September 1, 2014

Vacation Kitchens Offer Memorable Al Fresco Dining Experiences for Travelers

In Al Ahsa, near the city of Hofuf, I enjoyed Arab hospitality in the form of a Saudi tailgate party. Lounging on hand-woven Middle Eastern carpets on the sand, my hosts and I dined under the stars amid the palm trees on dates, grilled lamb chops, chai and hummus. Our kitchen? A portable metal fire box with a piece of grating and a tea pot. Entertainment came in the form of a drumming CD piped through speakers resting on the back of a truck.

Cooking from the road doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are some tips for travel kitchen success.

Portability:

Chuck boxes – wooden containers with cooking supplies and food items – are popular on scouting hikes for a reason. They are easy to transport. Pack one up for your next campout or tailgate party, and be ready to roll. Teardrop and other tow-behind day-trip trailers can be organized for easy access to kitchen supplies. Items to consider packing include a good knife, a frying pan, something to boil water and a corkscrew.

Gear:

A collapsible one-burner stove with a small pot and a French press has served David and I for coffee, ramen, soup and more when a flood caused a temporary displaced living situation. Mini vans with electrical outlets in the back make a great place to plug in a hot pot or sandwich press for warm snacks during rest stops on a long road trip. Thin, flexible cutting boards take up little room and provide a multipurpose work surface.

Consumables:

Flexible foods will give you the greatest number of menu options for the least possible cash outlay. Potatoes are a stable choice which won’t need to be refrigerated, as are seasoned pouches of rice and noodles to serve as side dishes with freshly-caught fish. Certain fruits will also last longer for more remote camping experiences. For example, fresh berries will start getting mushy quite quickly, while apples and oranges can remain ready for consumption in the trunk of your car without the need for a cooler.

Photo Credit: Pictures of Travel Places