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Favorite 'Travel' Cooking Gadget

Do you have a favorite gadget, cooking utensil you love to take when you travel? I guess I am old school- I love to have my swiss army knife and a wine opener. But, I am curious to know what other great ideas chowhounders have.

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  1. I like your choices. My mum always had the canvas cooking bag set up with sheathed knife, cups, eating utensils, plates, napkins, corkscrew and a cutting board. And a thermos depending on what was going on.

    Could that whole bag count as "A Utensil?" Please?

    But seriously, the proper version of a Swiss Army Knife will get you through any meal. I would carry one that already has the wine opener on it. They have so many different combinations of stuff on those knives -- buy carefully.

    1. There is a drawer under the front passenger seat in my car, an Odyssey. In thast drawer I keep a small sheathed parting knife from Kuhn Rikon, a small Epicurean cutting board, and a collapsable Screwpull wine opener. We are set for about anything.

      1. Grinders filled with sea salt and tellichery peppercorns.

        1. My Swedish Trangia alcohol stove set. That includes burner, stand, windscreen and pots. Simple, easy to use, and reliable. With a full coverage windscreen I can't use just any pot. Besides the ones that came with it, I use a small nonstick wok by GSI, and a small 1.5L pressure cooker from India. That's more than one gadget, but it is the core of my travel/camp kitchen.

          1. AeroPress coffee maker. Use the hot water/coffee maker in the hotel room to brew my own coffee beans.

            1. I like to bring my salt with me. Everything else I can wing.

              3 Replies
              1. re: onocoffee

                You just reminded me to look for this lip stick sized pocket pepper grinder someone gave me years ago. I'm a ground pepper fanatic and can't stand when I have to use a pepper shaker.

                1. re: monku

                  Some camping stores sell as GSI Outdoors brand pepper grinder, about 2" tall, and 1" square, with a cap over the grinding end for storage. I keep one in my camping spice bag. I keep most of my other spices in an assortment of small Nalgene bottles (wide mouth for spices, narrow for liquids). Finding a good leak proof bottle for oil is perhaps the hardest thing.

                  1. re: paulj

                    No this one is made of metal the length of a lipstick and maybe 3/4" diameter and you push it and out comes ground pepper from the bottom. Small enough to just put in your pocket.
                    Now I'm going to spend the weekend looking for it.

              2. My Peugeot pocket pepper mill (has to go in checked luggage, though) and when travelling by road, my Pulltaps double-footed waiters corkscrew.

                1. My folding chef's knife from agrussell.com.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: GeezerGourmet

                    I've drooled over that AG Russell folding kitchen knife. Almost ordered a 'seconds' once. But I've settled for a $10 5" santoku, in a make shift sheath.

                    1. I do a lot of camping in the backcountry and I do have a travelling kitchen setup. One of my favourite items in there is the Outback Oven. We made a nice little coffee cake once.

                      I'm about to go on a backpacking trip to Cambodia. I won't really be cooking but there are some things I do miss from home like the coffee and tea. They just make it differently over there. I saw in the stores that you can buy a heating element to boil water in a cup. I'm gravely considering it, but it's probably easy enough to ask for hot water. The other thing that would be cool would be the Bodum in-cup French Press. I think I'd have trouble trying to explain how to use a Moka pot to them.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: moreana

                        The in-the-cup heating coil used to be the standard dorm room cooking tool - in the days before cheap microwaves.

                        I don't know how the Cambodian approach to coffee differs from the Vietnamese, but I'm somewhat familiar with the Vietnamese version. Vietnam is now a major coffee producer. Their distinctive brewing method is a type of drip, using a single cup metal filter. Vietnamese coffee that I've bought seams to be a blend of Arabica and Robusta, which actually works well with sweetened condensed milk, as they frequently serve it. Single servings of instant premixed with sweetener and creamer are common, and not half-bad.

                        There are coffee web sites that describe Vietnamese coffee. It could be argued that the Vietnamese filter is more travel-friendly than either the Moka pot or French Press.

                        1. re: paulj

                          From a travel blog - Cambodian coffee filter
                          This looks the same as one that came free with a lb package of Vietnamese coffee. You should be able to find a better made stainless steel one (with screw on tamper) for less than $5 at a large Asian grocery in the the USA.

                          In the USA, if Vietnamese coffee isn't available, New Orleans style Cafe Du Monde (with chicory) is a popular alternative, having the right grind for this filter, and a robustness to match the sweetened milk.