What essentials cooks pack for their trips

When cooks vacation, they pack their essentials Salt? Pepper? Swimsuit? Circulator? We asked chefs and authors what they pack -- or don't pack -- to go on vacation. Mario Batali (Mozza, Los Angeles): "When I head out to my Lake Michigan house for the summer, I always stop at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor [Mich.] to pick up essentials for entertaining: Crespone salami, Greek feta, balsamic vinegar, Pedro Jimenez vinegar, eight to 10 kinds of cheeses . . ., killer dried sweet corn to rehydrate for salads, fleur de sel, capers from Pantelleria, [Italy], saffron from La Mancha [Spain] and Bomba [a Spanish short-grain] rice for campfire paella, a few Italian olive oils, Spanish boquerones [anchovies] . . . a box of fire starter cubes for the pizza oven and a new grill brush. Paul Bertolli (Fra' Mani Handcrafted Salumi, Berkeley): "I always take anchovies, olive oil, a sharp knife, coffee, a couple of dry salame, and a case of wine per week." Anthony Bourdain ("No Reservations"): "I don't take anything with me but a good attitude. And my feeling on vacation is to either have others cook (as, presumably, they know how to make the local food far better than I do), or make do with what's there." Michael Cimarusti(Providence, Los Angeles): Two years ago when I vacationed with my family in Hawaii we shipped two cases of assorted wines, foie gras, lobsters and some knives. On past trips, mainly to Kentucky when my father-in-law was still alive, we shipped everything from foie gras to stone crabs to Maine lobsters." Josiah Citrin (Mélisse, Santa Monica): "When I go to Mammoth, I take my circulator [a temperature control device] and all my meat." Naomi Duguid ("Beyond the Great Wall" with Jeffrey Alford ): "We love working with whatever we find. In southern Thailand once we rented a small house by a deserted beach. We bought a gas cylinder thing for cooking on, and bought a wok from a person in the market, the one she was using, so it was old-style and heavy, and very well seasoned." Paula Wolfert ("The Cooking of Southwest France"): "I bring gifts . . . bringing a gift and a kiss seems to put the women at ease, then I'm part of the family. I brought garlic peelers to Tunisia and someone wanted to go into business distributing them . . . As for Turkey, I carry those serrated swivel peelers . . . by the dozen." Dorie Greenspan("Baking: From My Home to Yours"): "Mrs. Meyer's geranium-scented liquid dish soap. I also bring Reynolds Plastic Wrap (France needs to make a technological leap in the plastic wrap department) . . . nonstick aluminum foil, double-acting baking powder and ground allspice. It's easy to find whole berries, but the ground stuff is elusive and I like to have it around for Christmas baking." Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.): "I take a bathing suit, suntan lotion, a stack of magazines and a few good books. My iPod, of course, as well as a good pair of sneakers." Michael McCarty (Michael's, Santa Monica): "Nothing. I find it all there." Mary Sue Milliken (Ciudad, Los Angeles): "Most trips we rent a house or boat so I can cook and our friends navigate/sail. I always take my trusty pepper mill and one very sharp French knife (I give them away at the end of the trip to someone who's hosted). I'm leaving tomorrow to sail from Split [Croatia] to Dubrovnik. Last time we did the southern coast of Cuba where provisions are extremely hard to come by. I took some heirloom dry beans and lentils, a few tablespoons of every spice in my cabinet, a couple of cans: piquillos, anchovies, capers . . . This time I plan to take the assorted spices and seasonings. The rest I will find in the markets there and we will fish every day. Judy Rodgers (Zuni Cafe, San Francisco): "[For the trip] to the house we rent in Tahoe every summer, the food and equipment list is four pages long, everything from salt to bottarga di tonno. To Switzerland every winter [I take] vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and tongs. (The salt is fine there.)" Corina Weibel (Canelé, Los Angeles): "I always take fleur de sel. That's the one thing. I can always buy lemons, olive oil." Sang Yoon (Father's Office, Santa Monica): "I never leave the house without my measuring cup. What kind of question is this? Why would I take kitchen equipment with me on vacation? I could take the circulator with me and when I get questioned at security I can tell them I like to soak my feet in exactly 92.6-degree water. Makes them baby soft." -- Betty Hallock, Russ Parsons and Amy Scattergood

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