This past Christmas, my in-laws gave me a mini knife sharpener – which I subsequently added to my kitchen travel kit. I then began to wonder if anyone else does this when they go on vacation? When traveling, we tend to stay away from resorts and big hotels. We prefer to rent accommodations that can provide a fully equipped kitchen. This pleases me on so many levels. I get to sample produce at local markets. I get a glimpse of the local culture by shopping at grocery stores – discovering new ingredients I often have never have cooked with. When I’m not sure of what to do with a particular ingredient I ask the vendor – they always have ideas and often recipes for me to try. This is always a great source of information. I have found that people who sell food love to share ways for you to enjoy it.
As much fun as this is, over the years, I have arrived at many rented accommodations only to find that people’s definition of a ‘Gourmet Kitchen’ varies – greatly. The main pet peeve that prompted me to start a kitchen travel kit, was trying to cook eggs in not-so-new-or-non-stick pans. The eggs would stick so badly to the bottom that half of the dish often ended up as a part of the pan. As soon as the eggs were done, we would put the pan on the stove with some water and a touch of dish soap, bring to a boil and wait until the mess started lifting off the bottom. Not fun.
The first thing I started bringing with me was a small, heavy bottomed, non-stick frying pan. Soon that grew into my current kit. I bought an inexpensive men’s travel kit, then started loading it up. When I was at GNC one day I saw these small pill containers and thought they would be perfect for my bag. Each section only holds about one tablespoon, but often that is all I need for a recipe.
Here are some things I like to include:
- My chef’s knife (with a case that you can purchase at a good kitchen supply store)
- Small cutting board (for some reason, people like buying glass cutting boards – not my favourite as I find they tend to dull my knives)
- Paring knife
- Butcher’s twine
- Ziploc bags
- Chip clip
- Dried herbs and spices
- Can/bottle opener (again, have encountered all types of these gems)
- Small measuring tube
- Pastry brush
- Small knife sharpener
- Small grater or rasp
Sometimes I even throw in tubes of tomato or anchovy paste – things that might be more expensive depending on where I go. This bag, along with my knives, an apron and a spare kitchen towel always go into checked luggage, of course. Let your imagination be your guide.
Now I realize that packing a bag the size of a shoe box may take away space for clothes. I have willingly sacrificed space for that extra pair of bulky shoes, so that I can pack my bag of tricks!