By Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine of Big Girls, Small Kitchen

In summer and in winter—but especially in summer—there are those weekends best spent out of the city. We may not always be able to afford nice rentals or great B&B’s, but we can play the good guest when invited to a friend’s (or friend’s parents’) house for the weekend. One of the best parts of the two days away has got to be the cooking. Unless we’ve wound up in the most rustic little Catskill cottage, cooking in a house kitchen is a pleasant change of pace from the apartment galley kitchens we’re used to in the city. But the cooking challenges of a group getaway are many. There are a lot of mouths to feed. There are no bodegas on the corner. There’s more planning and less reliable equipment. There may not be a fully stocked pantry. There are expensive trips to the grocery store. And, perhaps worst of all, there are hungry friends, hovering around, who, in spite of varying levels of kitchen prowess, may want to “help” cook.