Temporary Living Situations: A Review of the Basic Equipment to Bring

My fiance and I have been in our temporary housing with its (supposedly) fully stocked kitchen for about a month now. Thanks to many of your excellent suggestions, we were well prepared to deal with the inevitably shoddy cookware and missing pieces of "essential" equipment. Here's a look at what we ended up bringing and a few things we wish we'd brought!The information from the rental company was rather unspecific regarding what we would actually find in our temporary kitchen. For instance, "cookware" could have meant a single 2-quart pan, or it could have meant a whole set of pans with casserole dishes to boot. We knew we wanted to cook most of our meals at home during our stay, so we decided to err on the side of caution and bring most of the equipment we rely on every day.

• Here's what we brought:

6.5-quart dutch oven - used for making bread, soups, and braises
12" cast-iron skillet - used for making frittatas and other casseroles, searing steaks, and stir-fries
loaf pan - this would only be 'necessary' if you bake a lot of bread. Honestly, we could have gotten away with just making round-loaves in the dutch oven
chef's knife - this and the paring knife were a good call because all the knives at the house were incredibly dull
paring knife
bread knife - again, only really necessary if you bake bread
cutting board - the kitchen came with a tiny little cutting board. We were very glad to have our full-sized one.
4-cup liquid measuring cup - the kitchen didn't have any measuring equipment, so we were glad to have this, along with all our measuring cups and spoons!
set of measuring cups
set of measuring spoons
whisk - This was handy to have, and the kitchen didn't have one, but in retrospect, we probably would have been fine using a fork for most things.
corkscrew - a last minute addition, and a lucky one! The kitchen did have a corkscrew, but it was so flimsy that it could barely pull the cork a few inches
A wooden spoon and a spatula - the kitchen actually did have these, so we would have been ok without.
refrigerator containers for leftovers - another good last-minute addition, as the kitchen didn't have anything for storage

• Here's what we used from the temporary kitchen:

Pyrex bowls
2 quart aluminum sauce pan
casserole dish - this was an unexpected and happy discovery!
baking sheet - this was a half-sized and a bit annoying to work with, but we didn't really see a need to have our full-sized
colander - this was a gamble because we really weren't sure the kitchen would have one, but we didn't want to lug around our strainer

• And a few things we wished we'd brought:

A cheese grater - we were very surprised that the kitchen didn't have one of these. We ended up doing a lot of manual crumbling and dicing, which worked ok but definitely wasn't ideal.
A microplane zester - we didn't realize how often we used this piece of equipment until we didn't have it!
A cooling rack - we did ok with our make-shift cooling rack (pictured above), but we would have preferred a real one

On the whole, not too bad. Still, we're very much looking forward to being reunited with our full kitchen next week!

Many of you must be heading out to vacation homes or rental cottages this summer. What do you expect the kitchen set-up to be like and will you be taking your own equipment?

Related: Campfire Cooking: Best Easy, Frugal Meals for Camping

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)

3 Comments