The top three things I miss while traveling are;
- My cat
- Taking a shower without wearing flip flops
Happens every time: HOB and I are in the midst of a fast-paced trip when we visit a local market and I’m overwhelmed with longing to cook all that beautiful produce.
Now that Airbnb is a thing, it’s getting easier to stay in a place where we have the ability to cook.
Visiting the Baltics this past fall we were able to indulge in the local lust for mushrooms because we were renting rooms with kitchens. Not only were the mushrooms tasty in our tummies but we were able to warm our cheap hearts with the knowledge that the €3 worth of mushrooms from the market in Estonia would have cost us $40 from Whole Foods back home.
Cheapness aside, HOB and I prefer to eat home-cooked food because it tastes good and is usually the healthiest option. In our non-traveling life we prepare simple meals from scratch and rarely go out to eat.
So you’re thinking we pretty much have this travel cooking thing down, right? Well, no. While we are champs at salad making and of course, picnics, our efforts at travel cooking are pretty scattered. Even though we end up at least half of the time at either an apartment or a hostel with a kitchen, the roadblock isn’t access but time. Real cooking, even the simplest, takes time and time for us is a commodity in short supply.
HOB and I travel in short chunks—two weeks or less—with a busy itinerary involving frequent changes of location. As much as I want to cook with sexy local produce, I don’t want to sacrifice any of our site-seeing to chopping and cleaning up. And even if we do find ourselves with a bit of time and the luxury of a well stocked kitchen, we can only purchase enough supplies to last a day or two before we strap our backpacks on and move along.
Given the complications, our travel cooking usually consists of pasta with tomatoes dumped over it, baked potatoes or some variety of eggs (a half-carton is ideal for a couple of days, with any extra boiled for picnics). In theory, vegetables that can be cooked whole on a sheet pan, like asparagus or peppers, would work, though we don’t often manage a place with cooking oil and a decent sheet pan.
Dear readers, do you cook while traveling? If so, please share your no fail super-simple recipes and tips. We’ve got a trip coming up and I sure don’t want to be eating stuff from cans.