Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking Kitchen

The kitchen in the fifth wheel is 5’ x 10’.  My kitchen at home is, well, significantly larger.  So how do I make sure I get all the right stuff into the “coach kitchen” and not exceed the weight limit of the truck?  Here’s how we did it:

Dishes:  Two words – lightweight and unbreakable.  I brought acrylic glasses and plastic tumblers.  Service for four only – if there are more than four people we’ll be outside using paper.
Pots and Pans:  Paul didn’t think I needed anything that isn’t cast iron.  Hmm – can you cook a stir fry in a dutch oven?  I convinced him to let me bring a muffin pan and a teakettle.  I also brought my double boiler – which “doubles” as two saucepans.  I learned I should have brought a small cookie sheet when we tried to bake pizzas. The workaround was aluminum foil on top of the muffin pan. 
Utensils:  Once again, lightweight and unbreakable, with preference to those items that do double duty. I brought a can opener, a wine opener, a cheese grater, and a spatula.  I forgot a serrated knife and serving spoons.
Appliances:  We don’t have much counter space for appliances.  I can live without a toaster.  I can live without a blender.  I can even live without a crock pot and a rice cooker.  I can’t live without a coffee pot.  I bought a new percolator model because it could be put away after we use it, and because we thought the power from the solar panels and the inverter would be enough to run it.  So far we’ve been wrong – the batteries have been too drained from running the furnace to power the percolator.  Can you say “Coleman Stovetop Coffee Pot?”
Staples:  What about those big containers of sugar, flour, oatmeal, rice – you get the idea.  I downsized to ZipLoc containers.  Of course, rice is going to the Minute variety since the rice cooker isn’t invited.
Spices:  I know – they’re small.  But why bring something I’m not going to use?  We started with the basics – if I buy it at Costco, it came with me.  If I bought it for one recipe that I didn’t end up liking (think Hungarian Paprika), it stayed home.
Cookbooks:  I have 26 cookbooks – not counting the small Pampered Chef booklets and the purple folder where I throw recipes I’ve pulled from newspapers, magazines and the internet.  I also had two recipe card files, plus the Betty Crocker Recipe card file box that everybody had to have in the 70’s.  And with very few exceptions I use 2 – 3 recipes out of each book.  The exceptions are those books where I use 0 – 1.   Let’s face it – if I’m looking for a recipe, I’m looking online.  I brought the “Dutch Oven Cookbook” and the purple folder.  I’m working on typing up the 2 – 3 (or 1) recipe out of each cookbook that I regularly use.  As to the two card files – they’re down to one.  I was brutal.  If I’d never made the recipe, it went into the recycle bin – no matter how good the picture looked. 
The biggest challenge was organizing.  The good news – there’s plenty of storage space in the fifth wheel kitchen.  The bad news – most of it is WAAAYYYY over my head.  There’s only one shelf that I can reach without a stepstool – which I forgot to bring with me!  

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