This Foodie Travel Kit Makes It Easy to Cook on Vacation
With the wide availability of short-term vacation rentals, it's easier than ever to cook when you're traveling. Make the most of any destination's local ingredients with a few packable kitchen basics.
When you eschew the standard hotel and opt for a short-term rental when you travel, there's more opportunity to cook when you're in far-flung places. Should you find yourself in a coastal town, or at a farmer's market in some exotic location, here's everything you might need to make the most of the local abundance.
Two Decent Knives Are a Must
It's pretty typical to show up to a vacation rental that's got a drawer full of dull, flimsy kitchen knives. Nothing will make a mess of your evening (or your fingers) quite the way shoddy knives will. Pack yourself a small chef's knife and a good paring knife, and you'll be a lot happier in any kitchen. Add a set of plastic blade guards to protect your sharp knives while they're in transit.
Things to Flip, Scoop & Stir
You absolutely cannot go wrong with a set of lightweight silicone kitchen tools. Tongs, a spatula and a pair of spoons will keep your dinner from getting stuck or dropped. You flew a long way to cook fish straight from the ocean, so make sure it lands on the plate in one piece.
Avoid a Buzzkill
Imagine this: You fly to Napa, buy yourself a bottle of wine, check into your vacation rental to relax and the previous tenant has removed the corkscrew. Or, maybe you've flown to the Pacific Northwest, and you want to share a nice bottle of local beer with a friend and there's no bottle opener in sight. Nothing stops a party quite like a cork, a bottle cap or an aluminum can when there's no way to open it. Throw a pair of scissors in there for good measure. You'll never be sorry that you did.
Strange But Useful Things to Have
You'll always want to amend your tools with things you know you'll need. If you're heading to the coast, an oyster knife is going to come in handy. If you're planning on grilling, an instant-read thermometer is a lifesaver. And you'll never regret having a vegetable peeler around. Make sure to think about what you'll be shopping for in your location, and add any specialty tools to help you along the way.
Don't Forget the Spice Rack!
You'll almost never find a decent selection of spices in a vacation rental. If you're lucky, there will be salt and pepper. A few stackable pill cases with your favorite spices is a fantastic thing to add to your travel kit. You can also find miniature bottles of nearly every kind of olive oil, hot sauce and vinaigrette at the store. And if you can't find it, buy some small bottles and pack your own. It's also a good idea to throw in some ziplock bags and a few pieces of aluminum foil.
Roll It All Up & Pack It Away
The easiest way to pack all of this into your checked baggage is with a good chef's roll for your tools and a small, zippered pouch for your pantry items. Try to find a chef's roll with various-sized pockets that have a secure closure. Make sure your knives are rolled up with the blade guards securely in place. Once it's all packed away, it shouldn't be any bigger than a pair of shoes in your luggage. Now you're ready to fly somewhere special and cook like a local.