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Who cooks in a hotel room?

  • m

Just saw a story on Chow about using hotel room amenities to cook (an iron and coffee maker) It got me thinking about how often i did that when I traveled with my family as a kid. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom cooking chicken in a crock pot that she brought from home for Shabbos (we're Jewish and orthodox) at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas. I remember the entire floor of the hotel (the old Garden rooms) smelled of her cooking. We also used to take a hot plate (or two) and a couple of small pots etc. We did that in Israel and Europe and Alaska and....

My dad would bring an immersion heater and buy canned veggies which he would heat by sticking in the immersion heater. When the cans were empty, he'd use them as cooking pots to poil eggs or small potatoes.

We always made the best tasting food in those hotel rooms. We were never caught, but once in Israel my sister and I managed to stuff up the bathroom sink with some canned corn or something. When we called maintenance they also sent security who gave us some really odd looks.

Ahhh... the good old days.

So what are your stories of hotel room cooking? I know you've got 'em!

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  1. My ex used to travel with a 1/2 size microwave and had a letter from her doctor saying it was necessary to heat compresses for her legs (true, but she cooked in it as well).

    Coffee pot, hot pot, single burner hot plate were standard items in the trunk of my car. I used boy scout mess kits that converted to both fying pans and plates..

    We used to stay in a tineshare in West Yarmouth, MA that did not allow cooking in the rooms, the ex uses to wet a bath towel and lay it on the floor to block cooking odors from going under the door to the common corridor. She'd spray the towel with air freshener as well.

    1. While I don't think it's cool to break safety rules about cooking in hotel rooms, I can certainly understand why people might have to do it. Keeping kosher is a good reason, since you probably wouldn't be able to eat otherwise (well, maybe in Israel ;)

      My parents used to cook in hotel rooms because they had four kids and eating out got expensive and was also a pain. When we moved across the country, there was a huge delay with our furniture, so we ended up in a hotel for 6 weeks. My mom set up a kitchen, which the staff seemed to know about (oatmeal packets and a hot plate are sort of a giveaway), and we had every breakfast and quite a few dinners in our crappy little Holiday Inn adjoining rooms. I remember her making boeuf bourgignon (with canned soup and jug wine from Gallo) that tasted pretty darn good. No microwave in those days (1972), but the electric skillet worked just fine!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Isolda

        > Safety rules

        I think those portable induction cooktops are completely safe and you can get one for $75, although you'd need to buy the cookware.

      2. I have done a lot of cooking in a hotel. I actually lived in a Hotel for a little over a year. Having no kitchen in the room, my saving grace was a Toaster Oven and a Rice Cooker. I could cook almost anything and even entertain. The only down side was having to use the George Foreman Grill in the Bathroom or all my clothes would smell like food .. Ick.. After that I will NEVER wash anything in a bathroom sink .. I was soo Happy when I finaly got a Kitchen sink to do dishes in.

        1 Reply
        1. re: goddessofDEATH

          I also lived in a motel for roughly a year. I had a small microwave, a plug-in pot, a fridge and a toaster oven. I could make just about anything.

        2. Oh, the memories. When we hit the road, my mother used to pack an electric skillet. She would use it to make Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs or Dinty Moore stew while we were staying in motels.

          1. I lived in a hotel for four months when I was an exchange student in Hong Kong -- all the international students lived in a hotel owned by the university, each of us with a local student as a roommate. We weren't "allowed" rice cookers or electric burners, but nearly every room had one. (They did have a few hot plates in the student laundry area but it was on the 11th floor and it was far less of a hassle to spend a buck-fifty on bowls of congee or ramen in the hotel's restaurant than to find something one could cook in a cheap-ass pot on a cheap-ass hot plate)

            An electric kettle was standard in every room, and managed to eat pretty well. Rice with fried ham and egg from the restaurant, with black beans, hot sauce and vinegar from my own stash (still crave that ham-egg rice). Lots and lots of instant noodles, sometimes with a raw egg stirred in. I even managed an approximation of pasta marinara that satisfied my craving pretty darn well. All of it was supplemented with plenty of fruit and lots of take-aways, of course! :)