Thursday, November 30, 2023


New RVer having difficulty adjusting to “minuscule” kitchen

RV Shrink

Dear RV Shrink:
We are first-time RVers. We sold our home and just started traveling this winter in a 30-ft. motorhome. It gives new meaning to the term “one butt kitchen.” I enjoy cooking, but this minuscule space seems to cramp my style.

The counter area and refrigerator/freezer are downsized enough to make normal cooking and storage a constant challenge. There is a definite order to getting things done with the least amount of difficulty! I am learning to approach meals in stages.

So far I have said a few naughty words. My husband says I just have to adjust. Am I being unreasonable in comparing this closet-cooking to what I’m used to in a normal-sized kitchen? —Super-downsized in Danville

Dear Down (but not out):
Learning to cope in an RV takes some adjustment. I would recommend starting out with some advice from W.C. Fields: “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” This should mellow you out a bit.

On a more serious note, add some counter space. This is easily accomplished with a fold-down counter extension, available at any RV store. If your stove doesn’t already come with a cover, they can also be purchased at an RV store, or improvise with an upside down cookie sheet for added counter space.

Refrigerator and freezer space often calls for shopping more often, but you will become accustomed to stocking the most important items in the space you have. The same applies to dry goods storage.

Many RVer’s have come up with collections of simpler meals that mimic what they have been used to cooking. You may try exploring downsized cooking utensils as well. Have you considered more outdoor cooking? There is a wide array of outdoor cooking appliances that will give you more options when weather permits.

Much of your frustration is becoming familiar with your new space and developing a new routine. Speaking of a new routine, you might want to consider some advice from author Elizabeth Gilbert. She says, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen … sitting in a comfortable chair, with her feet up, drinking a glass of wine and watching her husband cook dinner.” —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including the brand-new Book 2 in his two-book series: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.




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Gloria Sluder (@guest_44513)
4 years ago

I use a electric skillet,crockpot small grill outside. My stove top is covered for more prep area. Just bought a one electric burner so I can use a smaller skillet and have a pot to cook pasta. Like you I like to cook but the microwave meals work well for us. Mac &cheese, rice dishes and meat meals taste pretty good. Desert is ice cream with fresh fruit added. I like to spend my time outside when camping.

Vanessa Simmons (@guest_42402)
4 years ago

Since you are full timers preparing ahead of time is out of the question! I actually do more cooking in my little corner kitchen than I did in the S&B. I use a counter top oven on top of the burners and an induction cooktop (one pot) as long as I am plugged in. I have a pressure cooker (same as instapot just not as expensive) and an air fryer. Do you have an island? if not buy a small rolling island to get not only more counter space but also work space. I grill meat all at one time…a full pack of chicken breast, and pork chops and a couple of steaks then freeze them. Easy to heat up and get a mean for one on the table quickly. Try sheet pan dinners…meat and veggies all on a cookie/sheet pan and cooked at the same time.

You are retired…let go of the old S&B thoughts and enjoy the ride.

robert (@guest_42282)
4 years ago

We just added a small freezer to our small class A, this will allow my wife to prepare more meals ahead of a trip. Our thought is when camping why spend so much time cooking instead of the great outdoors. Yes I do the outside cooking and my wife fixes everything inside. Works for us and she can relax just as much as me. For more storage of food I took unused space under the pantry and put in a can drawer. Also put a drawer under sink that reaches to back which was unreachable before. If one looks you can find unused space like adding an extra shelf in upper cabinets because there is usually a lot of air space in them.

Carol (@guest_42276)
4 years ago

Have you tried using an InstaPot. It can also be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker, etc. It doesn’t take up much space and usually there is only one pot to wash. Pintrest has loads of recipes for this versatile appliance. I also indulge in precut produce to reduce time spent prepping and disposing of scraps. Instead of a full size blender, a Magic bullet works well most of the time. Hope this helps some.

Lizzy (@guest_42262)
4 years ago

I think raising awareness for folks buying RVs is key. Cooking is such an intrinsically loving, hospitable and healing activity.
I bought my first new RV for the kitchen and bathrooms. They are both HUGE. I have just as much cooking space in my RV as in my house.
I cook the amazing foods from all over the world and I bake – a lot! I do shop more frequently, this gives me impetus to find farmers markets. I grill outside and sometimes use the grill to heat steamy pans (low country boil, anyone?) and love every moment.
We’re on our third RV of the same make and model as the first. I sure hope she dies after I do… they don’t make ’em anymore.

DMason (@guest_42180)
4 years ago

When we were shopping for our current RV (class A) 3 key areas we focused on were kitchen (I cook pretty much the same kind of food regardless where we are), bathroom (I’m on the plus size & need to be sure I can comfortably use the facilities) being able to access all important areas when the slides are in.

Being able to pre-prep stuff will help with space. Meals that you can prepare ahead of time & freeze (in zip-top bags, frozen flat) will help with the space issues, too. With a bit of time and some small changes to habits you can work in the tiny kitchen. I use the table, the covered sinks, etc. for more space as needed.

Sue (@guest_42085)
4 years ago

In addition to suggestions already make, it also helps eliminate time cooking in a small RV kitchen if you 1) prepare some meals at home before starting your trip and freeze in individual portions that can be warmed up later in the RV microwave (of course RV freezer space will limit this) and 2) do the same thing while on the road so you aren’t “cooking” every day.

Robbie (@guest_42068)
4 years ago

Preplanning is the key. With the stove cover on, all of the preparation is done in advance of turning the stove on.

Primo Ruy's Roadhouse (@guest_42042)
4 years ago

We solved our one butt kitchen by moving almost all cooking outdoors. We have also split up cooking chores. My wife cooks inside and I maintain the dominate chef outdoors. It works for us.

Anna Z (@guest_41938)
4 years ago

I am selling baked items, mostly yeast breads and cinnamon rolls, out of our RV. Yup, I have learned pretty good how to deal with what I call “my crappy RV oven”. I also purchased a tabletop convection oven to help out, but use both equally. For the most part, I pretty much detest my kitchen but I can deal with it. 🙂

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