Cooking for friends and family is a joy. Good food is a force of connection, and the conversations had over preparing and eating meals become some of the most memorable. For many, vacation often means eating at a lot of restaurants. But when you stay in a vacation rental with a gorgeous kitchen, you can bring those good meal making feelings with you. Vacation rental cooking requires a little planning, but it can be remarkably rewarding.
We’ve got some tips that will help you make the most out of your vacation rental cooking experience.
Vacation rental cooking tips and tricks
Pack the essentials
Vacation rental kitchens often have a basic selection of tools and equipment, but if you have some holy grail tools you can’t live without, pack them! And if you have a favorite seasoning or condiment that you aren’t sure you’ll be able to find at your destination, make sure you bring it along. Plan on purchasing fresh ingredients when you arrive.
When you arrive: Take stock of your rental’s offerings
Before you go grocery shopping, explore your vacation rental’s cupboards. Find out what seasonings, condiments, and tools are at the ready. Plan your meals around what you have, and make a list of what you’ll need. This way you can avoid purchasing a surplus of groceries, and your menu is kind of shaped by the space you’re spending vacation in.
Keep it simple
When it comes to vacation rental cooking, simplicity is key. You’re on vacation—don’t stress over a complex meal! Plan on using fewer ingredients so grocery shopping is quick and easy. You want to avoid ending up with too many leftover, unused groceries. And plan meals that don’t require a lot of tools. You won’t want to be bogged down with a lot of dishes to clean up.
Plan all of the meals you’re going to make during your stay in advance so you can limit the amount of time spent in a grocery store. When it’s time to shop, get the essentials at a local supermarket or take advantage of a grocery delivery service like Shipt (now available in both Saugatuck and Douglas!).
Add local flare to your meals with things you find in your travels. Visit the local farmers market, buy supplies for your own artisanal cheese platter at a local shop, and forage for herbs in the wild or in your vacation rental’s garden. Spend the day at a U-Pick orchard and make a dessert from what you gathered. These are the kind of things that will make your meals unique to your vacation and totally unforgettable.
Enjoy the process
Cooking is fun. Take your time when you’re putting together your meals and relish in the process. Get everyone involved by assigning different people to chop vegetables, cut bread, or prepare appetizers. Make an event out of cooking your meals, and you’ll make loads of delicious memories while you’re at it.