Trial and Error: Road Life Pointers Part 1

Part 1: Live to Eat I don’t know about you, but I live to eat. Part of living on the road is also eating on the road. It’s tempting to eat out all the time, but that just isn’t realistic. Adapting to a tiny kitchen had a steep learning curve. Learning to cook with limited energy, limited ingredients, and prioritizing manageable recipes is a massive shift from a conventional home kitchen. So, I thought it may be helpful to share some things I’ve learned while living on the road, in case it helps you too!

Firstly, here are some appliances we use most often…

  1. our 14 inch propane cooktop, with a removable cast iron griddle
  2. collapsable electric kettle
  3. a good old campfire, nothing fancy and no special starters

And here are some essential tools I use daily in the kitchen…

  1. wooden straight spatula
  2. large and wide skillet-style offset spatula
  3. metal ladle
  4. medium-sized butcher knife
  5. small paring knife
  6. medium-sized cutting board, one side plastic to cut meats/alliums and one side wood to cut everything else
  7. thin tin enamel-coated pot with lid
  8. heavy large cast iron pot with cast iron lid
  9. small heat-powered metal stove fan
  10. 2 wide yeti mugs
  11. 2 enamelware blue speckled wide bowl/plates
  12. potholders (obvious, but essential)

How to Manage a Tiny Kitchen on the Road

  • set a goal with how often you want to grocery shop based on your schedule, proximity to stores, and storage space rather than shopping for certain meals
  • research local and/or seasonal markets and keep a lookout for locally sourced foods in grocery stores, that’s where the best quality foods are and bargainable prices
  • repeat meals you love often
  • create and maintain an ongoing list of dishes you make, and include meal ideas as you go. I like to make lists by month, and add to them after each meal if I think it’s worthy
  • save inspiring recipes, and don’t be afraid to adapt your favorites to what you already have in stock and with the equipment available

“one pot” and “peasant food” are golden catagories for campfire and tiny kitchen cooking with simple ingredients, uncomplicated processes, and free of fussy kitchen equipment

  • research technique rather than ingredients so you are able to adapt to the ingredients available have instead of being boxed in from the recipe ingredients list
  • keep the ingredients (especially perishable and frozen produce) versitile with seasonings so you can cook with them in any style
  • when you already have the heat going, consider cooking foods and storing them for future use, like roasting a pumpkin whole on the fire or sauteeing green beans on the stove while cooking the main meal, and storing them in the fridge
  • surprisingly, simply adding water rather than stock or other liquids to cook can be enough flavor-wise, and helps the food steam and cook faster
  • experiment with different oils at different cook points to limit costs and make the most of the oil
  • condiments and spices are your new best friend for creating diverse, flavorful, and easy meals

my favorites easy flare ingredients include Japanese BBQ sauce, chili oil, lime juice, salsa verde, and sesame oil. We always have pecorino romano or Parmagiano reggiano pulsed through a blender ready to use in a container in the fridge too.

  • keep on the lookout for your preferred frozen raw produce
  • utilize an electric kettle when you need to add boiling water to a dish or drink instead of using cold water and waiting for it to boil directly on the heating element
  • consider different methods of cooking, in case one runs out or is limited in supply (we frequent the electric kettle, propane stove, and campfire)
  • think ahead if you’re using foods that can benefit from defrosting or soaking in water to reduce cook time
  • challenge yourself to use no more than 1 dish per person, 1 cutting board, 1 pot, and 1 cooking utensil per full meal
  • turning off the heat and letting the food steam in residual heat with the lid on is a great energy resource saver
  • seriously plan for ways to ventilate the space while cooking (we bought a stove fan, which paired with the window open directly next to the stove, expells heat and cooking fumes effectively. we also installed a trailer ceiling fan with changing directions, which helps too)

COOKING in any unfamiliar environment can be stressful, and cooking in the tiny home is no different. Sometimes the propane runs out mid-boil, or bread gets too toasted and smokes up the entire house, or the food cooking on the fire takes an extra hour to cook… the situation is simply unpredictable. But learning to adapt and improve has made all the difference. In the end, learning to balance cooking with “cold meals” like a cheese plate or fruit and nut plate, seeking out quick-cook and no-heat foods, and getting creative with ingredients make the process a lot easier. If you have any advice on cooking in a tiny home or with limited resources, don’t hesitate to contact me!

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