Cooking on vacation?

I don’t know if this is a good idea or not, but I’ll offer it.

Every Saturday afternoon, pretty much without fail, I eat a good lunch then settle down in my reclining chair with a big glass of iced tea and watch The Woodwright’s Shop on PBS, where one of my heroes, Roy Underhill, turns logs into furniture using, basically, a hatchet.

Part of this tradition, unfortunately, involves falling asleep about 2/3 of the way through the show (thank goodness I have a Tivo so I can rewind). I eventually wake up during the show that follows Roy’s: America’s Test Kitchen. So I started watching this show, and love it. As a college chemistry major, what I like is that this bunch gets down to the cellular level, studying what happens to meat and vegetables as they’re cooked. They appreciate the importance of getting it right: the cooking temperature, the ingredients, the type pot or pan, etc. They’ll make the same dish 200 different ways in their test kitchen until they determine the very best way to do it.

You may ask, what does this have to do with the Lesmeister Guesthouse? I recently heard Christopher Kimball, star of Test Kitchen, on National Public Radio talking about the new cookbook they’ve produced with 2000 recipes they’ve developed after 20 years of testing and perfecting recipes. He pointed out that most cookbooks are full of recipes asking for ingredients the average person can’t even find. He promises their new cookbook features recipes that work well, repeatedly, with ingredients we can find locally.

So I had an idea. People just don’t cook much any more. Most people eat out once or twice a day, it seems. So perhaps cooking on vacation isn’t such a bad idea, as a novelty. The Lesmeister apartments will have complete, stocked kitchens. Why not offer guests the option of thumbing through this great new cookbook, picking a good recipe, shopping locally for the ingredients, and preparing a great meal as a family activity during one day of their vacation.

This won’t be for everybody, of course, but I’ll offer it. The cookbooks arrived today, one for each apartment. Now, you may say, won’t people steal them? I’d prefer not to use that word steal. I’ll be happy for people to take the cookbook with them if they like it. I’ll just send them a nice receipt for their purchase, add it to their room bill, and invite them to let me know if they need more copies!


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