Wednesday, January 29, 2020

How to Bring your Best-Loved Recipes from Travel Home With You

Baia in at Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town

Sun, sea, and some of the best food you ever tasted. It’s the vacation dream, isn’t it? Travel food experiences are so good that they’re a big part of the reason a lot of us travel in the first place. The lure of local dishes is huge for me. Yet, when our trips draw to a close, I typically kiss my favorite dishes I've encountered goodbye and return to the home-cooked favorites we already know so well and eat over and over and over and, you get it.

There’s nothing wrong with the familiar but if a part of your soul stays with that Spanish paella when you head back home, it’s time to figure out how to bring those recipes home with you. Tucked alongside your duty-free, this could be one of the best travel gifts you give yourself. It’s undoubtedly a fantastic way to keep the exotic love alive. 

No one wants to fail at the re-creation of a beloved vacation meal because it sort of ruins the memory of it. It happens to the best of us, but there are some ways to avoid it. 

Ask the experts
No one does pasta dishes as well as the Italians, or octopus like the Greeks. As such, your first port of call should be to chat to the experts while you’re away if you can. Pay your complements to the chef when you enjoy their food. While they aren't likely to tell you their secrets or give you a step by step of their process, they will probably drop a golden ticket of information, like the ideal time to marinate that sauce or the fact that good calamari only takes 15 minutes. It's insights like those that can give you an understanding of the food that moors you to it and proves to be your key to unlocking those recipes at last. 
Focus on flavor
It also pays to focus on flavor. Too often, home-based recreations will contain the same basic ingredients without ever quite capturing the right taste combinations. People stress over getting the exact right ingredients and forget to think about flavor. And, given that flavor is the heart of any dish, that alone can ruin the entire experience. As such, breaking down those flavors and thinking about how you can recreate them is what will really elevate your dishes. In fact, it could see you recreating dishes that put you right back on that sunny beach at any time of year!

Don’t beat yourself up if it isn’t exactly the same
Anyone who’s tried to create a dish from their favorite restaurant will know that it’s near impossible to get everything exactly right. And, that challenge becomes even harder when oceans limit you. It may be that you can’t get the same ingredients, for instance, or that everything’s a little less fresh than it would be if you were there in person. This is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still create a pretty decent replica. Don’t beat yourself up if your dish isn’t 100% like the one you had in Cape Town that time. As long as it tastes halfway decent and takes you back to that happy trip, this could still become a dish you cherish and a creature comfort to turn to whenever you next get itchy travel feet with no fat travel budget to back that up.


Are you a re-creater of vacation food?

Happy birthday to my cousin Tiffany today!

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