HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Are you making a specialty food? Tell us about it

Do you travel with your kitchen?

adventuresinbaking Dec 20, 2008 06:00 AM

I'm about to head up to my parents house for a week.

After Thanksgiving frustrations with my mom's rolling pin and not having a few of my knives, I'm bringing them home with me.

Also coming are three cookbooks and a few of my smaller gadgets. This will probably go in its own suitcase (lucky for me I'm driving.)

Am I the only one who will schlep her rolling pin home for the holidays? Or are there other folks, cooking off site, who can't be parted from their maple french tapers either?

  1. julietg Dec 20, 2008 06:08 AM

    This is why there are knife bags. Mine holds my knives (both my mom and my MIL do not take care of their knives, and using them actually hurts my hands), a flat whisk for gravy, a thermometer, a no cut glove, and twine.

    And yes, I bring my French pin, too.

    Just make sure that your gadgets don't get put in the dishwasher by well meaning relatives!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: julietg
      Kelli2006 Dec 27, 2008 03:44 PM

      I have a traveling knife kit that also carries a digital probe thermo and a French whisk, that I take to soup kitchens and other places where I volunteer. I carry these tools in the same bag that I stored my knives when I worked in a restaurant.

    2. Sam Fujisaka Dec 20, 2008 06:29 AM

      On my next trip to DC in mid-January I won't be able to get my usual suite with well-equipped kitchen. I'll be in a regular hotel room (all spaces reserved long ago for the inaugeration). So packed in my suitcase will be knife, chopsticks, cutting sheet, corkscrew, can opener, tiny knife sharpener, small whisk, and a few other things. Might have to get a tiny crock pot at Macy's when I arrive.

      23 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
        Caroline1 Dec 21, 2008 07:28 AM

        Sam, have you thought about getting an electric frying pan with a lid and wide-range thermostat instead of a slow cooker? I've slow cooked in my mom's electric frying pan and it worked great, then I turned around and did pancakes in it too. Can't do that with a slow cooker, and the frying pan would be easier to pack when you go home.

        I guess with the inauguration congestion you're lucky to even get a hotel room! Are you going?

        1. re: Caroline1
          Sam Fujisaka Dec 21, 2008 08:05 AM

          It would be great to get an electric frying pan, but a small one. I'd have to get it at Macy's the Sunday night I get in. Or a single electric burner and a small pan. I'll watch the inaugeration on TV along with Jim (Beam, that is).

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            Caroline1 Dec 21, 2008 08:08 AM

            You and Jim have a great time. Undoubtedly you'll have a better view than braving the mob, even if your had a podium seat!

          2. re: Caroline1
            Sam Fujisaka Dec 21, 2008 10:29 AM

            How's this?


            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
              c oliver Dec 21, 2008 10:57 AM

              Looks perfect. Would you then take it back to Cali or leave it in DC?

              1. re: c oliver
                Sam Fujisaka Dec 21, 2008 11:23 AM

                Hard to say. Food/ingredients and stuff for my five year old daughter is always the first priority. I could leave it in my (temporary) office in DC for use during other future trips when I can't get a suite. On the other hand, having one here for shabu shabu would be nice.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                  c oliver Dec 21, 2008 12:08 PM

                  We have a place in Rio and are always taking things down there - mainly because everything that plugs in is at least twice as expensive as it is here. When my husband was working down there a lot, a lady that he came to know, asked if he would bring her an electric carving knife. I've never owned one but it was something that she clearly felt would be a great luxury (she was VERY rich!)

                  Is your daughter too old for pop-up books? The Metropolitan Museum of Art has gift shops in some airports and they have the most beautiful pop-up books. We took one to a Rio friend's daughter but I think she was about three at the time.

                  1. re: c oliver
                    Sam Fujisaka Dec 21, 2008 03:38 PM

                    Yes, everything that plugs in here is really expensive. My last trip a couple of weeks ago I brought back a new laptop, an MP3 player and a DVD player for my daughter, and (no she's not too old and it will help her learn English) a "Who's who at the zoo" pop-up that has a big fold out pop up jungle and all the animals that you insert into the scene. Plus dried mushrooms, pickled vegetables, a Cuisinart 5" santoku for $6 at Macy's and more. It really is a lot easier being a Hound in the US!

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                      lagatta Dec 26, 2008 03:00 PM

                      I love my little Cuisinart santoku, but even here in Montréal it cost $13 - not expensive by any means, but still a lot more, even considering the exchange rate. It is something I'll travel with and happily leave behind (with people who appreciate knives) as it is light and still a lot cheaper than the "good" knives.

              2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                Caroline1 Dec 21, 2008 06:59 PM

                Sam, why not wait and see what Macy's actually has on the shelves? For me the great drawback to that particular model is the non-stick interior. In my experience, they don't hold up well, they are not good for cooking at high temperatures, and I don't know that anyone has ever done a study on how healthy they are for long slow cooking.

                LOL! I just checked out Macy's website. You have to jump to the $299.00 category to get an electric skillet that is NOT nonstick! How times have changed!

                Maybe the hotplate and small frying pan is the best idea after all? Good luck!

                1. re: Caroline1
                  Sam Fujisaka Dec 21, 2008 08:44 PM

                  I'll have time to get something on the evening I arrive (taking the Metro from Reagan to my hotel and then going for a walk to shop) before another completely full week of work. For lunches, I'll have some great salads at the World Bank. Most of the time for light "dinners" and for breakfasts I'd rather do some bathroom counter cooking. Non-stick is OK with me.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                    Caroline1 Dec 21, 2008 10:09 PM

                    Good on! I'm still laughing at the ridiculous price difference between non-stick and bare metal electric frying pans. Who knew? LOL!

                    While you're in DC, if you can find anyone with a Sam's Club membership, considering your recent baptism by yellow powder, they have Kraft "Easy Mac" in cartons of 18 individual microwaveable serving packets. You put the macaroni in a bowl with water, nuke it and stir in the yellow powder. The individual packets should pack into nooks and crannies in your luggage when you're on your way home. My grandson (who is about your daughter's age) LOVES it...! What is it with kids and yellow powder? '-)

              3. re: Caroline1
                RShea78 Dec 22, 2008 06:47 AM

                ""thought about getting an electric frying pan with a lid and wide-range thermostat instead of a slow cooker?""

                Several years ago, Presto made a 16x11inch, "roaster like" electric pan that fit the bill to a "T". It was roughly 4-5 inches deep, but it got discontinued before I got around to buying one. At the time, Presto also seemed to have a very poor grade of a non-stick surface, that blistered/flaked off quite easily.

                What I end up getting (as a present) was a Hamilton Beach 16x11 inch skillet that had, about 2 inch sides/high domed Al lid, that lasted me about 6 years in above normal usage. (10 to 12 meals a month) It simply wore out and I haven't found a reasonable replacement without a glass lid.

                1. re: RShea78
                  c oliver Dec 22, 2008 06:51 AM

                  Just curious. What don't you like about a glass lid?

                  1. re: c oliver
                    RShea78 Dec 22, 2008 06:31 PM

                    They can break.

                    1. re: RShea78
                      c oliver Dec 22, 2008 06:33 PM

                      They can but I've never had a problem. 'Course haven't ever dropped on the floor! I have all different cookware and some have glass lids including my slow cooker. Never consider it either a pro or a con. Just my thoughts.

                  2. re: RShea78
                    Caroline1 Dec 22, 2008 08:34 AM

                    I hadn''t thought of electric skillets in years until Sam mentioned getting a crock pot, and now I'm wondering what ever happened to mine. Way way back in the early '60s I had not one, but two gorgeous footed copper and stainless steel large 12" round electric skillets that also doubled as great buffet servers during parties. I have absolutely no idea what ever happened to them. My guess is they were lost or stolen during one of our many military moves. <sigh> They were gorgeous! But I'm still in shock over the sale price of $299.00 on the electric frying pan at Macy's! Talk about sticker shock.

                    1. re: Caroline1
                      smtucker Dec 22, 2008 06:49 PM

                      To combat the rising costs of propane, my mother has turned off her stove [gorgeous 48" commercial Garland with salamander, be still my heart] and is now only using an electric skillet, a toaster oven and the microwave. She has bought a crockpot to make soup, and that is it. She isn't much of a cook, but they don't seem to be starving.

