The yen to travel doesn't match your budget? You can savor Italy (July 11-12) and Japan (July 18-19) without ever leaving town, via the cooking courses sponsored by the Smithsonian's Resident Associate Program.

With slides and words, food writer Lynne Kasper will take participants on a culinary excursion to Emilia-Romagna, "Italy's Undiscovered Gastronomic Capital"; discuss the country's native ingredients; demonstrate pasta making; and explain the evolution of Italian fare from the Renaissance to the "new kitchen" movement of today.

A reception highlighting Italian wines and cheeses will follow the lecture Friday evening; on Saturday, an antipasto luncheon, catered by Galileo restaurant, will allow visitors to sample even more. Tuition is $52 for members, $67 for nonmembers.

The following weekend, the foods of Japan will be introduced and discussed by author Elizabeth Andoh, whose lectures will examine "The Seasonal Japanese Kitchen," the Japanese pantry, and the influence of geography on the island nation's cuisine. In addition, Susan Slack, author of "Japanese Cooking," will provide tips on shopping and dining in the Washington area.

Plum wine and rice crackers follow the Friday evening course; a Japanese boxed lunch will be featured Saturday. Tuition is $54 for members, $69 for nonmembers.

The cost to attend both food courses is $100 for members and $115 for nonmembers. For further information, contact the museum at 357-3030.