|PetitPlat - Stephanie Kilgast on flickr.com|
The first principle is to take some time and consider what you cook most. Does it really require major kitchen countertop appliances – or can you still cook comfortably with "hand gear"? What do you use the most at home? Can you adapt?
For us, our big, pretty-much-stationary rig has room in the kitchen for a Kitchenaid mixer with all those glorious attachments. Traveling in a 23 foot trailer means some serious rethinking – it's either the hubby or the Kitchenaid. Since the latter hasn't yet got an attachment for pumping out the holding tanks, the Kitchenaid doesn't get to come. We're just waiting for the day, though. But since we don't generally buy five pound blocks of cheese while out on the road (not enough room in the freezer), we can forgo the grating attachment and make do with a small, but good quality grater that fits in a drawer. We love crock pot meals, but we don't take a huge one with us, just a small one suitable for meals for two.
What many RVers have found important are simple stuff: Since you're probably cooking for fewer people, down-size the pans, but make sure you have good quality ones that nest inside one another. You may still find the need for a good-sized pot, particularly if you're into stews and chili. There's an edge for having good knives that hold an edge.
We've taken to collapsible silicon bowls. Yes, we still like to make a cake now and then, and for "bring a dish" gatherings, a good size bowl for fruit salad is great. We have a set of three silicon collapsible bowls that take less than 4" of shelf space, but "pop out" into unbelievably large containers.
One thing that anyone who's used a gas RV oven agrees on: Don't count on even heat. Turning whatever you're baking frequently helps to "even out" the cooking, but here's another thought. Invest in a pizza stone, then put your pan on top of it, or cook directly on it where feasible. The stone evens out the hot spots wonderfully.
Other tips from smart RVers: If you're not cooking for the whole football team, cut the recipe in half. Not only does it cut down on the amount of ingredients to carry, you can cook in a smaller pan. Skip the cookbooks – either put your faves onto small cards, or poke them into electronic storage on a laptop or tablet. Stackable (and nest-able) storage containers are great. You don't need to blast a lot of money into high-priced Tupperware, the "use now, toss away later" storage containers sold in Walmart stores work well.
We've "discovered" liner bags for slow cookers. Line the cooker with the bag, toss in the ingredients, cook 'em, eat 'em, then simply toss out the bag in the trash. No heavy duty cleaning at the sink, which is a blessing for anyone who struggles with health issues associated with hand washing. Another neat trick we heard: Reynolds brand Grilling Bags are designed to cook meals over a grill or fire. Yeah, their big enough to cook enough food for a family, but one RVer simply cuts them in half, then folds the cut edge up and has never had a failure with this "two for one" approach.
Got any great downsizing in the kitchen ideas? Give us a shout at russ (at sign) rvtravel dot com.