Posted on February 17, 2016
Good food and plenty of it.
That was the motto of the staff at Chanterelle, and it applies around here as well.
We get asked about food a lot when it comes to the boat. I think some people don’t realize that we do, in fact, have an oven, stove, running water and refrigeration. It’s possible that some people don’t realize we’ll be within dinghy range of restaurants and shops for most of our trip. For sure, most people who ask us about food know that I used to cook for a living.
The specifics of our kitchen set-up on the boat will have to wait for another day; we don’t have good photos, and things are wildly in process anyway. But food is important to us, so we are trying to form some ideas about long-term kitchen plans, in a few different ways:
Thinking about stocking up. We have a friend who, in preparation for cruising, spent over a week eating nothing but canned food. We can do better. Food is everywhere, and we plan to take advantage of what’s local. We have, however, spent some time thinking about some items to stock up on–heavy stuff that we don’t want to carry back from the store so often (flour, olive oil, tetra-pack chicken stock, canned tomatoes); long-term storage items that are cheap and easy to buy now (rice, dried beans, box-o-wine); things that are expensive or hard to find along the way (maple syrup, maple syrup, maple syrup).
Thinking about ways of cooking. We have an Origo (non-pressurized) alcohol stove, which we frankly love and will discuss later at length, I’m sure; but it’s true that using it heats up the boat and uses lots of fuel. We’re learning to use the pressure cooker, even though it still terrifies me a little bit, to cut down on cooking times–especially for the beans. We’re considering a grilling plan; the boat came with a charcoal grill that clamps to the stern rail, but will that be practical? And how about a solar oven? I can absolutely picture throwing something together in the late morning, going for a hike, and coming back to a solar-cooked dinner!
Thinking about what to bring from our kitchen. Will my favorite baking dish fit in the oven? Will it break after a month? Will the beautifully-seasoned cast iron skillet rust away to nothing? How about the steel wok? We have about a thousand Mason jars–can we use some of them for storage? Different people have different answers to these questions; we’ll have to see what works for us. Except the baking dish. Turns out, it fits, so it’s coming.
Sorting through recipes. So. Many. Cookbooks. Obviously, very few will make the cut. So, I’m waltzing through a book a day, trying to cull recipes that will make sense for our boat life. Emphasis: fish; desserts that don’t require a mixer; things that cook in one pot.
Meanwhile, the actual cooking around here is suffering. I’d rather not discuss what’s on the stove right now–it’s not something I’d serve to anyone who wasn’t family. Time to temper your expectations, everyone; the moment for homemade duck confit is coming to an end.