Cooking in a hostel? Here's how to survive the kitchen.
It doesn't matter how well organized you are when you travel if you are having problems cooking and storing the food you’re preparing.
Facilities can vary so widely and you may be in a rental cottage with a deluxe kitchen one week, the next you may be stuck in a cheap motel with a tiny fridge. And hostel kitchens? They're the most challenging of all!
Keep the following tips in mind when you buy and prepare food as you travel:
1.) Remember: the pots and pans in hostels, rental cottages, and even hotel suites have been used hard. Their non-stick qualities will be long gone, so grease them well.
2.) Don’t despair if you can’t find the right size pan – rolls of cookie dough can be patted down flat on a pizza pan. Small cake mixes can be cooked in bread pans. And instant cookies and cakes make excellent treats on the road – you can get a dozen servings for the cost of one or two cafe cupcakes, keep the kids happy, get a taste of home, get to indulge your creativity, and even contribute to local bake sales. Make cookies when you’re away from home – you’ll be the happier for it!
3.) Takeout: Pizza and take away Chinese food sounds great and there are deals to be had in every city. But leftover pizza won’t last a second in a hostel fridge and the large boxes and awkward containers will never fit in your motel room fridge. Don’t order more than you can eat in the moment- chances are high the leftovers will never hit your mouth.
4.) Label all food with your name and date when you are at a hostel. If you are going to staying and cooking exclusively in hostels, consider investing in a roll of foil or a cloth lunch bag to place over your groceries or leftovers. It’s no guarantee, but chances are thieves will go for the easier picks -like the unlabeled, easy to see yogurt or muffins. In house rentals and hostels, leave behind unused non-perishables. If they've been partially used or opened, leave a note giving more information and helpful hints, such as “free to use: olive oil opened on May 15″ or “coffee: french press style. Opened April 10 – careful, it’s very strong”.
5.) Gear: Medium sized, high quality Ziploc style bags are a must – so versatile for food and all your travel needs. Throw in a travel spork and a water bottle/cup/thermos and you’ll manage okay with the basics of transporting and eating on the run. Feeling fancy? Add an immersion coil heater to boil water anywhere – I always travel with mine.
Bon Voyage – and Bon Appetite!
Enjoy the rest of this series!
Part 1: Five Simple Travel Spice Mixes
Part 2: Five Quick & Easy Travel Snacks.
Part 3: Five Easy To Make Travel Nibbles.
Part 4: Five Delectable, Easy Meals for Travelers.