Yeshiva Week: Kosher Foods You Can Find At Any Store On Vaca (+ How To Cook Them)
Traveling kosher, especially with a family, has its challenges. Not knowing what is available in a given locale may seem stressful but thankfully, the United States is a relatively easy place to find kosher certified food, even in far-flung places. Domestic travel -- even with limited kitchen accommodations -- doesn’t have to be that hard. With a little strategy, forethought, and planning, you can keep the family happy and satiated while on the go.
To play it safe, I usually like to bring along the “essentials” that may not be available at my vacation destination. This would include some kosher meats (and/or deli items) and cheese; some kind of cooking appliance – be it a Betty Crocker pizza maker or a sandwich maker – a can opener, and a small sharp knife. The rest is generally available at local supermarkets, but going with a list or plan usually helps save time and stress!
Survey Your Surroundings
You’ve just arrived at your hotel and find that the “kitchenette” is really a mini-fridge and a toaster. While knowing that info ahead may have been helpful, you can still plan your meals accordingly. It is surprising how much we can cook in a hotel room and just how resourceful we can be. Most American hotel rooms come with a coffee maker (that can boil water) and an iron (which can heat up more than clothing). Once informed, you’re off to the supermarket to survey your kosher options…
The Makings of a Meal
- Many packaged breads, bagels, and wraps are certified kosher, which means you will be able to make: lunch sandwiches (PB&J), deli sandwiches or wraps, bagels and lox (most nova is certified kosher), hummus and veggies, etc. Cream cheese and butter are available kosher everywhere (if you eat chalav stam).
- Soft Tortillas: Perfect for quesadillas (load ’em up with canned corn and/or beans) in your Betty Crocker. Didn’t bring an appliance? Buy tin foil and double-cover the hotel iron with foil – iron your assembled quesadilla till melty and warm (ditto for grilled cheeses).
Side dishes can often be challenging. Here are some suggestions from commonly found products:
- Instant couscous: Boil water in your coffee maker and steep with your couscous covered in a disposable tin pan; fluff with fork.
- Frozen hash browns: Can be crisped up in a Betty Crocker or sandwich maker.
- Canned vegetarian baked beans: Widely available kosher; add cut up cooked hot dogs or sausages for a meal-in-one. (Double-wrap in a disposable tin or pot if an oven is available.)
- Frozen vegetables: Some brands of pre-cut frozen vegetables (like peas & carrots mix) are certified kosher (always check package first!). Fill bathroom sink with very hot water; submerge sealed bag in water (or place package in sealed zip-top bag) until contents are warmed through.
- Frozen blintzes: Once thawed can be quickly cooked on the sandwich maker or Betty Crocker.
- No meat? Kosher certified veggie burgers and Beyond burgers are available at most markets. Build them up with tomato, lettuce, and pickles for a fuller meal.
- Instant oatmeal: Boil water in the coffee maker and steep for a hot breakfast.
Make sure to purchase paper goods, disposable tins and foil, and some zip-top bags to make your experience easier. Most of all, don’t forget to bring your sense of humor and a smile. If your kids see you got this and can laugh at any challenges, then they will too.
For more recipes, hacks, and gadgets for traveling see below: