A Kitchen Carry-On
More often than not, when I cook it isn’t in my own kitchen. I cook with friends; it’s something I enjoy most. One of the biggest problems when cooking in a kitchen other than my own is the lack of equipment and supplies — not everyone has the counter space or the means to have a KitchenAid or Cuisinart at their disposal, or a cabinet full of spices. But who wants to spend $7 on a bottle of garam masala for a one-time use? I know I wouldn’t, but it is something I use and I’d never expect a host to buy a bottle for a one-off dinner party. Solution: over the past few years I’ve built up a kitchen travel bag of sorts, my own goodie bag of kitchen supplies that I don’t expect any of my friends to stock themselves, but I simply can’t cook without.
Keep reading for my must-have list of kitchen items to carry when cooking away from home.
Mini Food Processor
This can be a life saver when you’re in a pinch for time — herbs, nuts, garlic…pretty much anything. Plus, it fits in a tote bag.
For soups, creams and eggs. I strongly believe if there is a tool to make your life easier than use it, I refuse to beat a half-dozen eggs manually if I’m able to take my mixer.
Random, I know, but it is one of those tools you never think you’re going to need. But how else are you going to grate that nutmeg you bring along?
Don’t laugh. I usually forget to re-stock this in my own kitchen so I never expect a friend to have parchment paper.
The amount of kitchens I’ve cooked in without a good knife on hand, well it’s almost enough to slice off each of my digits. Buy an extra one, best investment you’ll make.
As I mentioned above, the worst thing about hosting at a friend’s house who doesn’t cook much is the lack of spices, and why should they have a stocked cupboard if they’re more used to ordering in than cooking? A basic supply of herbs, easy to carry and saves your host a few bucks in the process.
Time saver central. Seriously. cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen can be daunting, but a mandolin can cut through (pun intended) your prep time with ease.
What kitchen items can’t you live without? What would you bring along in your kitchen carry-on?
I wrote about this somewhere on my old blog. We call it the “beach kitchen” (aka what we take to those horrible beach house kitchens) in my family: microplane, whisk, pastry blender (we make a lot of pies/pastry), steel/sharpener, Kuhn Rikon paring knife (because it has a cover), larger chef’s knife (i prefer santoku from costco, again because it has a cover), kosher salt, pepper grinder, spices (cardamom, cinnamon, herbs de provence, basil, cumin, chili powder, nutmeg and oregano cover the basics), dish soap that won’t destroy my hands, and at least four decent dishtowels.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in someone else’s kitchen and almost said, “What do you mean you don’t have a microplane?!!”