                      1. re: smtucker
                        Caroline1 Dec 22, 2008 08:46 PM

                        hmmm... Have you offered to help her make more room in her kitchen by moving the Garland to yours? That would be a loving thing to do. '-)

                        1. re: Caroline1
                          smtucker Dec 23, 2008 06:53 AM

                          I would if it didn't mean removing an exterior wall of my house to get the range in. Does pain me though. [And it is actually a 60".]

                      2. re: Caroline1
                        Candy Jan 1, 2009 01:21 PM

                        2n years ago on New Year's eve i shattered my glass cooktop. Some might remember, it was quite traumatic. It was a GE Monogram 5 burner gas unit. A friend loaned me an electric skillet, I found that limiting, I bought a slow cooker, it has languished in my laundry room for the past 2 years. What I did find terrific is a small single burner by Aroma purchased at Target for $19.99. i was back in business and cooking away while waiting for the replacement glass to arrive and be installed.

                        To answer the original question, yes i do take my own knives i have also schlepped a food processor with me too. If I am going to be doing the cooking as frequently happens I have things I just have to have with me.

                  3. re: Sam Fujisaka
                    Jacey Dec 27, 2008 08:07 PM

                    I'm a DC resident and hate to break it to you but Macy's closes very early on Sunday, and that specific area will be chaos/blocked/hard to get around during that time.

                    1. re: Jacey
                      Sam Fujisaka Dec 28, 2008 04:13 AM

                      Thank you. I'll walk over there after work on Monday. They had expanded hours before Christmas.

                  4. Caralien Dec 20, 2008 06:39 AM

                    I keep my older (20+ years) Braun hand-blender in the trunk of the car for this very reason. For some reason, it was taken out and I didn't have it during Thanksgiving, which made my work so much more time consuming.

                    Some of my sharp (but inexpensive) knives and cutting boards have also been accidentally left behind (I've been told by too many that it's bad luck to give knives as a gift) because bad knives make for so much work and frustration. Ditto with glass and acrylic cutting boards (why on earth were these invented?). Other things left behind (purchased during various visits): tongs, a decent peeler, wooden spoons...sometimes they're still there when we visit, other times they've disappeared.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Caralien
                      applehome Dec 23, 2008 06:20 PM

                      A butcher I befriended at a campground (we were in RV's) opened up his knife pouch and said - take one - any one. But I had to give him a penny. He said that it was indeed bad luck to give someone a knife as a gift, but that the tradition of giving back a penny made it a "sale" and therefore apparently nullified the bad luck. I took a well used boning knife he had sharpened and thinned. It's still in my knife block - I've used it regularly for about 10 years - no bad luck from it yet!

                      1. re: applehome
                        Sam Fujisaka Dec 23, 2008 06:32 PM

                        Here in Latin America we give a coin if we give a knife. Same tradition. Abrazos!

                        1. re: applehome
                          c oliver Dec 23, 2008 09:55 PM

                          I grew up in Atlanta and my mother said it was bad luck to "give" a knife; so you had to "sell" it for a penny.

                          1. re: c oliver
                            soupkitten Dec 31, 2008 08:00 AM

                            the superstition is that if one friend gives another a knife, the friendship/relationship will be "cut" or severed-- to avoid this, when you present a knife as a gift, tape a penny to the handle, or slip the coin inside the box, so that your friend can immediately use the coin to "buy" the knife from you. i think it's a worldwide culinary superstition/tradition?

                      2. s
                        shaebones Dec 20, 2008 09:14 AM

                        I go NOwhere without my apron.

                        1. Channa Dec 20, 2008 09:34 AM

                          Gotta take it all with -- not only equipment, but important ingredients, as well. And can't forget to take the recipes! No matter what hosts say, they never have everything you need.

                          1. lynnlato Dec 20, 2008 09:47 AM

                            I used to always have a waiter's tool (corkscrew) in my purse. You'd be surprised how often that thing came in handy. After 9/11 airport security took it. :(

                            If we're headed to the beach or mountains and are renting a place, I always take knives, corkscrew, herbs from my garden, some spices and a pepper mill. If it's summer, I often take fruits and veggies from the farmers market as well.

                            1. n
                              nkeane Dec 20, 2008 12:03 PM

                              Knives, silpat, flexible bench scraper, and for extended trips a mandoline.

                              oh yeah, wooden spoons! no one ever seems to have enough and the ones they do have are always old, cracked and cheesy.

