By Carrie Todd
Most consider the kitchen one of the most important spaces in their RV. Although many conventional gadgets and appliances could make the room more functional, the small space requires a conservative touch. For example, many consider the coffee maker an essential appliance (myself included some days) and most kitchens include a toaster. The tasks performed by these modern “conveniences”, however, can be performed by other, more versatile items.
Related Read: Kitchen Must-Haves to Simplify your RV Lifestyle
So, when choosing what to include in an RV’s kitchen, limit yourself by asking the following questions: “can I live without it?” and “is there a more versatile item that can fill this purpose?” Following these guidelines ensures you have what you need without taking up space with things that you don’t. These are the things I consider essential for the kitchen.
Pots and Pans
Obviously, if you are going to do any cooking other than outdoor grilling, you are going to need some pots and pans. Instead of a full set, choose one or two in sizes that you use most often. Perhaps, merely a skillet and three lidded pans in a range of sizes to accommodate your needs.
Choose, preferably, a small set that nests one within the other or even a set of collapsible ones. When they are collapsed and stacked, they are easily stored out of the way to make room for other kitchen essentials.
These are fairly easy to find. The outdoor section of any camping store has an array of collapsible wares, as does eBay and Amazon.
Related Read: Some of my favorite kitchen tools for the RV
One of my favorite inventions is the crockpot, also known as the slow cooker. Raised partly on Midwestern potlucks, I’ve seen buffet-style receptions served almost entirely from rows of crockpots. That said, they are extremely handy. You can cook a complete, one-pot meal at your convenience with just a little bit of planning. This is why I consider this to be an RV kitchen essential.
Related Read: Slow Cooker Recipes for the RV
It takes up less space than other meal preparation methods, so it’s space efficient. It allows you to assemble the ingredients, turn it on, and walk away, so it’s time-efficient. Since it basically consists of one pot and a lid, it’s easy to clean, allowing you to conserve water.
Plus, there are so many recipes! Even things that you wouldn’t think could be cooked in a crockpot, with a bit of adaptation, can be. This means that if you really want to minimize, with a good crockpot you may not even need the aforementioned pots and pans, but I digress.
Another essential for your kitchen is a set of dinnerware, flatware, and “glassware”. Using disposable versions may be handy, but it can get expensive, it fills up your trash, and it isn’t terribly environmentally friendly. Consider, instead, keeping one place-setting for each resident and just washing them after every use. You can always keep some disposable ones on hand for entertaining.
Consider using picnic-ware; it’s usually smaller and takes up less space.
Use plastic. It is less likely to break in transit.
Use lidded cereal/soup bowls to double as containers for leftovers.
A Swiss army knife serves many purposes, in the kitchen and out.
Dividers, hangers, and racks—a good system of organizers can benefit every kitchen. Plus, with the limited space, RV galleys require even more coordination than most. Adding racks and drawer organizers makes the most of the interior of your cabinets and reduces the amount of counter space you are using. With utensils, spices, ingredients, and cleaning supplies, etc. the area can quickly become chaotic, especially during travel.
In fact, one of the most important but perhaps least obvious reasons to invest in a decent organizational system is to reduce the shifting while your RV is in motion and eliminate things falling out or breaking.
There are many products available that keep your dishes and other supplies secure while traveling. Just check out the kitchen section of any RV or camping store. Basically, if it works in a boat, it’ll work in your RV.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
There are many products on the market that solve niche problems. Really, the only things you need are baking soda and vinegar. These are inexpensive options that can be used for a multitude of things.
Diluting vinegar with water creates a great disinfectant and anti-fungal agent that is also a glass and mirror cleaner. It removes pesticides from produce and can be used to soften and add shine to your hair, as well.
Baking soda scrubs stains out of porcelain, whitens grout, freshens the refrigerator, and can be used as an inexpensive and effective toothpaste. It can even put out grease fires.
Due to the restrictive size of the space, it is important that each item provides the “most bang for its buck”. In other words, it should perform several important functions or one absolutely necessary one while taking up as little space as possible. What is important to have in an RV’s kitchen, however, is highly subjective. So, make a list of what you think is important and pare it down to its essentials. Then add a crockpot.
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