If you were leaving home for a year, what one kitchen item would you take with you?

If you were leaving home for a year, what one kitchen item would you take with you?

It always takes a while to get used to cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Not that my stuff is particularly nice but I’m just familiar with it. I know which pans I like for which duties, I know how hot 3 is on a stove burner, I know where everything is, etc. Anytime I travel and end up in a house/condo/apartment using someone else’s stuff I tend to wish I had brought some things from home. “WTF? Did you use this skillet for target practice?” I understand. It is a rental. It’s where pots and pans past their prime go to live out their days. Anything too nice would probably walk off.

Image of Kitchen Utensils
What would you take?

Since I am going to be spending a lot of time in other people’s kitchens I started thinking about what I wanted to take with me.  What I could take with me. What’s light, easy to pack and could serve many uses? What do I use a lot at home but never find in a rented kitchen? As much as I love my cast iron, weight is the first qualifier so that will be staying home.  Any cookware is pretty much out of the equation all together because of weight or size. That pretty much leaves kitchen utensils.

So, what to take?  Chef’s knife? Would be nice, but I can deal with crappy knives. That and I don’t need a border guard asking me why I have an 8” knife with me.  A nice set of tongs? Nah, all you need are two forks.  I’ve stayed in more than once place that had pans that probably used to be decent but are scratched all to hell because the only utensils they have in the house are metal.  Occasionally you’ll find a good wooden spoon.  But trying to make an omelet with a wooden spoon or a metal spatula is…maybe there are people who can do it. I unfortunately do not possess that skill.

That’s why I’ve decided on a solid silicon spatula. I’ve never found a good, flexible spatula in a rental kitchen for some reason. It can be used as a mixing spoon, I can use it in a pan without scraping it up any further, it’s heat resistant so I should be able to get plenty of mileage out of it and for once I might be able to make a passable omelet in someone else’s kitchen. That’s as far as my logic takes me. What one item would you take?

11 Responses to If you were leaving home for a year, what one kitchen item would you take with you?

  1. Ditto on the cast iron. I had to bring mine down to Mexico, as I couldn’t find any here.

    I would go with a good knife, but barring that, your spatula plan is a good one. Other notables :
    A hand shredder
    Magic bullet! A little heavy, but it does sauces and smoothies, plus you get a cup to drink out of.

  2. I love this story and that it’s written from a guy’s perspective. My wife and I have been on the road for 2 years and I always travel with a set of grilling tongs like you have in the picture. Most places we rented did not have then and I use them a lot.

    Regarding knives, most rentals have crappy knives so we did buy one now that we are traveling around the U.S. and not having to go through airport security. On the international leg of our journey it would have been nice to have a blender to make smoothies but how practical is that to lug around?

    We also find ourselves going to dollar stores to buy cutting boards, cheese graters and measuring cups, which are often absent from rentals.

    But my favorite gadget of all is a Weber grill. Unfortunately that just wouldn’t fit into the suitcase.
    Michael @ Changes in Longitude recently posted…Queen for a Day on the Royal Yacht BritanniaMy Profile

    • I’ve wedged my Weber into the hatchback of my Mazda and carted it all over the Eastern US. I guess I could just take a grill grate. 😀

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We quit our jobs at the end of 2013 to backpack around the world. We're sharing our stories, travel advice and hopefully some inspiration. Read more...

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