                              1. s
                                Sal Vanilla Dec 20, 2008 01:50 PM

                                I always have a corkscrew or 4. When I go to my mom's I have to search the house for the knives I bought her. She does not use them because they are too sharp! Sigh. I don't bother to explain.

                                When visiting relatives, mostly I bring wine and lots of it. They appreciate it too! Enough wine and camp cooking is fun.

                                1. a
                                  adventuresinbaking Dec 20, 2008 05:20 PM

                                  I forgot about ingredients. I always call my parents before I visit them to see if I need to go to the grocery store. I love the Adirondacks, but the local grocery store lacks a lot in the produce section. Well, in a few other sections too, like they don't sell parchment paper.

                                  I often find myself carting home fresh lemons, leafy greens, garlic, maple syrup, organic coffee, good cheese, and bread. Mostly because none of these things can be found reasonably close to home.

                                  1. MMRuth Dec 20, 2008 05:26 PM

                                    I decided on Thursday morning to start my drive from Manhattan to North Carolina that day, rather than Friday, due to the incoming bad weather. I arrived here with a Le Creuset dutch oven, a Le Creuset pate terrine, four cookbooks, my binder of recipes cut out from magazines, etc., too many needlework projects and far too few clothes. Fortunately, my mother does have decent knives, but I sure wish I had my Kitchen Aid mixer and my food processor too! Had my husband bring the vanilla beans today, and he had black truffles shipped to my mother's prior to our arrival.

                                    When I travel to Northern Wisconsin for a two week summer stay, I pack a knife, baggies of various spices that I'll need, White Lily flour for biscuits (I sent my mother home from a mutual visit to Virginia this summer with her own 5lb bag, so I'm set here), send several cases of wine ahead, and photocopy tons of recipes. Fortunately, there is a Whole Foods en route, so I do a major stocking up there.

                                    I do wish I had a decent pair of tongs here, and may buy some tomorrow.

                                    1. c oliver Dec 20, 2008 06:28 PM

                                      I truly laughed out loud when I read this title and read it to my husband who laughed also. We just got back today having driving from very NE Calif. to So. Cal to pick up a rescue Airedale Terrier :) We stayed at inexpensive, pet friendly motels. I took my panini grill!!! We made sandwiches and toast. Also reheated Popeye's chicken (don't laugh or gag), French fries. It's amazing what you can do with one of those.

                                      We have a second home and they're both reasonably well equipped. However, I do take my Peugeot pepper mill back and forth with me.

                                      Cooking Christmas dinner at my 88 y.o. MIL who has an extremely limited kitchen and I'm betting all her spices are 20+ y.o. So will need to take everything. With that in mind, I'm fixing a small rib roast (one oven proof saute pan), MMRuth's arugula salad (mmm). I'll also make mashed potatoes the day before (we're only an hour away) and put them in the slow cooker and take to reheat (she doesn't even have a microwave). And on and on. It's my 60 year old version of camping :)

                                      1. c
                                        cstr Dec 21, 2008 06:24 AM

                                        When travelling, I usually get a suite equipped with a kitchen. Depending on the length of time, I bring my own equipment and spices.

                                        1. alanbarnes Dec 21, 2008 08:21 AM

                                          I won't even go to the post office without a good knife, a silicone cutting mat, and my Perfex pepper mill. If flying somewhere with only carry-on luggage, an inexpensive chef's knife (eg Forschner / Victorinox) is almost always on the first shopping list.

                                          1. s
                                            Sherri Dec 21, 2008 09:38 AM

                                            The family joke is that no matter where we travel, I have some or all of the makings of a full kitchen with me. We drive cross-country at least once a year, often more frequently, and the car is always loaded with a plastic bin of staples, a small fridge full of things I cannot do without (this baby plugs into the car as well as the hotel outlets and is a joy beyond words), a fully-fitted English picnic suitcase, gas cassette, LC 5 qt Dutch oven, half dozen knives & assorted pans. When we rent a vacation house, I take more.

                                            I'm too codger-ly to "make-do" in my dotage and find this to be a hardship for no one and pleasure for all concerned. My husband is thrilled because we eat very well and I would much rather cook in a make-shift hotel environment than scout up supper after a long day on the road.

                                            When we spend several days or more in one place, I always find great food markets. Of course we eat out also, but having the wherewithall to make meals from local foodstuffs is heaven.

