Cooking in the RV
RV kitchens are cozy, efficient, and handy “rooms” that travel with you. Their only downside is their small side—which can be a benefit, depending on how you look at it. After all, you don’t have to take as many steps to get from the stove to the refrigerator, so it’s very efficient. You can make just about anything in your RV kitchen that you would at home, assuming yours comes with a small oven or microwave. If it doesn’t, never fear—you can always bake using a Dutch oven on top of a burner. With a little pre-planning, you’ll come to love your snug little galley!
Because of the limited storage space in an RV, you don’t want to pack anything you aren’t likely to need. If the menu for your trip doesn’t call for a soup pot, or a cast iron frying pan, you might as well leave those things at home. So the first key to packing your RV kitchen is to plan ahead. Make a calendar (or photo copy a wall calendar) and write out the day’s meals in each square. Once you’re on the road, you can switch the meals around, so long as you eat them all! And of course there’s always room for last-minute changes, but having a plan will help you prepare.
As you write out the menu for each meal, keep one list of ingredients and another for cooking equipment. For instance, a pasta supper might require “noodles, sauce, cheese, basil, and olives” in the ingredients section and “pot, saucepan, grater” in the equipment list. As you fill your menu, you’ll get a good sense of what cooking gear you absolutely have to have and what you might live without. When it comes to equipment, be frugal! If you can strain your pasta using the lid and not bring the colander, that’s a decision that will save you space.
Look for recipes that are quick to make and that use very few pots and pans. One-pot meals are perfect! You might also invest in a crock pot or other slow-cooker. When you’re at a camp site for the day, you can plug your slow cooker in, fill it with soup or stew ingredients, and come home to a delicious meal that’s ready to eat.
Every day on the road, when you have breakfast, take stock of your supplies. Are there leftovers you could finish off? Ingredients that you need to use up? Adjust your menu to fit the state of your cupboard.
Plan to Buy Food Along the Way
Refrigerator space is often at a premium in an RV. The solution? Buy fresh fruits and veggies as you go. This not only saves you space, it also give you a chance to interact with the communities you’re traveling through. Visit farmer’s markets and sample local treats or stop off at farmer’s stands as you pass through farm country. Keep your quantities small by only buying what you truly need.
Certain items are a necessity, so be sure to bring:
- a good-sized pot
- frying pan
- Cooking spoon/spatula
- Can opener
- Spice kit (with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, other herbs and spices)
- Individual plates, cups, and utensils
- Matches or a lighter for campfires