It was just about 2 years ago that I walked away from my dream kitchen. It had all the counter space I could ever ask for, cupboards and drawers filled with my favorite cookware, and the most wonderful sunlight. I really loved that kitchen! However, more important to me was seizing the opportunity to explore the world with my kids and husband, and that meant leaving the kitchen behind. Well, kind of behind because at first I had an entire 27 gallon storage container that I filled with all my favorite cookware (electric skillet, food processor, etc.), which fit perfectly on the hitch platform of our Mazda5. Whenever we traveled to a new rental house, campsite, or hotel I could pull from my mobile kitchen and still comfortably cook. However, I knew that we couldn’t always travel by car and that one day soon I would have to say goodbye to my mobile kitchen as well.
That day quickly caught up with me last month as I started preparing for our flight to mainland Mexico. At first I schemed of ways that I could still bring along some of my favorite cookware. However, as the suitcases filled up with clothing and the TSA regulations regarding knives made my head spin I decided that I really needed to let go. So, I resolved to only pack a very select set of cooking tools and make due with whatever I found in our rental houses.
Unfortunately, that idea didn’t get off to the best start as the advertised “fully equipped kitchen” in our first rental in San Cristóbal de las Casas turned out to be one drinking glass, a half broken pot, and a small gas range. Talk about mourning for the cooking items that I had left behind in Las Vegas. The rest of the Fives backed slowly out of the kitchen waiting for a “mommy melt-down”. Over the next few days the management of the rental house brought an assortment of battered and mis-matched plates and bowls along with a few pans. However, they could do nothing to fix the fact that the low powered gas range took over an hour to boil a pot of spaghetti.
So, for the past few weeks I have found myself having a kitchen pity party. As I try to figure out how to cook an entire meal for 5 people with just a few basic items I think longingly of my fully stocked kitchen in our old house in Maine. Then I snap out of it and mentally slap myself across the face reminding myself how lucky I am to even have an enclosed kitchen with running water and a stove. Many of the women that pass by our rental house everyday on their way to the market don’t even have these luxury items. I constantly remind myself that I am being spoiled and that a true cook should be able to create with whatever is available. So, every morning I return to the kitchen vowing to do my best (while secretly dreaming of the pages of a Williams-Sonoma catalog).
In the meantime I am finding comfort in the few cooking implements that I managed to fit into my suitcase. These little gems have definitely helped with the transition and were worth the effort that it took to bring them along. Especially the Black & Decker 3 Cup Food Chopper that we bought especially for this trip. Our beloved Cuisinart food processor was just too heavy to ever travel with, but we needed something that we could count on to process oats, nuts, and beans (our vegan staples). The reviews for the Black & Decker 3 Cup Food Chopper were really great so we gave it a try, and so far it has been fabulous. It only weighs about a pound and it packs really well in a suitcase. I highly recommend it for other travelers or parents making their own baby food. So, for now as I wait for the nostalgia over my old cookware to ware off I will find comfort in my new food processor, my tried and true vegetable peeler, and my flexible cutting board. Kitchen pity party over for now:)