October 12, 2009

Cooking on vacation

For the past several years we've rented a house with friends on Cape Cod, where we have friends among the year-round residents, including some ex-Larchmonters. The week usually flies by in a whirlwind of dinners filled with wonderful food, good wine, and much laughter.

Most everyone in our group is a great cook - the rest love great cooking. So that means when it's "the renters" time to host the crowd, we spend a good deal of time figuring out what to make -- and what we'll need. Over the years we've come to realize that no matter how perfect the house -- and for two years in a row we've rented a great place within a short walk of the Falmouth beach - something's always missing.

The day we pack up I usually empty whatever is in the refrigerator into a small cooler, and also pack a small carton of things from my pantry. But sometimes I overlook some essentials. Then today I happened across Mark Bitten's blog post about what you need to take on vacation. What a great idea! So here's the start of my list: please add as you see fit.

  • Spices. You can always get fresh garlic and parsley, but do you really need to buy a whole jar of red pepper or basil when you're on vacation? Into the box that I take from my house to the Cape goes
    • Basil
    • Oregano
    • Cumin (hey - you never know) 
    • Thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • A really good knife
  • Coffee thermos - (we invariably need to keep an extra pot going - someone wants decaf, while another wants regular, etc)
  • Coffee - some things you're particular attached to you just can't do without
  • A small jar of sugar - ditto the "why buy"
  • Mustard and ketchup (from the fridge)
  • Mayo (ditto)
  • Olive oil
  • Nice vinegar
Do you have some more ideas? Please, add them here.


  1. Since we cook so few meals (as opposed to eating in a restaurant or mooching off our friends), I think the first step should be planning the menu(s). Once we do that, we should make a list of the tools (and other things, like spices) that we will need.

  2. Love the photo of the corn-good list- I always have several half bottles of different kinds of barbecue sauce in thr frig.Might add them to the list next year. Yeah Cape Cod! Elaine price