“It never fails…one can always expect to find a trusty cast iron skillet. That’s a given. And, then, a battered old enameled lobster pot regardless of how far one actually is from any ocean. I’ve been in rental cottages in Wisconsin, where there’s not even a remote possibility that one will be preparing a lobster for dinner, and yet, ha…there, lurking in a lower cabinet… the giant, blue-and-white speckled pot, a burnt patch permanently etched into the bottom. Potato peelers are usually circa 1945. You know the kind. They’re a bit rusty and hurt your hand when you use them. Rubber spatulas are kind of icky and never totally clean. Oh, and let’s not forget the Corningware! The ubiquitous Corningware baking dish with its cheerful blue flowers etched on the side and matching clear lid. Sometimes there will be a crusty, non-stick pan (an oxymoron, I know) and, until this past weekend, I’ve always encountered a 2- or 3-quart saucepan.”
There’s a vast difference in the ways that vacation rental kitchens are equipped. Some owners consider the second home kitchen to be the final resting place of every cast-off item they have ever found, while others see the benefit of attracting gourmet cooks. I’m in the latter group because I vacation regularly in this type of accommodation and have experienced Marcia’s frustration. My own cottages have high quality pots and pans and ensure any guest will find cooking in the kitchens a great experience.
As a rental guest, one of the huge pleasures is to arrive at the location, explore the kitchen and find a set of stainless steel pans, rather than scratched non-stick; a decent frying pan or skillet and a good range of small appliances. Opening a cupboard and seeing a Le Crueset casserole dish is a bigger bonus, as is being supplied with some good knives and not the ubiquitous cheap knife block (sharp on opening and blunt after the first use).
Our latest vacation rental had a bread maker because the quality of bread on the island was not the best, so there was yeast and bread flour provided as well. The ice cream maker got some use too.
People choose vacation rentals because they want to cater for themselves a good part of the time. It’s not a camping expedition and they don’t want to be doing as Marcia did and have to improvise.
Do you have any kitchen horror stories? How do you equip your kitchen?