Tuesday, December 23, 2014

RV one butt kitchen

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are first-time RVers. We sold our home in Tucson and just started traveling this winter in a 30 ft. motorhome. It gives new meaning to the term, “One Butt Kitchen.” I enjoy cooking, but this miniscule space seems to crimp my style. The counter area and refrigerator/freezer are downsized enough to make normal cooking and storage a constant challenge. There is a definite order to getting things done with the least amount of difficulty! I am learning to approach meals in stages. So far I have said a few naughty words. My husband says I just have to adjust. Am I being unreasonable in comparing this closet cooking to the space I am accustomed?
--Super-downsized in Deming

Dear Down:
Learning to cope in an RV takes some adjustment. I would recommend starting out with some advice from W.C. Fields, “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” This should mellow you out a bit. On a more serious note, add some counter space. This is easily accomplished with a fold down counter extension, available at any RV store. If your stove doesn’t already come with a cover, they can be purchased at Camping World or improvise with an upside down cookie sheet for added counter space. Refrigerator and freezer space often calls for shopping more often, but you will become accustomed to stocking the most important items in the space you have. The same applies to dry goods storage. Many RVer’s have come up with collections of simpler meals that mimic what they have been used to cooking. You may try exploring downsized cooking utensils as well. Have you considered more outdoor cooking? There are a wide array of outdoor cooking appliances that will give you more options when weather permits. Much of your frustration is becoming familiar with your new space and developing a new routine. Speaking of a new routine, you might want to consider some advise from author Elizabeth Gilbert. She says, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen...sitting in a comfortable chair, with her feet up, drinking a glass of wine and watching her husband cook dinner.”
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink



Merikay said...

I felt a bit silly, but I practiced cooking in a small place in my big home kitchen for months before we went full time. But still the first few mnths were heavy on simple meals with few ingredents. The biggest pain is the clean up after. I did not hve a stove top cover or sink covers. I was glad, because what do you do with them when you are cooking?

I bought a wood cutting board that sits on my stove top or counter, and two white plastic cutting bords that just fit over my sinks. I store them in the side of a cupboard when not in use, but they give me extra cuttable counter space when I need it.

I love the "cooking with wine!"

Ron Lane said...

My wife had the same complaint. So I bought her a new kitchen...one with an expandable counter top, microwave/convection oven, residential refrigerator, induction cook top and a dishwasher. Oh yeah, it also came with a 43' motorhome.

Ellen said...

I'll confess upfront I'm not the cook in our duo -- my hubby is an awesome cook and, after six years of full-timing, he's still adjusting to the smaller space.

Here are a few things we've discovered, in addition to the other tips already provided:

Our sink has two sides; we cover one side so there's prep space and an open side for rinsing, etc.

We use a larger pot as double duty for mixing salads.

We find every collapsible kitchen tool we can -- strainers and colander are especially easy to use and store (and you can moosh them flat after using them but before you get to the cleaning part).

I try to help all I can -- I'll rinse veggies or do interim clean up while hubby chops and mixes. Yes, it takes a bit of choreography, but over time we've learned to adapt.

We're in a 30' Class C with one dining area slide out. When we're boondocking and the slide is in, we either quickly heat something or eat out, rather than try to use the kitchen for more than basic clean-up.

Good luck! You'll find what works for you. Remember -- this isn't the world of fancy dishes and serving spoons any more :) Relax and it will work out just fine.

Unknown said...

Another way is to use Freeze dried food. we use the veggies and fruits, saves freezer space for meat and cooks with boiling water, it is very hard to tell from fresh, emergency essentials is the one we use... added bonus saves weight no extra water from cans..makes cooking fast, easy and still tastes good we are full timers in a 36 ft diesel

Unknown said...

You can usually find a residential refrigerator with a larger storage space than an RV fridge, that will fit in the same space. It will also be less prone to act as an RV FIRE starter. A kitchen slide out may provide more room for dancing in the kitchen. also a larger, maybe 36', RV will provide a lot more room to toam.

Anonymous said...

I cook any smelly or messy items outside on my induction cook top. I also use my electric fry pan outside for fish and chips. My crockpot is great for making stew, soups or roasting a chicken. I have a small table set up to hold the appliances or my gas grill. A little ingenuity will allow you to make many tasty meals but you need to plan and think ahead before you do your shopping.

Anonymous said...

After we got a motorhome with a slideout, we bought a collapsible countertop height serving cart. It gives us a few more feet of counter space, which we can locate adjacent to the sink.