                                            When my mother was alive, I routinely took my own gear as well. Her knives were a mess and she hated it when I sharpened them, swearing that she always cut herself. My LC pieces were too heavy for her and I disliked the lightweight pieces she used. I would cook up a storm and freeze a lot of things so I would also take containers, labels etc since rubber bands and old cottage cheese containers wouldn't do the trick.

                                            "Do you travel with your kitchen?" - Absolutely!

                                            1. r
                                              rainey Dec 21, 2008 08:30 PM

                                              When we used to take skiing vacations I took a crockpot, my breadmaker and the non-perishable ingredients for favorite things that tasted good after a day out in the cold. It was also a good bet to have a cutting board and a decent knife.

                                              I could load the crockpot with the ingredients for a hearty soup or stew and the breadmaker with flour,etc* before we headed out to the slopes in the morning and we could come home to a strange condo that still smelled wonderful and welcoming. And we didn't have to drag our tired bones out to wait in lines for a table at a restaurant.

                                              I'm not sure I'd do the same thing if I were going to the home of someone I knew. I'd assume they could be offended.

                                              • the dry ingredients for bread, including the yeast, can be measured out into ziplocks -- one loaf per bag. That way you don't have to count on decent measuring devices and only have to add some water and or butter.

                                              1. Miss Needle Dec 21, 2008 09:08 PM

                                                I guess I'm not as hardcore as you guys. When I travel, all I care about is packing as little as I can as I have more freedom that way. I'll just try to make do with whatever is around.

                                                However, I do remember that when I used to go to Prince Edward Island, I would bring some curry powder (not totally easy to find there) to make some delicious curried mussels.

                                                1. b
                                                  bnemes3343 Dec 22, 2008 06:50 AM

                                                  Absolutely travel with my kitchen. Heading to my daughters to cook christmas dinner and will be bringing my knives, roasting pan. Actually, I'm making an applie pie and am glad you reminded me to bring my french rolling pin. Is there anything worse than trying to prepare a meal in a house without a single sharp knife?

                                                  1. BobB Dec 22, 2008 09:15 AM

                                                    Not my whole kitchen (or anywhere near it), but if I'm going to be staying somewhere that I can cook, I always bring my favorite knives, sometimes certain special pots (especially if I'm driving and can easily bring them along), and often a variety of spices - it can get expensive to buy a bunch when all you need is a little bit of each. Not to mention my good pepper grinder.

                                                    1. s
                                                      soupkitten Dec 22, 2008 09:43 AM

                                                      i bring my knife roll everywhere. going to my mom's house, i'll also bring pots & pans & cutting boards, & other implements, a pepper grinder, and fresh spices, plus books.

                                                      1. jfood Dec 23, 2008 04:51 AM

                                                        jfood writes this from FL in his MIL house and was told last night he was cooking for 10 this evening. He hoped the pantry and pots/pans were better than last time. Nope, total nothing.

                                                        So a quick trip to BBBY this morning, sharpoen knives this afternoon (the orange won last night) and figure what to cookon the grill this evening.

                                                        Feels like Top Chef FL. :-))

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: jfood
                                                          c oliver Dec 23, 2008 06:41 AM

                                                          What about MMRuth's arugula salad with shaved Parmesan, good olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It's becoming my go-to salad for easy.

                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            jfood Dec 23, 2008 06:53 AM

                                                            jfood has MM on the "A" list so will do a search later. Thanks C

                                                            1. re: jfood
                                                              c oliver Dec 23, 2008 08:35 AM

                                                              On another thread, they're asking what you want Santa to bring your kitchen. I said Manhattan. Better than that, I want Santa to bring MMRuth to my kitchen - or even to the kitchen next door.

                                                        2. m
                                                          Morticia Dec 23, 2008 06:13 PM

                                                          My mom is "scared" of sharp knives - hence, all the knives in my parents' kitchen are duller than butter knives...one Thanksgiving, she wanted me to prepare a huge lot of root veggies for roasting, and I ended up with serious blisters on my hands from her knife...so after that, I used to always bring my own chef's knives home. One year, I suddenly realized that a good professional knife makes a wonderful present - sadly, she is still too intimidated to use it, but at least it's there for me now - no more blisters!

