It’s July 4th weekend and time to celebrate summer. Renting a beach house, cottage, lake house, or even a city-based apartment is a great alternative to a hotel on your summer vacation. I personally love to have a home away from home during a journey. I’ve stayed in an Airbnb in both Brooklyn and Paris. I’ve also rented a cottage with my family many years on Lake Erie in Canada. There is just something really comforting coming home from a long day of sightseeing or beach-ing and having a “home” and not just a hotel room.
Another perk of having a rented home is having access to a kitchen. With a kitchen, you don’t have to dine out every single meal. This saves you a little bit of money and it also can help you better control what you are eating. You can buy basic essentials or you can fully stock your rental kitchen. It is really up to you and how much you want to cook during your stay. I find it super convenient to have access to a full-size fridge and basic appliances like a stove, toaster oven, and a microwave. Other travelers want someone else to take care of them during a vacation. There is no right or wrong.
Most likely, your rental kitchen is contaminated with gluten from either the owners or previous guests. Not to worry! With a few a few additions to your suitcase or carry-on bag, you can make your rental kitchen a little bit safer for your celiac-friendly vacation.
10 Gluten-Free Kitchen Essentials for a Summer Rental
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Gluten-Free Food: Don’t assume when you get to your summer rental that the local market will carry the same gluten-free food as your home market. Bring with you basic kitchen staples like gluten-free bread, pasta, crackers, and snacks. When you visit the local supermarket or farmer’s market, look for naturally gluten-free foods like vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, fish, and other local gluten-free delicacies.
Reusable Toaster Bags: These bags keep your toast away from crumbs in a shared toaster. They can be used in both regular toasters as well as toaster ovens for toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, or to reheat other foods that fit in the bag. The toaster bags can be washed and reused. These are a great kitchen essential!
Collapsible Bowls: The best way to keep your food from being confused with gluten-filled food is to keep it separate in completely different looking containers. These collapsible bowls not only look cool, but they pack really flat and they have covers to keep gluten crumbs from falling into your food. These can be used in a shared kitchen and are perfect for campaign too!
New Sponges: Sponges are one of those things in the kitchen that can trap gluten. Toss a few brand new sponges into your kitchen essentials bag and use those during your time using a shared kitchen. Use hot, soapy water before you even start preparing your gluten-free meal in a shared kitchen!
Roll-up Cutting Boards: Just like sponges, most cutting boards are porous and can trap gluten. There is nothing worse than preparing a meal with no gluten ingredients, only to contaminate yourself from the cutting board. These brightly-colored cutting boards lie totally flat and can be rolled up and stored away. Bonus tip: choose your “celiac” color and use that cutting board for your gluten-free food prep when you get home.
Ziploc bags: Reusable plastic bags go beyond the kitchen. Use these bags to keep open food safe from crumbs or to bring home anything that is open. You can also use these bags to store food for trips to the beach, gluten-free snacks for your bag, or even to keep your suitcase safe from open liquids on your way home. I like the gallon size the best because they hold more things.
Condiments: Some kitchens have basic staples like salt, pepper, and sugar for you to use in your rental but others are often bare. I suggest tossing a bunch of deli and restaurant condiments into a bag for you to use during the trip. This not only will help you out in a pinch (of salt, haha) but you also have “clean” condiments that have never been used before. You can also buy individual condiments like San-J Gluten-Free Tamari packets or mini bottles of Cholula hot sauce directly from Amazon.
Gluten-Free Labels: I love these little stickers! Use them at home, at school, at the office, and at your vacation rental. These labels clearly mark your food as gluten-free and hopefully keeps hungry friends and family out of your food! You can also make your own labels by using mailing address labels and a Sharpie.
Cutlery: With a good wash with soap and hot water, most cutlery should be clean from past gluten. If you want to be extra careful, I suggest bringing along some of your own cutlery. You can buy either disposable or this eco-friendly bamboo cutlery.
Foil: Use traditional aluminum foil on a shared grill or oven surface. You can lie it flat or wrap your food entirely when cooking.