM

                                                            Lemons, that is SO true. I have had good fortune in that regard, but I have heard MANY vacation horror stories.

                                                            1. re: lemons
                                                              h
                                                              Hobbert Jan 6, 2014 07:40 AM

                                                              Omg yes. This is vital. It took me a long time to realize a good destination won't make up for travel companions whose style doesn't mesh with yours. I just can't travel with people who don't prioritize good food and treat food as an adventure like I do.

                                                              1. re: lemons
                                                                c oliver Jan 6, 2014 08:18 AM

                                                                lemons, some years ago we went on holiday in England and Scotland with a couple we clearly didn't know well enough. They were so dreadful (extreme racists, picky eaters, sleep in late, etc., etc.) I left after three days and returned home.

                                                                1. re: lemons
                                                                  f
                                                                  fourunder Jan 6, 2014 08:33 AM

                                                                  I went on a golf trip to Austin, Texas one year with three other guys.....I could not convince one of them to go for BBQ in 7 days.

                                                                  1. re: fourunder
                                                                    c oliver Jan 6, 2014 08:35 AM

                                                                    Good grief! What was acceptable fare?

                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                      f
                                                                      fourunder Jan 6, 2014 08:55 AM

                                                                      I tried to go to Uchi....no takers. I went to County Line, because it was right across the road from Barton Creek Resort where we stayed. The one night we did go out, we went to some Tex-Mex place called Chuy's, a local chain of sorts...not bad. Afterwards, it was close to a place called Sam's BBQ, so I made them go with me to get take-out....it was in a bad area and they got solicited for donations by people walking past the van. One lady they gave $5 to and she walked a few feet away and turned around to complain and say *how am I supposed to feed my kids on $5*..I thought that was great

                                                                      The meals were all in the Resort....breakfast, lunch and dinners. One of the guy's owned a restaurant and complained about the price of a lunch Salad ($19) and a Burger with 2 JD on rx ($40). I laughed at him and told him that's the same prices he charges at his restaurant...and he was complaining about the prices at a $600 million dollar property.

                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5905...

                                                                      If you get a chance, read the thread in it's entirety. it's one of the few posts I've ever started that was very helpful and the Austin Folk were very generous with their time....unlike my NJ Board.

                                                                      1. re: fourunder
                                                                        Veggo Jan 6, 2014 09:16 AM

                                                                        Chuy's usually gets trashed on the Austin board, but I think their tortilla soup and fajitas are very good. And I like the sign on the door: "No Crybabies".

                                                                    2. re: fourunder
                                                                      Veggo Jan 6, 2014 08:43 AM

                                                                      Strange. Most golfers eat well, and Austin has great Q. I mostly used to play Onion Creek and Barton Creek when I lived there. Onion Creek has Bent grass greens, only ones in the area.

                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                        f
                                                                        fourunder Jan 6, 2014 10:04 AM

                                                                        Strange. Most golfers eat well,...

                                                                        One guy was a Pescetarian...I give him a pass on the Q, but not Uchi....

                                                                        One guy...was not into food. He eats to live, not lives to eat.

                                                                        The restaurant owner....he's a CIA grad who is just cheap and has no problem putting out crap. The Pescetarian got married and had his reception at his restaurant....the guy served Sea Legs in the Seafood Salad and Crabcakes.

                                                                        Thanks for the heads up on Onion Creek...and I'll keep you in mind for PV

                                                                        1. re: fourunder
                                                                          Veggo Jan 6, 2014 10:30 AM

                                                                          Ben Crenshaw generously joined me for numerous playing/teaching rounds at Barton Creek. I will be forever grateful to him, and of course his "fifteenth club", Harvey Penick, RIP

                                                                          1. re: Veggo
                                                                            f
                                                                            fourunder Jan 6, 2014 10:46 AM

                                                                            That's a pretty hard golf resume to top....however, a round with me and my mindless banter with trash talk may be more memorable......thanks for sharing.

                                                                            BTW..other than my visit to Sam's and the full morning Breakfast Buffet at Barton Creek....it was the worst, or most disappointing food experiences I ever had on a golf trip.

                                                                            1. re: fourunder
                                                                              Veggo Jan 6, 2014 10:51 AM

                                                                              C'mon, 4under, there is no shortage of low handicappers who eat well and travel well. My Denver group did countless trips to Vegas, Orange County CA, New Orleans, Scottsdale, as much for food as golf.
                                                                              I was the only non-Jewish member of the "Rich Jewish Guy's Club" that does an annual blowout in Scottsdale...:)

                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                f
                                                                                fourunder Jan 6, 2014 10:55 AM

                                                                                No argument here.....I've had many a good meal while in North Carolina, Florida and California....even Myrtle Beach...