                                                          1. cassoulady Dec 23, 2008 07:34 PM

                                                            After reading this post, I realized that I have never actually cooked a meal at anyone else's house. I realize this is very odd.

                                                            1. scubadoo97 Dec 24, 2008 04:41 AM

                                                              On summer vacations to the Keys (we drive) I travel with a chef knife, cast iron skillet and cutting board. With that trio I can do a lot of good things with fresh seafood. I will often pack a knife in my suitcase if traveling by air to anyplace where I may have to cook. Usually I will end up buying a wood cutting board since most condos are stocked with those despicable glass cutting plates.

                                                              1. julietg Dec 27, 2008 09:44 AM

                                                                While we're on the subject, what do you all carry everything in? I schlepped too many Fairway grocery bags between three houses this year. I think I should get a tote for pie pans, spices, pin, specialty sugar, etc. I have a little cooler bag for the perishables, but what is a good bag for the dry goods?

                                                                13 Replies
                                                                1. re: julietg
                                                                  c oliver Dec 27, 2008 02:00 PM

                                                                  If travelling in the car, I just pack things in a cardboard box. Quite easy to carry in and out. We have another box just with dog stuff :)

                                                                  1. re: julietg
                                                                    Sherri Dec 27, 2008 04:59 PM

                                                                    Plastic bins from Target hold my dry goods, I use large canvas LL Bean tote bags for pots & pans (leftover from my sailing days), knife roll is self-explanatory, herbs & spices are stored in a fly fisherman's stackable plastic ???????, the small fridge (DC in the car, AC in hotel rooms) that I use carries all perishables.

                                                                    I chucked the paper bags/cardboard boxes years ago when they tore and proved themselves unsatisfactory.
                                                                    NOTE: all this info is for driving trips. When I fly, my knife roll goes in my checked luggage. ........... I'm old enough to remember when we could actually fly in a commercial airline with knives ...........

                                                                    1. re: Sherri
                                                                      Sam Fujisaka Dec 27, 2008 05:15 PM

                                                                      Could you provide a few details about that ref? I'd like to buy on in the US to bring back here to Colombia.

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                        lagatta Dec 27, 2008 09:13 PM

                                                                        sam, looking at electric skillets/frying pans I also saw "mini" ones, which would do in a pinch for a single person or couple (if the couple isn't only eating that dish). That would be very practical for someone travelling by air or by train.

                                                                        I wouldn't use non-stick all the time, but am a bit more lenient about what I'll use on the road occasionally - after all, we can't control non-stick,aluminium etc cookware in restaurant kitchens.

                                                                        But I need one I can use in Europe more than here.

                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                          applehome Dec 27, 2008 09:28 PM

                                                                          Here's a page full of these things. Not that I've ever shopped here, but it shows some different examples. I'm sure Macy's will have something like them.


                                                                          I bought mine while on the road with the car (no rv) and just wanted something to handle a six-pack size of drinks/cold cuts. It was at a Target or someplace similar - about $39.95. It was 12VDC, and came with a pretty hefty AC power supply that you could plug the 12VDC lighter connection into. Some of these on the page show the same thing. They all use the piezo conductor plate that turns cold or hot - so they're not as efficient as a real compressor type fridge, but given enough time, they get cold enough. I needed it for my insulin when I took a drive to Ohio for a business trip. No problem for the stay in the nice hotel for business - they always have the mini-bar fridge, but I stayed in the Motel-6's en-route to save $$$ out of pocket, so for those nights plus the time in the car, the fridge came in handy.

                                                                          1. re: applehome
                                                                            Sam Fujisaka Dec 28, 2008 04:17 AM

                                                                            Thank you. I looked up the features of the rooms in the particular hotel: no mini ref to my surprise.

                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                              BostonZest Dec 28, 2008 05:39 AM

                                                                              Many hotels will put a mini refrigerator in your room if you ask. We ask for a microwave too. We travel with a dog who eats a special diet that requires refrigeration.

                                                                              But, it also give us the ability to stock breakfast and snacks that we want and even take a doggie bag from dinner for lunch the next day.

                                                                              1. re: BostonZest
                                                                                Sam Fujisaka Dec 28, 2008 06:01 AM

                                                                                Thanks. Hadn't thought of that; and it doesn't hurt to ask!

