When we go away on vacation, we naturally want to be able to forget about the daily grind back at home. And for those of us who are used to preparing food at home, this can include cooking meals. We would love to go away and have someone else take care of our every need, from cleaning and cooking to scheduling and providing entertainment. And for some people, maybe that is even possible. However, if you are someone who requires a specific diet – maybe because of food allergies or sensitivities or just because your body responds best to healthy, non-processed foods – or if you are trying to minimize expenses while away on vacation, it probably makes the most sense to plan ahead and prepare some or all of your own food.
In our family, we’ve gotten to the point where we only look for vacation rentals that have a kitchen available for us to use while we are there. Then we stock up on our local favorites…meats from our local butcher, fresh eggs from our chickens, raw milk, cheeses and yogurt from a local dairy, veggies from our CSA, fruits from a local orchard, homemade granola and bread and muffins, a homemade dessert or two and lots of our favorite snacks. I also usually do some research into the area where we are vacationing and map out some local farm markets or healthy grocery stores, as well as one or two farm-to-table restaurants so we can go out to eat at least once while we are away. [TIP: localharvest.org is a great resource when it comes to scoping out local farms and restaurants at your vacation spot!]
True, this can add some extra stress to the planning and packing stages of vacation, and it will certainly take up more packing space in the car, but we’ve been vacationing this way for years now and it’s definitely the best way to go for our family.
A few years ago, Joe and I went on a big getaway to Puerto Rico while the kids spent the week with family. I had visions of it being like a second honeymoon…care-free, romantic, and relaxing. Because we were flying so far away, we didn’t pack anything other than a few emergency granola bars in our carry-on bag. After a few blissful days spent in the rainforest, I started to develop a very uncomfortable stomachache that ended up lasting for the remainder of the trip. We did nothing but eat out at the restaurants where we were staying both in the rainforest and then later at the beach. The menu was limited and there were virtually no healthy options to be found. And my poor digestive tract did not enjoy our vacation at all. So, from that experience, I’ve learned that romantic getaways must include a kitchen and homemade food.
I’ve found that this can be romantic and enjoyable in itself. Joe and I love to cook together and rarely get the chance to do so at home. Cooking on vacation gives us a chance to bring back an old favorite activity and then enjoy the fruits of our labors together. The picture at the top of this post is a delicious dinner that we prepared together on a recent tenth anniversary trip to the Finger Lakes in NY. We brought the pork chops and salad ingredients from home, purchased from a local pig farm and our CSA. Then we picked up the corn and apples at a local farm stand down the road from our cabin. We grilled the pork chops, apple halves, and corn in the husk on a grill outside our cabin. And the wine was from a local Finger Lakes winery. Here are a few pictures of other meals we prepared and enjoyed on our vacation…
So, if you are planning a family vacation or a romantic getaway for this summer, maybe consider looking for a place with a kitchen where you can bring along all of your favorite foods and prepare them in a (mostly) stress-free environment. You might be surprised how much you enjoy the experience and I promise that your body will thank you!