We recently had a week vacation - a lovely cabin on the lake at one of our Gulf Islands.  We love the cabin with its rustic charm, a cozy big fireplace, a kitchen (most important!) and beautiful lake views.

Over the years, I have learned what to bring as usually the kitchens are quite small, and just stocked with the very bare bones essentials.  These are the must-haves that I pack with us each year:
In terms of the kitchen supplies stocked in the cabin, the knives are sadly very dull, with an even duller vegetable peeler in the the utensil drawer. And (yikes!) a glass cutting board on the counter.  I would not dream of using my beautiful knives on a glass cutting board - they should all be recycled into something else more useful.  What that might be is food for pun intended.
A good quality non-stick frying pan is definitely a must-have to bring along as well. Usually the cupboards contain a various assortment and size of pots and frying pans from yesteryear.  Ideally, I would prefer to bring my cast iron frying pan but the size and weight alone stops that idea right there.
Although the stove, fridge, and counter space was small it is surprising what one can create in the kitchen. While at times it did feel challenging, it was also fun and creative.   During our time away, we had steaks with risotto and steamed vegetables, oven baked chicken breasts with pan fried potatoes and steamed vegetables, gourmet sausages with yellow roasted beets, garlic mashed potatoes and salad.
We also had the pleasure of visiting a cheese farm where we purchased beautiful goat cheese and organic eggs. Plus, real homemade organic English Toffee - my huge weakness! Finding a good restaurant for dinner out is always a lovely treat...ask the locals - they will tell you the best places to eat out. In my case, restaurants that can safely create gluten free meals. (we research the net as well)
My kitchen at home is not that large by some standards, although considerably bigger than the one at the cabin.  If I could have my "dream" kitchen it would be large enough to comfortably fit a farm style table and seating for 8 - I have never been keen on "dining rooms".  The kitchen for me is the heart of the home where family and friends can come together to share great food. A special bonus in my "dream" kitchen would be to have a gas stove/oven.  Ohhh heaven.  My mom's favorite way to cook was with a gas-fired stove. She always said that it was the best way to cook as you have a greater range of control with the heat.
How about this stove/oven from BlueStar?  That would definitely be on my wish list.

Wouldn't it be amazing to have a built in grill?  Especially on those cold winter nights when the BBQ is not an option and you have a crowd to feed.  Or what about a stove with 6 burners and a double oven?  Yayyy I could cook to my hearts content with a stove like that.
Whether I am cooking in a small kitchen with the bare bones minimum for supplies, or back at home in my fully stocked kitchen, it is all about great tasting food.  Still, that BlueStar stove is a beauty...and it is always fun to dream right?

Ina Gawne


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February 8, 2016