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A home cook comes home

It's funny how other people waiting at the airport gate for a flight home have a way of looking like people from your city. The signs are there in how they dress and the familiarity of their carry-on luggage. Even a sort of regional attitude is recognized in their behaviour toward each other. Flying home to Vancouver Island means the men wear their hair a little longer and prefer backpacks over brief cases, shoes for children are optional or even discouraged by non-conformist parents, and at least one traveler is tie-dyed.

Being far from home is fun. It's an adventure in weather and hotel shampoo bottles. There are strange license plates on cars and even stranger channels on TV. For someone like me who's in the kitchen several times a day at home it's also an adventure in food. It feels luxurious to have someone else cook for me and serve me wine over my shoulder, even if I do feel downright out-of-place where white tablecloths are involved. Buffet style is even better. I love the choice. The opportunity to eat scrambled eggs and granola with yogurt in the same meal is a frivolous pleasure. Then the dirty dishes are left behind for someone else to deal with.

Yet, despite the luxury and convenience of being fed so well, there was a certain relief in returning home to Victoria yesterday from the first-ever Food Bloggers of Canada conference north of Toronto as a guest of KitchenAid Canada. I was coming home to my family whom I had missed, and I was returning to my cozy home kitchen. After an inspiring weekend of talking about food and listening to people talk about food and photographing food, I really just needed to cook some food. There was an itch that needed scratching by way of hot pans and a pantry full of potential. I craved the ritual of making the daily meals that bring routine and nourishment into our family home. So I did. I didn't try to replicate the succulent prime rib I had enjoyed Friday night or the stuffed mushrooms I had munched on while sipping a bubbly rosé
. I made the sort of food that's right at home in my kitchen: banana pancakes, crispy bacon and toast with homemade strawberry jam. Because that's what my home tastes like. Comfy and casual. It's the sort of food I daydream about at a busy airport gate while waiting to come home.

Do you miss cooking when you go away? Which dishes best reflect the feel and familiarity of your home kitchen?