Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cooking in a hotel room

If you google that term, you can find a lot of good and funny information. Like here.

When we travel on vacation, we generally try to stay in a condo with a full kitchen. For health and monetary reasons, I simply am not interested in eating out 2-3 meals per day. However, sometimes you feel like a resort, not a condo.

We've stayed in hotels with mini-fridges and microwaves. You can do a lot with a microwave. But what if you have a fridge and no microwave? Then what can you do? Apparently, google says you can do a lot with a coffee pot and an iron. Um, no thanks.

For our family vacation to Hawaii, I purchased a Continental Electric Hot Pot. It's basically a plastic electric kettle for $19.99 with a heating element on the bottom. You can boil water in 2 minutes. What else can you cook? A quick search turned up not much - even searching for "dorm cooking" was not very helpful, unless you are really in to ramen. Anyway, here's the plan, which will depend a LOT on how big the fridge is, and if there is a freezer.

Equipment: (in the checked luggage, one bag is our cooler. I'm going to say, for the first and maybe only time - yay for my husband's business travel. He gets to check 2 bags free)
Hot Pot
Pampered Chef Microwave Steamer (a bigger recepticle that will keep things warm longer, and isn't heavy)
small container of dish soap
Dish towels
Wooden spoon
Plastic spatula
Small cutting board
small steak knife
3 bowls, 3 spoons, 3 forks, 2 knives

Taking with us:
Annie Chun's noodle bowls (add hot water, let sit)
Trader Joe's Indian packets (warm packets in boiling water - that's where we will boil the water, put it in the steamer, and add the packets)
Trader Joe's pre-cooked coconut lime rice
TJ's (see a theme here?) red curry and green curry tuna
Boxed mac and cheese
Trail Mix
Tea bags

Purchase there:
roasted chicken from Costco (if there's a big enough fridge)
frozen mixed veg (to add the the noodle bowls and mac and cheese)
fresh fruits and veg for snacking
Milk and Froot Loops (which my son ONLY gets on vacation, I swear)
Cheese, yogurt

Breakfast is included for two.

Now, I know what SOME of you are thinking. You're in Hawaii! On vacation! Enjoy the local cuisine! And I plan to, really. Fresh fish, pineapple, among other things (maybe not so much on the Hawaiian plate lunches). But I don't need to eat out 2x a day for 3 people, which is likely going to cost $100/day. Or more. Near our resort, meals are $20/person + for lunch and dinner. A simple purchase of a $20 hot pot can save us $40/day (conservatively), or $280 for the week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have cooked for my family in hotel rooms for years, especially during a few years when my husband had a very restricted diet and couldn't eat in restaurants. Two appliances get us through when there isn't a microwave - a cheap hot-pot to boil water and a small, 3-cup rice cooker. The rice-cooker is great - I've cooked and heated all kinds of meals in the rice cooker - pasta dishes, eggs, soup, and more. It does an amazing job.