Vacation cooking items

What top 8 cooking items are you taking on your vacation? Some of you may run from cooking in a vacation rental. Not me. I find it relaxing to explore local markets, head for the kitchen and cook interesting food finds while on a trip. Maybe the sea air does something to me!  I avoid setting a menu to keep my soul open to the local food scene. Many vacation rentals offer lots of kitchen tools like tongs, corkscrews and grilling utensils. But why take a chance? The best way to cook in a vacation rental is to pack items that can guarantee some happiness. We are going on vacation with friends to a rental house on Martha’s Vineyard in September. Our travel companions share our love of fresh, healthy eating. No sandwich meats or canned soups for us!

Here’s my top 8 list:

  1. Olive oil. Fresh local produce with pasta becomes a lovely meal when you add great olive oil.  I usually pack 2 small bottles.
  2. One all-purpose prep knife. Our last vacation condo was supplied with beautiful dishes, wine goblets, serving platters, the works. Sadly, prep knives were dull. Avoid using up valuable vacation time shopping for kitchen tools! Bring a sharp knife.
  3. A favorite frying or casserole pan. I’m picky about my pots. Many vacation rentals skimp on quality pots and pans. So bring your go-to pan from home.
  4. Spice blends, cinnamon, hot sauce, dry beans, chocolate and sea salt. What a difference your favorite seasonings  and ingredients can make with barbecue sauce, a pot of chili, or crowd-pleasing potluck recipes.
  5. Coffee, Tea, sweeteners. Sometimes I bring my own French press coffee pot, as I am particular about my coffee. Whole leaf tea is another must for me!
  6. Flavor enhancers: Harissa paste, tomato paste, Parmesan cheese, olives, jams. Think of what you need to turn ordinary items into a gourmet meal. I always pack my husband’s favorite peach preserves. It makes his breakfast happy and enhances a variety of recipes.
  7. Zip-lock plastic bags and wax paper for food finds, storage and picnics.
  8. Pancake mix: buy a brand that can make piecrust.  Remember to pack vanilla extract! If you are anything like me, you may get inspired to bake cobblers or whip up some pancakes on vacation.

What cooking items do you take to your vacation rental?

must-have vacation cooking items
Examples of some must-have vacation cooking items: olive oil, sharp knife, beans, favorite pan, honey, hot sauce, vanilla extracts, tea, coffee, sea salt, plastic baggies