I love to cook when I camp or take a condo-cation. I think the most fun is finding local and if possible indigenous ingredients and finding or creating recipes that use them. I find breakfast the most uninspiring meal of my usual 3 (yeah, I know, most important meal of the day... ) so I usual prep that myself and the money I save goes towards a meal I care about. I'm more prone to having a simple lunch out if I'm "out and about" and I make the main meal myself. When I have dinner out I want it to be FANTASTIC, so I save up so I can try the best I can find.
Farmer's Markets - Where To Get Grub
Small local markets and farmer's markets are available throughout most of the U.S. Localharvest.org has a great tool for finding markets in your area. I can find fresh, local ingredients and build meals around them and hopefully experiment with some foods I've not tried before.
My Small Arsenal
Depending on my destination I like to travel with a small arsenal of essentials. Most important is a sharp kitchen knife (don't try taking this aboard a plane!) If I can't take it then it is one item I will buy locally. I've yet to say in a condo that offers sharp knives. Sometimes I take a little kit with my favorite spices so I do have to waste time or money tracking them down.
When possible I read local magazines or even throw-away's to find inspiration for new things to cook. Magazines that show restaurant menus frequently feature the local cuisine. I typically toss the most current copy of Bon Appetit and Saveur in my luggage so that if all else fails I can discover some new culinary creation that suits my mood. I can always adapt the available ingredients to the recipe.
Cooking Without The Proper Tools
Aside from my mainia about having a sharp knife I find part of the fun of cooking when away is finding inventive ways to fashion the tools I need. I needed a steamer when camping recently so I simply placed an inverted metal plate inside a tall pot and sat my vegies atop the plate to steam. Not long ago I need a cheese grater but the condo didn't have one my husband just whittled the cheese into small shards and that worked perfectly.
I'd Love To Hear About Your Creations
What's the most creative or adventuresome meal you've cooked while away from home? How about your biggest disaster or your most inventive home-made kitchen tool. Please share your stories with us.