pots and pans

Joined Jan 26, 2010
for someone who doesn't have a lot of space, what are the essentials needed for good cooking tools? by not a lot of room i mean a semi-truck. i am going to be a long distance truck driver and i don't want to eat fast food. thanks
Joined May 26, 2001
Wow! Just how much room do you have in the cab (behind the seats, I presume)? What kind of power hook-ups? That could be as important as the space things take up. Are you planning on cooking when you stop for the night, and having other food available to eat as is or quickly heat for breakfast and lunch? And what do you like to -- hope to -- eat on the road? What do you already cook that you might want to adapt?

There are really small refrigerators available. Likewise toaster ovens and small microwaves. And, of course, one-burner hot plates. I don't know about power requirements for them, though.

You can cook almost everything (for 1 person, anyway) with a wok, a 4-quart pot, and a 1 1/2- or 2-quart pot. "Disposable" aluminum baking pans work fine in a toaster oven, and there are sturdy plastic baking dishes for microwaves.

This sounds like a really neat idea. I hope we have a good discussion and you get the help you need.
Joined Jan 26, 2010
there is a little bit of room in the truck cab (about 12 square feet including my bed). i will have a mini-fridge, a two burner propane camp stove and a microwave. i am still thinking about a convection oven but i am not sure if i will have the room for that. right now i work at woilliams-sonoma and i realy want to get the necessary cooking equiptment while i am still there.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
You really don't need a whole lot to produce great meals, especially as you'll be cooking just for one person.

I'd say one or two of either a stainless or carbon steel skillets and a couple of saucepans that can nest would balance both your space and cooking requirements. Why nesting? So you can use one of them to simultaneously cook something while keeping something else warm.

For instance: Make some mashed potatoes in the small saucepan. In the skillet cook a pork chop. Throw some frozen corn into the large pot with a little butter and water. While it cooks, rest the small pot on top of the corn. Voila! A complete meal.

Emeril once had a truck driving guest who demonstrated a lot of how he cooked on the road. One thing he did was use the rest area picnic areas, along with a small charcoal grill. He was really into grilling, and was willing to take the time for it. Pretty creative, too. Even made pizza on it by using a flower pot saucer as a baking stone.

Also keep in mind that there are numerous DC appliances available, now, that plug into the cigarette lighter. You could, for instance, use one of them to perk your morning coffee, instead of wasting one of the two burners to prepare breakfast. While the coffe perks, you can cook your sausage and spuds in one skillet, your eggs in the other.

There are splitters available, too, so that you can use more than one appliance at a time. Check in places like Camping World.

But two skillets aren't absolutely necessary, because, with a little planning and attention to timing, you can cook all of that in one pan. Or main-dish variants.

For example, using one skillet: Saute some sliced or chopped onions. Add sliced potatoes, salt, and pepper. When the potatoes are almost cooked, move them to the side and add a couple of brats to the pan. Just before they're cooked through, make some room and toss in some kraut. Meanwhile, heat a can of baked beans. I mean that literally. Open the can almost all the way, and bend the lid upwards. Sit that right on the burner, over the lowest flame you can manage, occasionally giving the beans a stir.

I would give some thought, too, to picking up a couple of one-pot meal type cookbooks. Check out, for instance, One-Pot Spanish, One-Pot French, and One-Pot Italian, as examples. There are numerous others.

You'll be amazed, once you develop a mind-set for it, how well you can cook with a minimum of equipment.

Once you actually start your over-the-road career, do not be shy about discussing this with other drivers. More and more of them, especially with the growth of couples teams, have taken to doing their own cooking. And they're more than happy to share with other drivers.
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