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Dec 20, 2008 06:00 AM

Do you travel with your kitchen?

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?

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  1. 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

      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. 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

        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

          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

            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!

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

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

              1. re: c oliver

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                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

                  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

                    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

                ""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

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

                    1. re: RShea78

                      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.

                  1. re: RShea78

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                        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.

                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    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

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

                  3. 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

                      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

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

                        1. re: applehome

                          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

                            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. I go NOwhere without my apron.

                        1. 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.