It may seem like a weird time to be reflecting on the summer and cottages but early fall is the perfect time. The kids have settled into school and the weekends have calmed down a little. Some days are rainy and the notion of colder days is becoming real. These are the days when I schlep around the house and almost have the chance to be bored. Naturally, boredom leads to thinking about food.
We went on two different cottage trips this year. The first was with my extended family which consists of three other families for a total of seven adults, two teens and two young ones. The second trip was just us.
It takes a lot of planning to get the large bunch of us to agree on food. Two of the families are avid foodies with two strong cooks. We have tried a variety of ways of doing these meal planning activities and they more or less work. The most telling part of the process is that each family tends to bring everything that they want to eat from the city where they are coming from. This leads to cramped fridge space and many leftovers.
Most of my extended family tend towards barbeque, potato salad and buns. Beans and smoked stuff always make an appearance. In the summer I like quick simple meals of a few salads or vegetables and just a touch of something protein like. Sometimes this is not meat and sometimes it is.
Each of our families eat slightly differently when we are at home. It is sometimes hard to get these styles to match. It is a week of compromises where meals are traded off and you sometimes eat something that you have never tried or don't like. It offers a sense of adventure that is not directed by yourself.
On the cottage trip that we took by ourselves, the meals were a little different. I looked to see what local food specialties existed and made note to try them, if we got a chance. The week was rainy so we decided to go out to the nearest town for a few meals to prevent cabin fever and to delay another inevitable and interminable UNO game. We discovered a local meat market that had buffalo tortiere, elk pepperettes and some gamey sausages. Also, we ended up finding a decent 1000 day old gouda from the area. Yes, this meant that the holiday was not all at the cottage but that was fine given the weather. If the weather was good, this type of food tourism would not have been as welcomed by the whole brood.
There is something to be said for both approaches; eating what is cooked or cooking what is found. Both offer a sense of adventure. It is nice break from the normal way that we cook and eat at home. However, I always end up feeling a little relieved to get back to my kitchen and my pantry.