Do you cook while traveling?

The top three things I miss while traveling are;

  1. My cat
  2. Taking a shower without wearing flip flops
  3. Cooking

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.

mushrooms

Now that Airbnb is a thing, it’s getting easier to stay in a place where we have the ability to cook.

mushroomsjpg

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.

mushrooms

 

 

 

41 comments

  1. I rarely cook while I travel, first like you said it can be time consuming and if you are only at the place for a few days I rather visit. And second, for me eating local is part of the travel experience, trying local dishes, new flavors etc. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure: that’s why I adore street food so much! 🙂

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  2. I’m a duffer at cooking, and the better half does most of the cooking at home so deserves time off. Abroad we usually snack on simple things like bread and cheese, nuts and fruit which we can eat in our hotel room or as a picnic while, like you two, we act the culture vultures and sightseers that we planned to be. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now we are on to my favorite subject—snacking. And it’s been a few years since we’ve visited France. but whenever we’ve been there we eat cheese like it’s our job. Beautiful, stinky, unpasteurized cheese, ahhhhhhh.

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      1. And French white, crusty and eat-before-it-gets-stale bread. And peaches. And chocolate. And…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Not the biggest of cooks while travelling.
    I agree that with Airbnb that makes cooking easier if the utensils are all there!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be really random, though, how well places are stocked. We stayed in one place that a million mugs, but no much else. And then we stayed in another with a kitchen that was shared with one other room. The place was super well stocked (they even provided local bread and eggs). In that place HOB and I got up early to find that the people in the other room had used up all the foods for breakfast and then left all their dishes in the sink. 😦

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      1. Well at least someone was happy!
        We just stayed in the most amazing hosted Airbnb in Victoria, Australia where our host cooked for us – great home cooked and local produce and great value.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds lovely!

        Yeah, good point, the other way to get home cooked food is to stay in a guest house where someone else does it for you. Those have been some of my favorite meals!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Betsy Roux · · Reply

    I do try to cook… it certainly brings down costs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it sure does help us stay in a budget. Do you have any go to meals that work for you while traveling?

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      1. Betsy Roux · ·

        eggs because they are so versatile and available everywhere. Add some veggies and you got yourself a meal.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! And healthy too (though I probably would put in cheese which is not so healthy…)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lately we tend to park ourselves for at least a few days at a time in one place that has a kitchen. We madly sight-see all day, with plenty of coffee and snacking stops, then we tend to chill out in the evening and make very simple meals like egg whites and a lot of fruits and vegetables–nothing too exotic or spicy, or we might not sleep well. (Of course AGE has nothing to do with it). I pack my own familiar seasonings, and we haul around things like nuts for quick protein.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What kind of seasonings do you pack? We usually buy olive oil and vinegar when arrive and schlepp that around for salads. Of course garlic and lemon juice can make anything taste great.

      I’m with you on the healthy eating. Back in the good old days we ate lots of fun but junky foods but that stopped working for us a while back—but of course age has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it.

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      1. Lately I just bring little 4 or 5 ounce bottles of Tajin seasoning, and maybe some garlic and herb seasoning in a bottle. Nothing fancy, and we often do buy olive oil, lemon juice, etc. But we mostly cook in a microwave–vegetables turn out fine. Also, supermarkets usually have tasty refrigerated or frozen prepared pastas and such that taste (to our non-demanding palates) a little bit exotic because we don’t have them at home. Any exotic eating out is usually done at lunchtime for us–cheaper and faster than big dinners out.

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      2. I’ve seen the Tajin seasoning at the grocery store but never tried it—this will give me a good reason, thanks.

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  6. The sheer frustration of seeing all that stuff in the market and having nowhere to cook it…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not so bad in winter, but anywhere near harvest time and it’s just the worst….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We almost always cook. It’s so much cheaper and I have a weird love of checking out foreign supermarkets – you can learn so much about a place from its supermarkets! We don’t tend to change location too much, unless we’re on a camping trip when it really is cans and simple one pot meals. If we have a base location we tend to have a reasonable breakfast – bread, cheese, tomatoes, fruit and grabs a snack/street food whilst out during the day. In the evening we cook a hot meal and usually try and copy the local style for example gambas pil pil (garlicky prawns) in Spain, beef stew in Denmark. If there’s a BBQ it will definitely be used – as well as meat and fish we cook veg on it so not too unhealthy. I guess a lot of people eat out when they travel so base supplies in accommodation can often depend on who stayed there the weeks before you did. Sometimes we leave the supplies we buy for the next guests and sometimes, for more expensive things like spices, we just take them home with us.

