Rob and I have managed to carve out a life we love in our tiny corner of the world: We enjoy cooking at home, drinking wine, being outside together. So when we travel, we’re not all that tempted to “get away from it all”—when our “it all” is pretty good to start with. Sure, we’re more than happy to leave work behind. And there are times when a few days of living it up at some swanky resort is pretty awesome.
All of this is to say that our preferred mode of travel is to road-trip somewhere (so we can bring our four-legged friend) and to stay in a borrowed or rented place where we can cook, drink wine and be outside together. Just like at home. We enjoy having a kitchen, so we can shop the local farmers’ markets and prepare fun and fresh dinners rather than dining out night after night.
One of my favorite parts of this kind of travel is the provisioning: planning and acquiring some basics that we can bring with us to stock our borrowed kitchen. I work under the assumption that the cupboard and fridge will be completely empty, and that we’ll need a few staples in order to maximize our culinary vacation. Plus, it’s a total drag to have to hit the grocery first thing when you get to a new place, so we like having a few things on hand. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my provisioning list, in case your travels are similar to ours:
- sandwiches and snacks for the road
- olive oil & balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- boxed chicken stock
- arborio rice (for risotto)
- a box of pasta
- canned tomatoes
- crackers, pita chips, nuts and other happy hour snacks
- peanut butter
- wine and cocktail fixings
- a few non-food essentials: zip-top bags, paper napkins, matches, coffee filters
With these basics we have the building blocks for great meals, supplemented by whatever local produce, seafood and specialty items that we can find. Too, I’ve created a travel food notebook that’s a combination of mini cookbook (I’ve photocopied and pasted in some of our best go-to recipes) and journal, where I make notes about dishes that we create on the fly, record the food and wine we enjoy on our trip, and keep track of restaurant finds.