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Camper Cooking - What to Pack

Packing can be methodical or chaotic; we have a friend who was new to motor homes and caravanning in general, some over zealous salesman told him he had to have a chainsaw, he went out and bought one and has never used it when camping. Certainly people who are new to motor homes can learn from their fellow campers, but you have to take your own style into consideration.

Give me a cutting board, a good knife and I am well on my way to making dinner. However, I do need a small electric chopper because I make my own pesto and spicy vegetable dip that requires a lot of fine chopping. Other folks wonít go anywhere without a bread maker or a slow cooker. I have both of these things in my kitchen at home, but donít use them often enough to take up precious storage space in the motor home.

One other thing to look at, do you entertain? If so, will you need extra mugs, flatware and perhaps even wine glasses? Do you carry extra folding chairs? Letís run through one scenario. You will be camped at a camping resort with full hookups and you are meeting friends. You will be splitting the cooking (three dinners each and out to dinner one night), so you need to come up with three really nice meals. Youíve decided on: Steaks, grilled potatoes and corn on the cob Chicken and vegetable stir fry over rice, fresh mussels over pasta. You would need the following:

  • Outdoor grill
  • Large pot with a lid
  • Large fry pan
  • Small pot with a tight fitting lid
  • Colander
  • Garlic press
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Possibly extra flatware, mugs, plates, and glassware

Letís look at another scenario. You have a family of four Ė two adults and two children. Although you have water and electric, you are not hooked up to sewer so waste water becomes more critical. Youíve decided to keep the meals simple. Here are seven meals:

  • A casserole you brought from home in a disposable tin pan (best the first night because you are tired)
  • Grilled pork chops, grilled potatoes (in olive oil and spices in foil) and salad
  • Hamburgers on the grill, corn on the cob on the grill, deli three bean salad
  • Steaks on the grill, rice with chopped broccoli in it
  • Fish in foil on the grill, baked potatoes on the grill, steamed baby carrots
  • Pizza on the grill (use a store bought pizza crust)
  • A cooked chicken from the store, potato salad (use the microwave to cook the potatoes), green beans

For this scenario you will need:

  • Outdoor grill
  • Small pan with tight fitting lid
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Heavy duty tin foil

If you use paper plates, your dishes are minimal. If you make the rice ahead and steam the veggies in the microwave, you can cut back even more on dish washing.

Do you need to plan every meal before you get into a campervan? No. You just need to get a feel for the appliances and utensils you typically use. Itís tough making spaghetti without a large pot and a colander.

So, as you get ready to pack the kitchen for the first time, begin with a list of meals that you enjoy when camping. Use that list to determine what appliances are necessary to make those dishes. Certainly there will be exceptions as you take advantage of local cuisine and ingredients.