Finding Inspiration for the Kitchen in Travels

There are, clearly, a number of things I love about traveling, but one thing that can be fun is thinking about how to bring the trip back home with me. Yes, there are pictures or little souvenirs, but how else can I incorporate the magic of a recent trip’s experience into my day to day?

I was recently wrapping up posting some pics of my fall trip to Mexico, and as I edited some food pics I thought about how I love to try out new recipes after I return from a trip. Okay, well, I love to try out new recipes to begin with, but especially when I’ve tasted something amazing and something that seems doable to make at home. In this case, it was vegetable and bean-filled tacos and I was inspired to look up more vegetarian tacos to make at home..

I realize “more vegetarian taco recipes” is quite generic, and not necessarily a specific recipe from the trip. Not like the gallo pinto I wrote about while writing about Costa Rican food and then made at home. But it was still because of the meals I had while traveling that inspired the recipe search back home.

Sometimes a meal may be far more complex than something I want to attempt at home, but there is the inspiration or even simpler meals that still bring back so many memories. Like a salade norvégienne I had in Versailles on my first trip to Paris well over ten years ago.

I made a version of this simple salad several times in the years after that first trip: romaine, rice, smoked salmon, olive oil and lemon juice. And every time I made it – and now that I’m thinking on it – I thought of that cute little restaurant on a side street away from the palace where our server had no patience for our limited French and went straight to English (the first – and only – time I’ve encountered that stereotype in France). While I can laugh at that memory, I also think of the amazing day spent at the palace and wandering the gardens on a beautiful clear day, marveling at our luck with mostly blue skies in the early winter.

Hmmm…I need to make that salad again.

In that Costa Rican food post, I mentioned a vegan poke bowl which I’ve made a few times since my return. I recently made a vegetable green curry that while not necessarily relates to a trip, refers back to the time I lived in DC when that was a staple for me at Thai restaurants (I’ve shifted my go-to dish where I live now).

Now that I have a few recipes in mind to make – or to make again – I’m also looking forward to the next trip and the memories it will bring, along with the recipe ideas. While it’s nice to have a souvenir or a photo on the wall that might spark a memory, when I make the meal and sit down to eat it, I can linger a bit longer in the memory.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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