                                                                                It's just with this particular group, all the meals were in the hotel and no bar hopping.

                                                                                I'm looking to do the Tennessee and Alabama Golf Trails for BBQ in the near future.

                                                                                1. re: fourunder
                                                                                  Veggo Jan 6, 2014 11:11 AM

                                                                                  Be sure to order the cheese and shrimp grits at Shoal Creek in 'Bama!

                                                                    3. re: lemons
                                                                      t
                                                                      teezeetoo Jan 6, 2014 02:18 PM

                                                                      yes we are extremely fortunate. we have travelled together for more than 15 years, to Turkey, Europe, Puerto Rico and within the States. We have been lucky to coordinate our schedules, share similar travel styles, love food, adventure, and roll with the inevitable unexpected happenings. We have never had a bad house rental either, which I gather is also lucky. I have several friends whom I love but cannot travel with: they are picky, critical, grouchy and seem to think the weather is a personal affront. So we really do know how fortunate we are to enjoy each other and our trips.

                                                                      1. re: teezeetoo
                                                                        geminigirl Jan 7, 2014 11:26 PM

                                                                        A bit off subject, but do you have any site recommendations for house rentals? We do the US, but I want to get my travel buddies out of the country! Thanks!

                                                                2. r
                                                                  rosepoint Jan 6, 2014 09:13 AM

                                                                  Yes! We love to cook overseas. We pick our destinations around markets and cooking classes. France and Thailand have been two highlights where we really like to visit local market and then go back and cook what we find. We have been to Japan 3x now and always eat out. Come to think of it we never cook in Hong Kong either. After our last trip I would really like to rent an apartment next time. We've also planned trips around food fairs like the BBC Good Foods show (alcohol samples!) in England and the Salon d'Agriculture in Paris. Talking to the actual food producers in my very broken French is always the highlight of the trip for me.

                                                                  Grocery stores are a mandatory stop for us overseas. How else can we get all the wonderful spices, sauces, and other items that we eat long after we get home while reminiscing about our trip? Sometimes it looks like we've packed half a grocery store in my bag coming home.

                                                                  I've been known to travel with as little as a chef's knife and a meat thermometer or half a bag stuffed with spices, rice, and other items not worth having to buy in bulk once we are at our destination. I have a travel closet where I store things like collapsible measuring cups, etc. just for travel. :-)

                                                                  1. c
                                                                    Coribdx Jan 6, 2014 11:01 AM

                                                                    I have a 40ft fifth wheel trailer, so I guess that would count! My kitchen goes where I go, and I keep a fully stocked pantry, and take advantage of the local food offerings wherever I am.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Coribdx
                                                                      c oliver Jan 6, 2014 01:33 PM

                                                                      We used to have about that sized Class A and cooked up a storm. But dinner parties were limited to us and two guests :)

                                                                    2. monavano Jan 6, 2014 03:01 PM

                                                                      When I get home from traveling, all I want to do is cook and eat salads.
                                                                      We vacation in the OBX with our dogs each year, and I enjoy planning our meals. I make a couple things ahead and freeze, but do make some ad hoc dinner decisions based on what's local.
                                                                      Problem is that our kitchen there is rather limited, but the rest of the house meets our needs so perfectly, that I put up with it.

                                                                      1. scubadoo97 Jan 6, 2014 03:58 PM

                                                                        Glad to see this thread. Makes me feel more normal as I would love to cook on vacation.

                                                                        When we did yearly trips to the Keys when the kids were young I packed the car with a cast iron skillet a cutting board and a good knife as well as a water filter. These were my essentials. Just needed to find a good seafood market and a general grocery store and I was set.

                                                                        It kills me to pass an unbelievable market in a town and not be able to take advantage of the local produce when we travel

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                          c oliver Jan 6, 2014 04:09 PM

                                                                          "It kills me to pass an unbelievable market in a town and not be able to take advantage of the local produce when we travel"

                                                                          After a couple of decades of independent travel, we did an escorted tour in Turkey last year. It was an amazing trip, absolute bucket list. But not being able to cook all those wonderful things we were seeing every day was the only downside. Their agriculture is broad and deep and I'd have loved to dig into it.

