Sunday, April 21, 2013

Traveling By Car

If you read my blog you saw my post about Travel Anxiety.  We took a trip to Lake Arrowhead last summer (which is when I started this post but forgot about it).  Lake Arrowhead is a private man-made lake in the San Bernadino Mountains of California that we can drive to from San Diego.  The lake has a lot of really neat history.  We found a house right on the lake that we rented for the week.  We packed everything and brought it with us since we could not find any restaurants with GF offerings.  We did good and not so good but I wanted to share what I learned for next time.

We brought our toaster oven.  It was easy to make toast, pizza, garlic bread.  We didn't have to worry what went in their oven or toaster oven.

1.  Bring Toaster Oven.

We planned what we were going to eat and did our shopping at home; but, I was unsure about their wooden cutting boards, wood utensils and scratched plastic tools.  I had some vegetables and meat to cut up so I used a plate.

2.  Bring a small cutting board, spatula, spoon, measuring cups.

Next time in preparing our meals I will make it more like camping.  For our shishkabobs and salads I will cut up the vegtables and meat at home and store in containers.  I would also store the meat in ziplock bags which will make it easy to marinate the night before.

3.  Cut, dice, chop anything you can and place in containers or bags before leaving.  If not bring some ziplock bags to use instead of beat up old tuber-ware containers.

Things that used to be taken for granted like using the salt, pepper and other condiments in someones kitchen is not always safe.  We brought some things but not everything.  Mustard for the hotdogs, sugar and some other seasonings we had to buy or go without.  We had ketchup and forgot the mustard that we found at a small grocery store in town.

4.  Seasonings and condiments.  I know travel with a container of salt and another with a blend of paprika, onion powder and garlic powder.  Mustard, ketchup, sugar, syrup.  List your meals and what condiments you might need for each.  Don't forget things like butter (or butter substitutes) and oil.

In the future I will plan out the meals to an exact science.  It will include what pan I'll use (we luckily brought a pan for pancakes because their non-stick pan was super scratched), oil or butter for the pan and what utensil I may need (tongs, spatula, etc).  Seasonings are something I will think about too.  I would make my garlic bread mixture (garlic powder, paprika, salt and oregano) at home and bring in up in a tuberware container.

5.  Consider what you are cooking and bring limited pans.  Non-stick for pancakes + spatula (their scratched pan and scratched plastic spatula could harbor gluten protein).

Paper towels and lysol wipes too.  We cleaned the kitchen a lot when we arrived.  The simple one or two rolls of paper towels provided by the home owner would not have been enough - luckily we brought our own.

6.  Paper towels and lysol and/or lysol wipes.

We brought a container that we put all of the kitchen supplies in and packed it into the car and they right into the kitchen after we had cleaned the surfaces.  We found at this place and many other rentals that the nice plastic organizer for silverware is filled with crumbs.  We placed all of the silverware and the organizer into the dishwasher when we arrived.  I usually rewash some plates and bowls just to be safe.

7.  Wash silverware and the organizer and any dishes you might use that could possibly be dirty or contaminated.

If you use the oven (we didn't on this trip but have on other trips) you can use the self cleaning option.  They had a grill and the grill brush was filthy and so used it was not helpful.  I cranked up the heat and charred everything then took the grates and scrubbed them down with a brillo.  They owner never saw his grill so clean.

8.  Clean ovens and/or grill before using.

If you are visiting Lake Arrowhead plan accordingly.  We did not find any restaurants that had GF offerings and the local store did not have anything in the way of GF food unless you were going paleo.

As for the trip - we had a great time fishing, kayaking and hiking.  A great idea for someone with some time and a programming background would be to create a GF time sharing website.  How nice would it be to visit some other part of the country or world and stay in someones house that was GF and know that there was no risk of cross-contamination.

Safe Travels,

The Un-Gluten Guy

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