Monday, July 7, 2008

Home Away from Home Cooking

I'm on vacation with my family this week and we're taking family dinner on the road. Our typical vacation is to rent out a house by the week, preferably near some body of water. It ends up cheaper than a hotel and more "normal" since you can cook your own meals and not eat out every single meal. You get the suburban thrill of letting the kids play outdoors in wide open spaces otherwise known as a lawn. The downside is that there's still the basic routine of making and eating dinner, all while negotiating someone else's kitchen.

Often we go to the beach. But this year, we are trying out the Catskills, with its lakes and mountains. It's a bit cheaper and I have fond memories of lake swimming. When we go to the beach, I try to pack all kinds of food and drink, because the island provisions can be slim and pricey. But this time, I'm going to try the local sources, which may just mean big suburban grocery stores. I hope, though, I'll be able to connect with local farms stands and wineries. We'll be near the Hudson Valley which has been touted for it's produce and wines. I'll report back on my success.

For cooking on the road to work, you have to be willing and able to improvise. It's good idea to bring a few staples: olive oil, some herbs and spices, garlic, rice or pasta, so that you have a foundation to work from. A grill is necessary equipment for a summer house and should be pressed into service daily. Vacations and grilling should be intertwined whenever possible. Plus, I'll let the kids have potato chips, and maybe soda or popsicles. Eating summer treats, outside, in a wooded locale or by the lake is a summer memory in the making.

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