As part of my “Less is More” ethos for this year I recently did a major clean out on board. Our wee closet and drawers were thinned out yet again, the cupboard in the head was decluttered and all the holds in the galley were sorted through. What I ended up with was pretty impressive rag pile, several tubes expired of sunscreen, some make-up that is embarrassingly old and enough to canned goods to survive the apocalypse, (zombie or otherwise).
I usually keep a healthy stock of canned goods on board (I write on the tops for easy indentification in my vertical storage compartment). Food in cans come in very handy when you’re sailing in more remote destinations like the Solomon’s and Papua New Guinea, where refrigeration is non-existent outside urban centres and the general population are subsistence farmers and fisherman. And to be honest there is nothing wrong with beans, lentils, tomatoes, corn, soup, mussels, pate, dolmas and tuna out of tin, just to name a few of my regularly stocked items.
In no particular order, here are the Top Ten misconceptions I would like to break about cooking and eating on a small sailboat.
1.“Boat” food is different than “land” food.
It doesn’t have to be. Sure you have to think ahead, the grocery store is not just around the corner, and you may not be able to find all the ingredients you are used to. But with good planning and a little creativity we eat pretty much the same as we would on land. Food is food; please stop calling it “boat” food.
I have been spending a fair amount of time this week in front of my laptop writing a couple articles about provisioning and cooking on board. While researching what has already been published (in the hopes that I might have something new to say, HA!) I keep stumbling across this notion of “boat food”. That idea that just because you live on a sailboat and have a small galley you need to drastically change the way you cook and what you eat.
There is, in fact, quite a niche market for “galley cookbooks”, ones that implore that “boat cooking IS different than cooking ashore” because “there’s no grocery store 5 minutes away, you have fewer prepared foods and electric appliances.” And others that recommend that you eat off “paper cups and plates, particularly at sea.” Both to save washing up (you can just toss them overboard, of course) and because plastic plates “scratch and become dull.”
I mean REALLY?!