Chef Judi on the Pleasures of Cooking on Vacation

When preparing a meal at home becomes the best part of a trip.

By Judi Gallagher September 4, 2018

When I was a child, I remember my family discussing renting a house near the shore. My mother said it wouldn't be a vacation for her if she had to make our family meals each day. And I certainly lived most of my adult life with that feeling—until I stayed at my brother's house in New Hampshire last summer. I couldn't stop going to farmers markets and artisan cheese shops and butchers, rushing back each day to prep and cook my finds. I loved every moment of it.

My favorite spot to pick up locally made bread.

Turns out it's not a vacation from cooking that I need—it's a vacation from that Florida summer heat that beats down on our gardens during the summer and early fall. That's why I'm so glad that Airbnb and VBRO have opened up new ways to vacation; one that's great for people who are passionate about seasonal ingredients and searching out local flavors and recipes from different regions, states and countries. 

Perfect peaches

I've been in Colorado Springs for almost a week and have cooked most evenings and a few breakfasts using fresh ingredients from the local farmers markets and some incredible locally made sourdough bread. Grilling Palisades peaches and topping them with whipped ricotta cheese and a drizzle of huckleberry jam is simply magic. Digging into tomato and nectarine salad with burrata and gooseberries, or artisan sausages with pickled red onions and grilled micro-peppers, are what my summer dreams are made of. There are no fancy French sauces that require slaving away over the stove; this is pure freshness.

Farmers market onions and fresh sausage.

And now that we're moving to a hotel for the next part of our stay, I'm a little sad. Cooking has been a joy in these mountain ranges, and I'm left with little doubt that my ultimate dream—renting a house on the Amalfi Coast—will one day become the cooking trip of a lifetime. 

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