Cooking in Unique and Small RV Spaces

Martin Aller-Stead

Welcome to our first contribution to the Explorer RV Club blog. Our sincere hope is that the techniques we’ll be sharing in these blog posts will help you strengthen your skills and confidence when cooking in unique and small RV spaces. We want this to be a collaborative effort and look forward to receiving your ideas to be used in future articles.

First, a little bit about us. Although compared to some of the folks we’ve met at the Explorer rallies we’ve been to, we’re relative newbies and not yet full-timers. Over the last five years, we’ve made a few round trips between Ontario and Saskatchewan, as well as adventures in southern BC, Yellowknife, and the northern U.S. A couple of years ago, we catered a Canada Day street party for 100 out of our motorcoach, while parked on a residential street in Ottawa (the parking police were occupied elsewhere that day)!

The name of our coach is “SkilPad”. A skilpad is a tortoise, a land-based creature that carries its house everywhere it goes and is known for its success in making haste slowly. Similarly, our coach carries its house within and progresses more slowly on the highways than jackrabbit vehicles. We’ve developed an increased appreciation of basic cooking techniques that can be utilized wherever we are. We’ve also learned that we don’t need lots of fancy equipment to prepare healthy, economical, and delicious meals. Hence our emphasis on techniques, not toys.

Let’s talk about getting our RV kitchens ready for the new season.

Completing a Kitchen Circle Check

One of the things we learned when we took our Ontario DZ licenses was the importance of conducting a circle check each time we started the coach – tires, windscreen, lights, fluids, brakes, mirrors, and safety equipment. And as our thoughts turn to getting the RV ready for the season, how about also completing a circle check for our RV kitchen? This would include checking the fridge, stove, cooktop, microwave, and kitchen waterline. Our fridge happens to have a waterline for an icemaker and one year we neglected to check if the cap had been replaced after de-winterizing. The puddle of water on the floor under the fridge told us it hadn’t! Check the propane connections for the fridge and the cooktop for secure connections and signs of wear. Test the gas connections by lighting the burners in a well-ventilated space. Replace the batteries in both the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And if some of you have an under-sink water filter, consider installing a replacement canister.

A kitchen circle check at the beginning of the season could also include a review of your kitchen equipment. Some ideas include:

Use plastic dishes whenever you can – they’re lighter and won’t break as easily. Leave your ceramic ware back at your home-without-wheels.

You don’t need as many sets of dishes as you think. Certainly have at least one set of dishes for each regular on-board resident. Don’t fuss about having additional sets for guests – most guests are very willing to bring their own dishes and fl atware with them.

Stainless steel mugs and wine goblets are wonderfully durable. And, you can chill them in the freezer or cooler.

Use square/rectangular (not round) storage containers with secure lids for more effi cient use of space in the fridge and cupboards.

Who says you can’t have a bit of elegance on- board? Silver trays, jugs, and teapots (from thrift stores) are practical and sturdy.

Do you need a standalone dish rack and drainer tray? Microfibre dish drying mats are easy to use and don’t take up any space after the dishes have been put away.

Multi-tasking Kitchen Equipment

Three multi-tasking tools we find ourselves using daily include induction burners (safe even around children); a Magic Pot type of cooker (ours is a Breville); and a NutriBullet Rx (blends and heats).

Our fridge broke down at the beginning of the summer and because we were on the road constantly, we went the whole season without one. A lifesaver for us was a dual voltage portable cooler. Two small battery-operated fridge fans have also been extremely useful.

In our next post, we’ll share some cooking techniques and recipes to make the most of the summer season. We’d love to hear from you. Please send us your suggestions and comments to martin@skilpadcooks.com.

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