Don't Starve on Vacation with these Hotel Room Cooking Hacks
By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff
Sponsored by The DoubleTree by Hilton Baltimore North
The DoubleTree by Hilton Baltimore North, Pikesville is booking special “Occasion Packages” for weddings, Bar/Bat mitzvah, Shabbatons, and other simchas as it prepares to open its new large banquet hall in October 2019. The program is in partnership with the well-known kosher caterers in the area. The joint program with Kosher Catering abilities will mean that guests will be able to enjoy strictly kosher haute cuisine with events being that much easier to organize.
Here’s an ugly little secret about traveling that no one talks about in their pretty Instagram vacation photos:
You can be at the most breathtakingly gorgeous place on planet Earth, but if you’re starving, you simply won’t be able to appreciate it. (Seriously — even the rumble at a Costa Rican volcano won’t be able to compete with the one taking place in your empty stomach.)
As a kosher-keeping traveler, subsisting on granola bars, cans of tuna, and the occasional fresh fruit is not always enough, especially if you’ll be away from home for more than a few days.
But even if you’re mucho miles away from a kosher restaurant or grocery, you can still assemble real food in your hotel room.
With a few essential items and appliances, you eat well enough to keep your mind off your hunger — and on that majestic Grand Canyon sunset!
Must-have cooking utensils
There is no one-size-fits-all vacation packing list. Your needs will vary depending on your hotel room amenities (i.e., fridge/freezer, microwave, stovetop, etc.) and the tastes of your traveling companions (i.e., the little ones!)
But if you’ll be cooking in your hotel room, here are the basics you’ll need to bring along:
• Cutting board
• Good-quality cutting knives (dairy, meat, or parve, depending on what you’ll be cooking)
• A large silicone, wooden, or nylon stirring spoon and/or slotted spoon (not vital, as you can use plastic, but these items will make your life easier)
• Paper or plastic bowls, plates, forks, and spoons
• Napkins and paper towels
• Aluminum foil, ziplock storage bags
• Sponges and dish soap
Must-have cooking appliances
With a few ingredients and a bit of ingenuity, you can bake, boil, and blanch your way to tasty and filling food — no kosher kitchen required.
- ELECTRIC KETTLE
This practical appliance isn’t just for tea and coffee! Lightweight, versatile, and super simple, an electric kettle can be used to make a surprising amount of things right in your hotel room.
With an electric kettle you can make:
- Instant oatmeal
Stave off breakfast boredom by getting creative with your oatmeal mix-ins. Stir in chocolate chips, dried blueberries, chopped pecans, banana slices, or almond butter. Don’t forget to add milk and a sweetener such as brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
- Ramen, instant mashed potatoes, or couscous
While these go-to sources of carbs are great on their own, you’ll require some protein and veggies to make it a full meal. For protein, consider topping your meal with shredded cheese, canned beans, or sliced beef sausages. Vegetable options can include tomatoes, bell peppers, salsa, or even fresh sweet corn (when corn on the cob is ripe, you can eat it raw!)
- YES, even hard-boiled eggs!
When you’re hungry, a freshly boiled egg is total perfection.
For this hack, just put the eggs inside your kettle and fill with water. Turn the kettle on and boil the eggs for 13–15 minutes. Drain and let the eggs sit in cold water for a few minutes to make peeling easier.
If you have mayonnaise, you can easily mash your eggs for a quick egg salad. Fill it into sandwich bread or wraps, and add some sliced tomatoes or pickles for a complete lunch you can bring with you for a day out.
- SMALL CROCKPOT
Really, is there anything you can’t make in a crockpot?
Even a small crockpot can make a big variety of dishes (just don’t leave your crockpot in your room unattended. Same goes for any cooking appliance in a hotel room).
With a crockpot you can make:
- Hot dogs
- Cholent or stew
Remember to keep it simple! If you don’t want to bother with cutting and peeling potatoes, you can use canned potatoes, or else use fresh baby potatoes with peels on — just be sure to scrub them well first.
- Vegetable soup
- TRAVEL BLENDER
Tired of cold cereal or breakfast bars every day of your vacation? Mix it up — literally — with a travel blender.
A mini blender is an affordable and tote-able appliance to bring with you on your next trip.
With a travel blender, you can make:
- Smoothies and shakes
For a stick-to-your-stomach breakfast that’ll last through hours of morning sightseeing, blend protein powder with your choice of milk and fruit. If you don’t have protein powder, use nut butter as a source of protein.
- RICE COOKER
If you can bring only one cooking appliance, make it your rice cooker.
The reigning appliance in travel cooking, a rice cooker can be used to make an impressive variety of travel-friendly meals in a relatively short time.
With a rice cooker you can make:
- Cholent or stew
- Rice and beans
With these travel-ready utensils and appliances, you’ll be equipped not only with great food but with the energy to fully enjoy your dream destination — wherever in the world that may be!
Please keep safety in mind and never leave appliances unattended while in use. Many hotels have rooms designed for cooking, so be sure to check with your hotel as you make your travel arrangements.
Watch OU & You for more about using the non-kosher microwave in your hotel room.