The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Hasselbrink_3J5A7002-2I spend a fair amount of time on the road. One of the things that I most enjoy is making my own meals while traveling. Cooking away from home anchors me. I like to be able to nourish myself and the people I’m traveling with, and it’s my favorite way to spend an evening after a long day of hiking or driving or photo work. The meals tend to be simple. My resources are invariably limited on the road, whether camping, and I must bring everything that I need to be able to cook, or renting a cozy cottage in the woods with a questionably stocked kitchen.


Vacation rentals tend to have dull knives, scratched-beyond-reason teflon skillets, burned plastic cooking utensils, and smelly, soggy sponges. It can be gross. So I bring my own pantry.

I have a set of 3 plastic bins in which I store dry goods, pantry essentials, and the basics of a portable kitchen. This set-up pretty much enables me to cook a delightful meal without worrying about variables that I can’t control. It’s kind of empowering! Especially if you don’t want to rely on truck stop snacks or fast food restaurants for your meals on the road.


But you also have to clean up that mess that you made in order to have an awesome meal on the road. I always bring a sponge and soap along to clean up …. especially essential when camping, but nice to have at a rental as well. method home invited me to show you how I fear no mess on the road …. and this is how I do it!


First, have a portable kitchen with these basics: a small cutting board, one or two sharp knives (small paring knives work fine!), a lightweight camping pot set and/or or one cast-iron skillet (they can handle the abuse!), one wooden spoon, and a dish towel or two. I also love to bring lightweight wooden bowls, since they can handle abuse and won’t break, but just as often find myself eating out of my glass or stainless steel food containers. They do a great job doubling as your eating vessels. And a few utensils for eating, and a couple of jam jars for beverages – I’ve yet to have one break.


I also like to use my camping and backpacking gear even if I’m not camping, because it’s compact and lightweight, which is just as useful on a road trip. Saving space while traveling is always important, regardless of how you’re getting there.

If you don’t have a suitable indoor kitchen space, make your mess outside! Really, it’s easier to dispose of things and deal with unanticipated spills. Being a creative leftie, I tend to knock things over a lot.

Hasselbrink_3J5A7032-2If you do cook outside, watch out for critters. I am super mindful of not wanting to invite animals for dinner, especially bears! So I never leave stuff unattended, and I am pretty thorough in my clean up. This means that I pick up even the smallest bits of trash (micro-trash), and I thoroughly scrub all of my dishes so that lingering food smells don’t invite any critters for a late-night snack.

Hasselbrink_3J5A7035-2 This is where it’s really handy to have the bins! Use one bin for washing dishes, and another for rinsing. Most campgrounds will have a place where you can dispose of grey water.


Even if you can wash your dishes inside, if it’s a warm, sunny summer day, it’s actually kinda fun to wash them outside!


PS: If you’re really trying to save space, dispense some soap into a small portable squeeze bottle. Tuck it into a sealable plastic bag with the sponge, and you’re set!

Got questions about how I do it? Feel free to ask away.



1 or 2 large zucchini or yellow squash

Handful cherry tomatoes, halved

Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Parmesan or pecorino, shaved

Fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, or chives

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini into long ribbons. Add the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, a generous glut of olive oil, the cheese, and the herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss together and serve!

Thanks to method for sponsoring this post. Content like this sustains me as a creative freelancer!


  • Taste of France - Oh, when I went back to Kenya after 10 years away, what I craved more than anything was a carrot. A stupid, raw carrot, but if you get one without massive chemicals, grown in fertile soil, it tastes better than anything. Sure, I lusted after mangoes and passion fruit and all kinds of other goodies, but I seriously had dreams about Kenyan carrots. I went to a big supermarket and bought a vegetable peeler, and then I went to a real market (not a supermarket for crying out loud) and bought me some fat Kenyan carrots from somebody who grew them. I went back to the hotel, peeled them and ate them all. Heaven. I’m sure the maid staff wondered why in the world there was a plastic bag with carrot peelings in the trash. But SO GOOD. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Great post! I sometimes even take handsoap when I’m going to hotels because they only have bar soap and no where to put itReplyCancel

  • Linda@ThereandBackAgainFood - You’re making me miss my camping days! It is so fun to do everything outside…makes the most mundane chores enjoyable. However, when I travel, I prefer to explore the local eateries as much as possible.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae - Oh how I wish I could be on the road with you. <3ReplyCancel

  • The Wooden Spoon - What a great post! However, now I really want to take a road trip!ReplyCancel

  • GiGi Eats - Simple is always best in my personal opinion!!!ReplyCancel

  • will - You have enlivened such a large number of Health web journals! Continue doing the Benefits Tips LLL things that you generally do!ReplyCancel

  • tracey paterson - Hi Kimberley, I love your blog, thank you. And am really enjoying the days of Christmas! I was curious as to what you have as pantry essentials on the road? I’m about to head off and would be great to get some ideas as what to bring. Many thanks

    Warm Regards

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