Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Kitchen Away From Home

I don't know if this is normal, but when I travel I almost look forward to cooking in a new place as much as I do seeing the sights. As far back as 1996--sadly the last time I've traveled internationally; Toronto hardly counts--I was excited that one of the places we stayed in Provence had a rudimentary kitchen. We didn't delve to deeply into cuisine on that particular trip, but I do remember a farmer's market that I would love to return to.

On one camping trip two years ago the highlight was making a lovely burgundy beef in the dutch oven. It took hours, but what a wonderful, relaxing time sitting under the trees listening to the birds, reading a good book and watching a placid lake while I tended the coals and rotated the pot and cover. Only a couple weeks after that my co-conspirator and I were at a cooking class with Marcel Biró learning a bit of rustic Italian cookery.

And then there were a couple of memorable trips to New York where I had as much fun cooking for the parties our hosts threw as I did touring the museums. I love grocery shopping in The Village.

Now when we've visited coastal Oregon several times I've been grateful to have accommodations that feature a full kitchen. It's an added bonus that it overlooks the Pacific Ocean and some scenic offshore rocks. Each time we go we count the days we'll be there, list the various local seafoods we want to taste, and plan our shopping and cooking accordingly.

What would be my dream vacation? I have enough interests that I could stay entertained by a variety of things pretty much anywhere but Kansas. But if it came down to it that the only choice was to spend a week holed up in cozy accommodations with a well stocked pantry and some interesting recipes, I could have a pretty good time.

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