10 Must-Have Items in my Nomad Kitchen

10 Must-Have Items in my Nomad Kitchen

Over the past three years, we’ve lived in a lot of places: Nova Scotia, Saba, Maryland, two places in Louisiana, and we’re only half done our nomadic adventure!

Since we travel mostly by plane and car and are living in ‘furnished’ apartments due to the short spans of time we live there, we’ve needed to make up for the fact that most places don’t come with some major kitchen basics, or they’ve been so… loved.. that they’re unusable.

There are definitely some kitchen items that I would have gone CRAZY without, and have made cooking ‘nomad style’ much easier! I could not live without these kitchen basics!

1) 3-Quart Slow Cooker
The largest and most bulky item on the list, this only comes with us on car moves, because it’s a liiiiiittle too big for a suitcase! It fits perfectly in our car, and we can store things inside it if we need the extra space (socks! scarves! measuring cups!). At one of our locations we didn’t have an oven and I was going crazy trying to think of delicious things to cook using only the stove-top. This crockpot has been a godsend! It’s easy, low maintenance, and now I don’t have to slave over a hot stove all day. The basic model will do, I don’t need a fancy one for travelling.

2) Magic Bullet
None of the places we’ve been so far have anything even remotely close to a blender, and that won’t work for this smoothie lover! This baby is small and easy to pack in a suitcase or tub for moving. It can be used as a blender, or a grinder, or even as an extra cup if you find there aren’t enough in the place you’re living.

3) Sauce Pan with Glass Straining Lid
We picked one of these up at Walmart and I’m so glad that we did. Having the strainer lid eliminates the need for a strainer (obvs), and the pot was big enough that I could cook most everything I needed. I used it for rice, pasta, soup, everything. Even when we moved to a place that had more pots, I found myself reaching for this one because it made my life so easy.

4) A good set of knives
There is nothing worse than using knives that you know have never, in their entire life, been sharpened or cared for. If you can find ones with covers for safe transportation, that’s even better!

5) A cutting board
It’s surprising how many places won’t have a cutting board. You’d think they’d want to protect their counters! Cutting boards are small and light, and are flat so they pack easily into anything you’ve got. I try to have two if I can: a plastic one for cutting raw meat, and another one for everything else.

6) 9×9 inch pan
Almost anything I need to bake, I can put in this pan. Whether it’s bread or tomato-free lasagna or cake, or whatever, it will fit in there. The thin metal also makes this easily portable.

7) Rubber spatula
I use my rubber spatula for everything. Mixing batter, scooping the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar, decorating cakes – I love my rubber spatula!

8) Measuring cups and spoons
Not every place we’ve stayed has had them, and while I like to cook experimentally, baking doesn’t work that way! I need these…

9) Frying pan
I need a frying pan. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ended up needing one of these too. Pro tip: a good frying pan will last you for life! I’m kicking myself for not digging my cast-iron one out of storage and bringing it with us because let me tell you, I have fought with so many frying pans it’s not even funny.

10) Last but not least: spices!
Where would I be without my spices? Left in a bland, flavourless wasteland, that’s where! We pack ours in a large ziplock bag in two parallel rows so they lay flat. My must-haves are: Garlic powder (of course), salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin, cilantro, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and rosemary. I find I can make most of the things I want with these. It makes no sense for me to try and off-load them every time we move, and why would I, I need them!

My Nomad Kitchen is always changing and adapting, so I’d LOVE to see your travel cooking items! What are your ‘can’t do without’ kitchen suggestions? Share in the comments below!


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About the author


An avid lover of all things East Coast and delicious, Cristina blogs at I Say Nomato, a site dedicated to exploring and inventing allergy-friendly food. When she's not experimenting in the kitchen, she can be found curled up with a good book or planning her next adventure.