                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                            monavano Jan 6, 2014 04:10 PM

                                                                            I pack a pan or two and my knife. Can't deal with the crappy rental equipment.
                                                                            My only gripe is that the rentals are generally packed to the hilt with every stupid kitchen gadget, leaving no room for food.

                                                                          2. j
                                                                            Jeanne Jan 6, 2014 08:27 PM

                                                                            Love this post! Yes, I cook on vacation whenever I can.

                                                                            My family has a time share in the Outer Banks which we usually go to every year. Depending on who in the family goes we often go out for lunch and I'll cook dinner. The fresh seafood is fabulous!

                                                                            I always make shrimp and grits - my family loves it. Last time I made beef stroganoff and artichoke chicken (a great recipe from a local cookbook), we grilled burgers, etc. Over the years I've made many things.

                                                                            About 7 years ago 7 friends - 2 from Canada and 2 from Seattle, met in Bucerias, MX for a big BD celebration for two. We all stayed in the same rental complex - a 2 level duplex on the ocean and 1 BR efficiencies in the back of the property. I was in the top 2 BR duxplex with 2 friends. We had a "Mexican fiesta" night for the 2 BD folks, one who was 65, the other 55. I cooked and the owners and several other friends came so there were 11 people. The BD boy's wife helped me shop, we went to Costco in PV, a wonderful local seafood market, local store, and a local tienda type place for fresh tortillas.

                                                                            I ended up making shrimp ceviche, guacomole, achiote pulled pork, Tix in Chix, Drunken Beans, my “Mexican rice”. Also had corn tortillas, chips, salsa, had lettuce, shredded cheese, etc for fixings. The birthday girl made mango margaritas for everyone and there was beer.

                                                                            My "roomie" shelled the shrimp and the 65 y/o BD boy juiced the limes (at least a dozen). It was wonderful! Everyone had a great time and there was so much food left over that the next night we did a repeat (with a few less people!). One of my favorite memories!

                                                                            1. flourgirl Jan 8, 2014 01:49 PM

                                                                              We often rent vacation homes and we usually cook a lot of meals at home - but no, generally I don't love it. I'm just not that comfortable cooking in other people's kitchens and in my experience, even the nicest rental homes can leave a lot to be desired in terms of being well equipped in the kitchen. If we're driving, I can at least bring a few things, but if we're flying, I can't drag that much with me.

                                                                              1. l
                                                                                lisaonthecape Jan 8, 2014 02:59 PM

                                                                                Having time to cook (as opposed to getting dinner on the table quickly after a day's work) IS relaxation for me. We've been travelling mostly to Italy, but also NYC, San Francisco, Montreal, Quebec City and most recently London, since my sons were toddlers. We started renting apartments with kitchens to avoid eating out 3 meals each day, which is bound to lead to bad behavior, especially if you're in Rome and dinner begins at 8 p.m. at the earliest. Even as the kids grew older, we still enjoyed having breakfast at "home," a leisurely lunch out, then dinner back at the apartment. We started exploring local markets, armed with a paperback copy of Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook (when wifi was a luxury, if available at all) and cooked whatever was in season. We had a lovely Christmas dinner in London this year with a turkey crown purchased at a local butcher, roasted parsnip bread pudding, and Brussels sprouts. On our last night in the flat, we made "London leftover turkey soup." I don't mind cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, although I usually travel with one decent knife and a sharpening stone. We also enjoy camping, which includes real meals, not just burgers and dogs on the grill. Something about the outdoors really whets the appetite.

                                                                                I think you're in good company, cooking on vacation.

                                                                                1. e
                                                                                  evagreg Jan 20, 2014 08:49 AM

                                                                                  Yes, we love to cook at leisure, with a glass of wine or so, when we are on vacation. That's why I was thrilled to learn that the the best seafood market in the Outer Banks is right near where we'll be staying in March.
                                                                                  We are only going to be in Myrtle one night on the way from Tampa this time, but I learned last time we were there that "fried" isn't even on the menu in some places because EVERYTHING is fried. Not the best way to enjoy seafood to my mind, so now we'll have a good place to decide what to eat and cook it at the timeshare.
                                                                                  I came on this site to see if there IS anything affordable and new in Myrtle where we can get dinner one night.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: evagreg
                                                                                    c oliver Jan 20, 2014 08:59 AM

                                                                                    You'll need to post that on the appropriate regional board.

                                                                                  Show Hidden Posts