                                                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                            Sherri Dec 28, 2008 08:13 AM

                                                                            Sam, the small fridge is made by Coleman. It is a square, holds almost 2 cu ft and is an ice chest without messing with ice. It has 2 slots to hold a shelf and can be used with or without this feature.
                                                                            The main drawback is that you cannot use ice in this machine; other than that, there are only good things to say about it. This does not mean that you cannot put a solid block of frozen food into it, just that the thawing water from ice is a no-no.

                                                                            Once, we forgot it in the car overnight and the food held perfectly. I have learned that it will continue to run when the car is off.

                                                                            It costs about $100 USD and can be purchased at camping stores or any large outdoor outfitter. Mine is about 10 years old and going strong.

                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                              alanbarnes Dec 28, 2008 11:41 AM


                                                                              Many sporting goods stores will carry the Igloo or Coleman 12v coolers. At around 40 quarts, they're a decent size - a little bigger than your typical mini-fridge - and work reasonably well if the conditions are right. But as with all these 12v coolers, you can only get so much reduction from the ambient temperature.

                                                                              This became an issue for me a few years back near your old stomping grounds. You know what the weather is like in Kingsburg in late June / early July - I think the mercury topped 110F every day that week. The little fridge did what it could, but it just couldn't pump enough heat out of the box to keep anything remotely cool. Went back to old-fashioned ice after that.

                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                Sam Fujisaka Dec 28, 2008 12:23 PM

                                                                                Did you ever go to the Watermelon Festival?! Had to have!

                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                  alanbarnes Dec 28, 2008 02:04 PM

                                                                                  That's before my time. I think the Watermelon Festivals stopped some time in the early- to mid-90s. We're down there every summer for the American Trapshooting Association California State Championships. A week of unremitting heat, dust, and gunfire - what more could you want?

                                                                          3. re: julietg
                                                                            adventuresinbaking Dec 27, 2008 06:40 PM

                                                                            most of my stuff ended up in totes, but my rolling pin actually ended up in by ski boot bag. It was long enough!

                                                                          4. alwayscooking Jan 1, 2009 12:11 PM

                                                                            Over the holidays, all 12 of us land at my brother's house in Tampa and stay from 1 to 2 weeks. I am the designated cook for the crowd consisting of latcose intolerant, vegetarian, 'only-eat', healthy, and 'more butter' diets/eaters. We all consider ourselves foodies and, as such, eat most meals at home (it is Tampa!).

                                                                            I take my knives, sharping stone, pasta machine, the 'stranger' spices, microplane, baller, dough scraper, the cookbook I'm currently playing with, tongs, thermometers, and a stick blender. Each year I add a new small gadget or appliance to my brother's arsenal.

                                                                            I wonder what the airport baggage inspectors think when they open our chowhound luggage?

                                                                            For basic travel, I carry knives. thermometers, and a cookbook,

                                                                            1. goodhealthgourmet Jan 1, 2009 02:23 PM

                                                                              i tend to host the holiday meals - purposely so i can have control over the food AND not have to schlep everything ;)

                                                                              there have been a couple of exceptions. once a few years ago i agreed to help a friend (translation: do ALL the planning & cooking) with his dinner party. i was living in San Diego & he was in LA. i packed up the car with everything i could possibly need from my kitchen and brought it all with me - it was probably 98% kitchen supplies and *maybe* 2% clothing, toiletries, etc. when he came out to help me unload my things from the car i thought he'd bust a gut he was laughing so hard.

                                                                              i used to live in an apartment community where we'd have impromptu dinner parties & barbecues at the pool & grill area. i was in an upstairs unit, and people tended to gather in the lower units to pull all the food together. they always looked at me like i was nuts when i walked in with my own knives, bowls & chopping boards to help with the prep, and my own tongs & basket for the grill :)

                                                                              for general travel, i'd be *lost* without my Magic Bullet blender and measuring cup & spoons...and i always pack a set of silverware and a pair of my own chopsticks for when i bring something back to my hotel, because i can't stand eating with plastic/takeout utensils. i also have a small designated bag stocked with various food items (protein powder, oats, dry milk, nuts, condiments, spices, etc.), and just re-stock whatever it needs before my next trip.

                                                                              yup, queen of the control freaks. i know.

                                                                              Show Hidden Posts