Ah, vacation time! For some people, it can be a perfect opportunity to skip cooking altogether and instead unwind, explore, and enjoy fantastic meals at a wide variety of eateries. But, for some individuals, it can mean that they have all the time in the world to stir up fabulous meals. Regardless of your take on cooking, preparing easy meals on vacation can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to strengthen relationships with fellow travelers, experience local cuisine, and even save money on food costs.
When on vacation, the availability of ingredients can often be limited. It can be difficult to find the same ingredients you can find in stores at home. However, you can still find all of the essentials you need to prepare delicious meals.
In places such as Gatlinburg, Tennessee, supermarkets such as Food City often carry a variety of fresh produce. For those traveling to more remote destinations, local markets can often provide fresh produce and other items.
Most importantly, when traveling on vacation, you’ll want to bring any small kitchen items you don’t feel like leaving behind. A few recommended key items include a sharp knife, cutting board, pot or pan, and bowl.
This guide will explore the art of cooking on vacation and provide practical tips and ideas to make your culinary journey a tasty success.
1. Begin your Culinary Adventures at Food Markets
Before you embark on your vacation, research the local markets and grocery stores near your accommodation. This will give you an idea of the available ingredients and help you plan your meals.
You can begin your search by checking out what kind of markets, grocery stores, or farmers’ markets are in the area. Many cities and towns have local markets that offer the freshest ingredients.
Imagine, for instance, that you’re vacationing in the Smoky Mountains. You can start your culinary journey by checking out the grocery stores in Gatlinburg TN, such as Food City or Satterfield’s Old Fashioned Grocery. Moreover, you can also find a local delivery service for grocery items.
2. Pack a Portable Kitchen
Packing a portable kitchen does not mean bringing a stockpot, food processor, or whole spice cabinet. But, it means preparing basic essentials or investing in some portable kitchen essentials, which are lightweight and portable. Packing these items will not only save you cost but also save you time when you reach your destination.
Here is a list of essentials you should keep in your traveling bags if you plan on cooking on your vacation.
- Portable coffee maker or French press: If you cannot function without your morning coffee, then do not forget your portable coffee maker. It will help you to kick-start your trip in full swing.
- Black pepper and chile flakes: Who likes eating food without a little spice and aroma in their food? Bring these flavors by sprinkling black pepper and chile flakes in your meals. Make sure to keep freshly ground or whole peppercorns plus a mill.
- Olive oil and vinegar: These liquid essentials are vital to perk up whatever you overbuy at the farmers market, from tomatoes to corn to lettuce.
- Your favorite condiment: That condiment you put on everything: Chilli Garlic Sauce? Thousand Island? Teriyaki Sauce? Or maybe all three of them.
- Storage containers: This can be pretty useful to store leftovers from last night or for the next meal.
- Sheet pan: It’s impossible to pack your favorite non-stick pan, so store a compact cooking pan or one which can easily fit into your luggage.
- Wine opener: A must-have for every vacation, but go lo-fi with this under-$10 option or spend a little more for an electric wonder.
- Collapsible measuring cup: This will be useful for those who strictly depend on measurements while cooking.
- Mini Cutting Board: You wouldn’t want to mess up your room table to cut your vegetables. So, keep this in your bag and thank us later!
Keeping these kitchen essentials will help you to prepare your meals. You can also consider the equipment available in your hotel kitchen pantry. Knowing if there’s a fully equipped kitchen or just a simple kitchenette will help you plan your recipes accordingly.
3. Simplicity is the Key
Embrace the local cuisine by trying traditional dishes using fresh produce. Keep it authentic and flavorful! Preparing simple sandwiches, salads, or wraps with fresh ingredients can be sufficient to fulfill you to the top.
Visit the local farmer’s market and sample the region’s seasonal fruits and vegetables. Experiment with local herbs and spices to add a layer of taste to your creations.
4. Cook Together with Your Traveling Companion
Cooking on vacation can be a fun group activity. Involve your travel companions in the meal preparation and turn it into a bonding experience.
Divide tasks among your group members and turn cooking sessions into friendly competitions or challenges. Who can make the best local-inspired dish?
Here are some of the quick, easy-to-make recipes you can try out with your partner while you are on vacation.
- Overnight oats with chia seeds are ideal since nobody likes to waste time preparing breakfast while on vacation. Making them the night before only takes a few minutes; you can simply grab them and go in the morning.
- Chicken hummus naan wraps: This chicken wrap can be made in just fifteen minutes and can be an ideal, healthy option for dinner or lunch. It features easy-to-get ingredients, such as shredded chicken, hummus, chopped fresh veggies, a homemade red wine vinaigrette, and crumbled cheese, all piled onto a piece of soft & chewy naan bread.
- Easy grilled salmon: If you enjoy eating seafood, then take a grill pan or outdoor grill to make this easy recipe with a flavorful marinade.
- Funfetti mug cake: Craving something sweet but don’t want to waste a lot of time in the kitchen? Bake a microwave mug cake in 2 minutes, and voila, you are all set to satisfy your sugar cravings.
Cooking on vacation is an exciting way to elevate your travel experience and create lasting memories. From savoring local flavors to picnicking in scenic spots, the possibilities for culinary adventures on the go are endless. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your Portable Kitchen and get ready to create some delicious memories on your next vacation!