Summer rental houses are great. You leave the office (early) on Friday, maybe brave a little traffic.
By sunset, you’re on the porch of a house in some quiet, summer town, cocktail in hand.
Nothing to do but relax and wait for dinner to come off the grill.
THAT IS, UNLESS ….
… you arrive at the house and the only thing in the kitchen is a fork and one of those glass cutting boards that makes everyone’s brains hurt just looking at them. So you have to nix your exciting cooking and drinking plans for the weekend because you realize the only way to move steaks around the grill would be with your hands.
What you need is a VACATION COOKING TOOLKIT!
(Warning: This list was made from the perspective of people who enjoy and are asked to produce a large quantity of cocktails for many, many people over the course of a summer weekend. Hence the strainer, reamer, muddler.)
With a little bit of foresight and a bag full of stuff you already own, you will never again be reduced to store-bought margarita mix, twist-off Bud Light, and three straight meals of nothing but hot dogs. Here are the 15 things you should considering bringing with you on a weekend getaway — ranked in order of essentialness/ease of purchasing in a random town.
1. Sharp Chef’s Knife
Use it to cut pretty much everything. You’ll probably find one in a drawer, but it’ll be old and rusty. Worse, it’ll be dull. Ideally you won’t have to bring your best/favorite knife and worry about someone else treating it poorly or leaving it there (same goes for some other tools below). But you need a good knife.
2. Kosher Salt in a Plastic Bag
Not technically a tool, and there could be an entirely separate post on the best pantry for traveling, but this one is essential. This is the kind of thing that always happens: You don’t buy salt at the grocery store when you go to stock up on provisions for the vacation either because you don’t realize you need salt, or because you don’t want to buy a whole box when you’ll only be in this house a couple of days. But salt is what makes things taste good. Cooking awesome food and then realizing you have nothing to season it with but a half-full, water-logged salt shaker is the worst. So pack some dang salt.
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