Beyond the Kitchen

Carry-on Kitchen


Hi friends!

I’m spending a few weeks away from home these days, and I thought now would be a good time to tell you about a little trick I have up my sleeve.

Ok,  so it’s not a trick up my sleeve… it’s more like a jar of cinnamon up my sleeve.  Totally normal, right?

When I travel, I like to stay where I might be able to make myself a fancy cup of psuedo-home coffee, or maybe throw together some roasted potatoes.  Hotels are cool, but little rental houses with an oven are ideal.  I just never want to be too far from a baking-related heat source.  For this particular trip I’m driving from one end of North Carolina to the other, I’m doddling around NYC, and I’m teaching a few pie classes in Vermont.

Because I’m always hungry, I can’t really go anywhere without a bit of olive oil and a few pinches of saffron.  Don’t laugh.  It’s real.


Here’s a look inside my little carry-on kitchen!

I pick my favorite spices out of the spice drawer.  My spice choices aren’t always the same.  Different seasons call for different spices.  The Fall is starting to feel crisp out east, so I’ve packed up some warm ground cinnamon, spicy chili powder, and super comforting saffron to start.

Wait… let’s just start from the beginning.  Salt and pepper are important to me.  I pack along whole black peppercorns (they’re easily smashed with the bottom of a pint glass) and coarse sea salt (good for cooking pasta and for finishing salads).

I always like to have good olive oil and quality balsamic vinegar on hand.  I’m snobby about my oil and vinegar.  Don’t worry… I know I’m annoying.  I just bring my own!  BTW:  I’m not the girl that brings her own salad dressing to restaurants.  I usually know where to draw the line.  (Fingers crossed)

For spices I’m carrying ground cinnamon, spicy ancho chili powder, and ground cumin.  I feel like I could make a quick stew or roast some sweet potatoes with these spices.  Also, vanilla extract!  My vanilla extract is just vanilla beans soaked in bourbon.  So… this extract also doubles as a shot of bourbon.  In case of travel emergencies.  You know.


Some extras I pack away are: a classy wine key from Bottle Stock, a thick kitchen towel, and an all-purpose spoon that makes me happy. Update:  I’ve recently carried this package on and had the wine key taken away from me.  If you pack wine key, place the whole package in your checked bags.

Have you ever had a bottle of wine without a wine key?  It’s TORTURE.  You start to think of the most unreasonable ways to get in that bottle.  Just bring your own key.

And BONUS!  With these  few kitchen tools, a few supplies from the grocery, and a camera… I could totally twerk a blog post.  (Hm… this post is starting to sound like I’m a cinnamon fiend, olive oil snob, and major wine drinker that never goes on vacation. Totally true. It’s cool.)

I have found that these 3 ounce spice jars work well for travel spices!  They even have shaker lids if you want to get fancy!  I used these Dram Vials in assorted sizes.  The 1 ounce jars are a great size.  Best of all!  All of these sizes are TSA approved.  I pack it all away in a plastic sandwich container.  It all packs in nicely!

Pro Tip:  I pack all of my liquid vials like olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract in a clear ziplock bag.  This way, if I need to, I can easily remove the liquids from the spice kit and run them through the airport x-ray scanners like I do liquid toiletries.  Usually I just place the whole sandwich kit in the tray with my toiletries, and I don’t have a problem.

Actually.  Full disclosure: the only problem I sometimes have is the TSA agents making fun of me for my plastic sandwich kit with cinnamon in it.  Pffft.  They just don’t know.  Lastly, please don’t make fun of my culinary choices while I’m trying to put my shoes and belt back on in public.  K. Thanks.