Have you ever arrived at an airbnb or cabin rental and found the kitchen stocked with less than ideal equipment and supplies? Nearly every rental kitchen we’ve ever cooked in had scratched non-stick pans, flimsy plastic spatulas, tiny cutting boards, and dull kitchen knives, not exactly the best stuff for preparing great summer meals. Since you never know how well a vacation rental kitchen is going to be equipped, bringing a few of your own basic tools and supplies is definitely in order. Here are some of the kitchen things we take with us when we hit the road.
10-inch cast iron skillet
A well seasoned cast iron pan will serve you well for all your meals and is infinitely better than a chipped and scratched non-stick skillet. Fry up your eggs and bacon or pancakes in the morning and saute your veggies for dinner in a pan seasoned by you. Since it’s the heaviest kitchen item you’ll take, place it all by itself on the trunk floor.
Chef Knife (sharp of course) and pairing knife
Rental kitchens are known for supplying the least helpful knives, like carving and boning knives. (Plus, they are so dull as to be practically useless.) These types of knives are hard to prep veggies with. Bring your own trusty chef knife, but be sure to carry it in a sheath, both to protect the blade and yourself. If you don’t have a sheath, make one with a paper towel tube or other piece of cardboard. Ditto with your good, sharp pairing knife.
Large flexible cutting board
A flexible cutting board takes up almost no space and is invaluable in a rental kitchen. In fact, you might as well take two.
Dish rag and dish soap
Unless your rental kitchen is supplied with a brand new sponge still in its wrapping, you can’t be sure what kind of unsanitary condition a sponge is in, so to be on the safe side, bring your own clean sponge or dish rag. Transfer some of your favorite dish soap to a smaller bottle and take that too, if you don’t care for the smell of Dawn dish soap, which is what all rental kitchens seem to have.
Flimsy, plastic turners or nasty, old teflon-coated turners just don’t cut it. Bring your own sturdy, thin metal turner for sautéing, flipping pancakes, etc.
Salt and olive oil
That trusty blue cylinder or shaker filled with Morton salt is ok, but why not bring your own high quality kosher or sea salt? The taste is superior and it will not take up much space. Same for olive oil. That bottle of cheap vegetable oil in the cupboard is probably rancid, so take a small bottle of high quality extra virgin olive oil for sautéing and making your own vinaigrettes and marinades. (While you’re at it, don’t forget some good white wine or balsamic vinegar.)