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    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves foreign supermarkets (sometimes I have dreams about them). My favorite are the ones that have a little breakout section for locally produced foods and of course the extremely helpful hot foods area.

      You’re so smart to go regional with your hot meals!

      Hostels are fun places for left over foods—there’s usually that one shelf where people left their half-box of pasta or whatever and you can have it if you want. The last time we left a partial bottle of vinegar.

      Do you have any reliable one pot recipes?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Cous-cous is a good one pot meal. You fry up some onions, garlic, peppers, courgette/zucchini and any herbs or spices you fancy then add a tin of tomatoes and the cous-cous. The cous-cous cooks in the tomato juice so you don’t have to add water unless you need to top up. This makes me sound like I know what I’m doing but it is really my other half who is the cook, I do the washing up, and the eating.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I never thought to add all those things to cous-cous. Thanks for the tip!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this post so much, the ideas in it would make the perfect questionnaire for travel bloggers because it defines our travel style to such a great extent. The things I miss when travelling… that got me thinking! Then, cooking in or eating out… definitely cook in. In fact, I take my boiled eggs leftover from dinner the night before along with my fruit, cheese and crackers for a lunch on the run the next day. I also try to choose my accommodation based on whether it has a pot and cooker. Am I tight-fisted yes, (I want to spend my money on the seeing, not the eating), do I have food sensitivities, yes, do I ever eat out in restaurants when travelling, rarely as I am alone, exhausted in the evenings and want to hunker down in my room and go over the days sights, write, and plan for tomorrow. And, I’m frightened to say for fear of the jeering, the food is not my impetus for travelling, yes I love fresh fruits and greens from the market but do I drool over recipes from Spain and photos of pasta and seafood dishes on the Amalfi, no. It’s just not my thing. I’m away travelling for the sights and the history and the culture and I love it. I do eat street food though when I can, hot instant and cheap, and tells a story about the culture. So looking forward to your next trip. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and no jeering here—we love eating but I believe in prioritizing too. Anyway a lot of restaurant food, in addition to being expensive, tastes too salty, sweet and greasy for me. And you’re right, being in a restaurant is not relaxing in the same way chopping up veggies in your underwear is. 🙂

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  9. Well I don’t even cook at home so it seems unlikely for me to cook whilst I’m away. Having said that I do cook, but really anything I can prepare in 10 minutes or less and only have one or two dishes to wash after: pasta, salads, stirfry and that kind of thing. I find sitting in restaurants, or just locating a restaurant, exhausting and I’d much rather just head back to my accommodation with some snacks. Because I travel on my own usually eating out isn’t a great priority, although I enjoy street food and food stalls. I always eat a lot more junk when I’m travelling; hey maybe that’s why I always gain 10 kilos on ever trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stirfry is a great idea because it comes together so fast and there’s only the one pan to wash.

      I hear you about the junk: there was one trip in particular—to Madrid—where were ate exclusively deep fried foods. Our insides turned into concrete and after that we pledged to take it easy on the garbage. That’s when we started searching out bags of prewashed greens and eating a lot of beans.

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  10. Just Snap Shot Stories · · Reply

    I 100% agree with ‘taking a shower without flip flops’! And I learnt to cook whilst travelling because it was so much cheaper than eating out all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those people who shower without flip flops must be the same one who walk through the security check barefoot—-ewwwwwww!

      What kinds of things do you cook while traveling?

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      1. Just Snap Shot Stories · ·

        I usually cook a lot of pasta because it’s quick and easy, and you can pack the leftovers and take it with you as you walk around the next day! And I’d make a LOT of sandwiches

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, that’s a really great idea: past tonight, pasta salad tomorrow.

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  11. I find it tough to cook while travelling.I do tend to stir fry …so that’s not conducive to hotel suite kitchen…if there is even a stove.

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    1. Well if you can get a stove, the beauty of a stir fry is that it comes together fast and you can put pretty much anything in it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely true!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t cook but enjoy snacking on local fruits and sweets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sound like my husband with his sweet tooth.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I usually do when I stay more than three days at the same place – next time in Riga, I will definitely stay longer and frequent to the central market!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear there’s a “next time” for you in Riga. I want to go back soon (and cook!)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I do not even like cooking at all…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love cooking. (It’s the cleaning up afterwards I’m not too keen on…)

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      1. Haha, I understand that!

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