Although it’s not required that you provide groceries for your guests, it is expected that your kitchen be stocked with the basics. Guests should not have to purchase a bag of sugar if they only need a small amount. Similarly, they may only need a dash of oregano and would naturally rely on the selection of dried herbs and seasonings from your kitchen.
What you want is to make your home welcoming for your guests and help them on their initial days following check-in. If your guests check-in late, they would expect to find your kitchen stocked with coffee, tea and other basics. Over their first few days, guests tend to visit local markets or grocery stores to purchase items for the duration of their stay. The food products you leave are only meant to supplement the foods your guests will purchase.
An interesting comment was recently sent in from Milo, a host in Lisbon asking what to do with opened jars of condiments after a guest’s stay. He expressed a concern that he was uncomfortable consuming food from an already opened jar used by past guests. I’m sure you’re having a vision of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry asks George why he ‘double dipped’!
For basic condiments such as ketchup, mustard, vinegar and mayonnaise, squeeze bottles are the ideal for dispensing and ensuring freshness. They are also more hygienic as guests are assured that no one has ‘double dipped’! As a host, if you find that the squeeze bottle style is more expensive than the regular bottle or jar format, you can buy inexpensive empty squeeze bottles at a local discount store to fill with condiments for your guests’ use. Also ideal are the small portion packs of condiments (ketchup, vinegar, plum sauce and soya sauce) that are available at a restaurant wholesaler and with takeaway meals.
For other foods you leave behind in your fridge that your guests will have access to such as butter, jam, peanut butter and honey, a suggestion is to provide portion packs or single serve containers available at a warehouse club retailer or restaurant wholesaler. This is ideal as often one may dip their knife into different jars and transferring one type of food to another.
Hope this helps Milo! And please keep sending your questions or dilemmas in for sharing!