Another Empty Kitchen

Another Empty Kitchen

Posted on May 4, 2023

“Another Empty Kitchen” is an insult that people often like to toss at professional women. As a professional pilot and someone who loves to cook, I always point at my suitcase and quip, “my kitchen isn’t empty, it’s packed.” 

I have been in the aviation industry since 2010 and with a lot of trial and error, I have compiled some great tips for cooking and eating healthy on the road: in hotel rooms, the airport, and even in the airplane. Below, you will find my top recommendations on how to “pack your kitchen!”

First you need the right tools. Below are a few that I like and recommend. Click each for the hyperlink. 

- Hotlogic (needs outlet)

- Hot Bento (stand alone)

- Steambox (stand alone)

- Bento Box 

- Travel Kettle (needs outlet)

- Cauldryn Travel Kettle (stand alone)

- Heated Mug

- Food Saver  

- Reusable Food Saver Bags  

- Travel Lunch Box Aerocoast Pro EFB and Cooler 

- Travel Silverware  

- Ice Packs 

- Travel Size Dishwashing Soap 

- Bottle Buddy Water Bottle Holder  

- Travel Drink Caddy  

Meal Prep: Like most of us, I cherish my time at home so I hate having to meal prep on multiple days. Instead, I pick one day a month to meal prep different dishes for my monthly trip schedule. I love convience, so this usually means that I have multiple crockpots running and casseroles in the oven. After cooking, I portion out the meals and put them in FoodSaver zip close bags and remove the air with my FoodSaver. I also label each meal with a date. Then, I stack them neatly in the freezer. I typically thaw the meals that I plan to eat on day one of the trip in the refrigerator the night before the trip. The frozen bags fit easily in my Aerocoast Pro EFB Cooler, and they also serve as ice throughout the trip. An added benefit is they don’t take up as much room or weigh as much as Tupperware dishes or jars. I can fit 15 meals plus snacks which easily covers a 5 day trip. The food saver bags are also great for fruits, veggies, eggs, and egg life wraps/tortillas. Plus, they don’t leak and are reusable!

Hot Meals: As pilots we are always on the go and often don’t have access to an oven or microwave. That’s where the HotLogic and/ or Hot Bento or Steambox comes in handy. Okay, the Steambox is pricey but, in an airplane or airport when I don’t have access to an outlet and want a healthy, hot meal, it has more than paid for itself! The Hot Bento looks like a more affordable option. I empty my foodsaver bag of food into the pan and turn it on. My food is piping hot in about 20 minutes! It’s so easy. It can be controlled on the box and also has a smart app.

The HotLogic is another option. It is essentially a mini convection oven. The best part about it is that its super compact and light weight. It can also cook raw foods. Sometimes, when I don’t meal prep for a trip, I will make a grocery sore run mid-trip to buy raw chicken, veggies, beef broth, and a disposable tin tray. I prefer the chicken strips because they cook quicker. I then put the ingredients in the tray and plug in the hot logic while I go workout, go to a sim or ground school class, or binge watch Netflix and within a two hours, the meal will be fully cooked and delicious, (beef broth keeps the chicken from being dry). You can also bring a small caserole dish in the hotlogic, so you don’t have to continually buy disposable tins but I prefer to cook in the disposable tin and then use my caserole dish to eat from.

If you don't want to carry your own oven, I have heard of some people using a steel Bento Box and emptying their food into the container and asking the flight attendants nicely if they will heat it in the oven. 

Hot Drinks I love tea and coffee, but constant Starbucks runs gets expensive and isn’t always feasible. I also refuse to drink airplane coffee (or eat crew meals), so that’s why I love my travel kettle and heated mug (I prefer the cauldryn because it takes the place of a heated mug and kettle by doing both and it is stand alone meaning it is battery powered). With it, I can brew tea or coffee and keep it at a set temperature all day. I can also boil water or heat other liquids such as soup. I also love my travel drink holder because it makes organization so much easier in the airport. It won’t be as practical for the traditional pilot rolling suitcase, but it is excellent for a 4 wheeled suitcase like mine from Monos. If you haven’t switched to 4 wheels, it is a life-changer because I no longer throw my shoulder and back out pulling it or picking it up. The Monos Carry-On Plus bag is extra light weight, tough, and really spacious. I highly recommend it.

If you are going to keep the standard rolling suitcase, then another great option to hold the airplane water bottles is the Bottle Buddy on Etsy (Link above).

Clean Up: I carry a small thing of dawn dish soap to squirt in the FoodSaver bags and clean in the hotel, airport, or airplane sink after use since they are reusable and it makes my lunchbox not get smelly.

Go-to Meals: Ropa Vieja, vegetable beef soup, meatloaf, healthy casseroles, caprese chicken, chicken tortilla soup, traditional and lamb meatballs, chicken or shredded beef stir fry, chili, and sweet potato hash.

Tell Me Your Story

Contact me, tell me about your unique story, promotion, or important moment in life and let's bring it to life as a beautiful engraved item or piece of art. I am a one-person shop, but I aim to create wonderful customer experiences and to respond expeditiously.