posted by Caroline

In some ways it felt wrong to bring food to Paris, but traveling with kids has taught us that if you’re going to uproot them from the familiar routine/beds/meals for a time, you’d better pack food. And before that, unless you’re staying with family, you rent an apartment or condo or house — anything with a kitchen– in which to cook it.

When we rent a beach house in the Outer Banks with my sister and her family, we fly east and then stock up on staples at the grocery store before driving south. We bring flour, sugar, olive oil, oats, cereals, wine, soy sauce, and  vinegars. When we visit friends in Chicago, we rent an apartment and stock up at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s the first day.

In Paris, we had rented a tiny two-bedroom apartment in the 6th arrondissement, but  I didn’t want to check a suitcase full of food, as Lisa did for her trip to Hawaii (though having spent two days looking for peanut butter, I may reconsider that next time!); frankly, I wasn’t feeling strong enough to deal with the French customs officials’ reaction to our boxes of cereal and packages of baked tofu.  Instead, tucked between the windbreakers and pj’s and t-shirts, I packed:

a gallon ziploc of oatmeal

a gallon ziploc of homemade granola

a dozen assorted Z bars and Luna bars

1 pound of roasted almonds

2 pounds of cashews (one salted, one unsalted)

1 package of raisins

1 package of dried cranberries

1 package of dried mango

Which doesn’t look like much, really, but we ate it all (except the mango), and could have eaten more.