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Kitchen Essentials and RV Livin’

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Blog Posts | 3 comments


In nine days, my family and I will embark on a grand adventure. We are taking the opportunity for a mid-life (we hope) reboot and hitting the road to live, travel, cook, home-school, and all the rest, in a 38-foot used RV we picked up a few months ago. We’ll be gone a full calendar year.  I’ll be able to write and continue to work with clients by phone, though I don’t imagine I’ll be able to do any house-calls from the road (unless you are in the same state park…).

While I’m focused now on packing and getting ready, the one thing I am most curious about is how I will adjust to cooking in a kitchen with about 2 feet of counter space and an 8 cubic foot fridge, which is much smaller than my Twin Cities home fridge.

Our main challenges are space and weight. We don’t want to burn out our axles (apparently).  Our indoor kitchen has three propane burners, a small oven and a microwave. We will have an “outdoor” kitchen with a small propane grill and two burners and a small fridge.

Things I will miss: knowing the grocery stores I shop at, having a Whole Foods, Target and local coop within three miles of my home, my basement freezer, my stand-mixer, the rice-cooker, roomy pantry, my food-processor for making smoothies…

I will bring my large crock-pot that has a simmer feature, our air-popper since we make a lot of popcorn for snacks and it’s not too heavy, my hand immersion blender, two-slice toaster, two silicone muffin pans, one 9×9 Pyrex baking dish, one Pyrex round casserole dish with top, and the standard gear like a peeler, spatula, wisk, paring knife, Santoku, these grippy cutting mats




So, my question to you is…

What gadgets would you take with you, what would you be able to live without, how would you replace them (i.e make rice in the slow cooker which I have yet to perfect)…

What essential pantry items/spices would stay, what could you live without?

When we moved the last time, I had two laundry baskets full of sauces and stuff, and there just isn’t room. For example, I plan to only bring 2 vinegars: white balsamic and cider— okay, maybe three and bring the rice vinegar…

You see what I’m up against? Help!

Any tips (or favorite resources) for shopping, pantry and cooking with small spaces and likely with some weeks in “food deserts” are welcome! I figure we may be eating more dried fruit and frozen fruits and veggies…


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  1. Margit Van Schaick

    I would not put vinegar in plastic. Actually, I try not to use plastic at all to hold food.

  2. Jennifer Gardner, M.D.

    Fantastic. This is a personal dream for me some day! I would take some spice mixes: Italian, Greek, Chinese–these can come through in a pinch. If you will have a microwave, consider Lékué cookware (

    Good luck,

    Jennifer A. Gardner, MD, FAAP, CEO & Founder, Healthy Kids Company

  3. Elly

    I would think of it like backpacking where space and weight are also key. I think decanting things like herbs and spices into smaller plastic containers would work. Look through your favorite recipes and write down the herbs/spices called for and bring those for sure. For me, I wouldn’t take things like cinnamon and nutmeg, because I rarely use those. But I use stuff like parsley and basil on a near daily basis. If you must take 3 types of vinegar, use smaller, plastic containers.