Cooking at Sea

I have just bought the Distant Shores DVD series and am now also following Paul and Sheryl Shard and their adventures on the internet as well. They have posted some great suggestions on cooking and eating at sea and I wanted to share. You can check out their website here

On our recent coastal voyage we pre-made a spaghetti bolognaise which we could easily re-heat in the pot. As it was quite rough and raining at the time, we put it between two pieces of soft white bread and had spag bol sandwiches! It was fantastic and we all agreed that it was the best we had ever eaten. On the way home we bought an ‘in the bag’ meal of Butter chicken which we had with some left over wraps. Again – delicious! It is amazing the value of a warm meal to warm you up and keep you going.

For snacks we had muesli bars, sweets, chips, nuts, scroggin and we were amazed by how much we ate on both trips. I think it also helps settle your stomach if you give it something else to think about. Remember to drink lots of water too – have drink bottles easily accessible in the cockpit.

Anyway here are the suggestions from the Shards –

1. Prepare meals ahead of time: Before leaving on a passage, we try to prepare as many meals as possible before we leave the dock. It takes a few days for your body to adjust to around-the-clock watch routines so make everything easy. If you are susceptible to seasickness during the first 3 days of a passage plan light, easily digestible foods.

2. Store everything you need for meal preparation near the galley: If everything is close at hand, you will do a better job of preparing good meals since it will be less tiring than running here and there digging deep in lockers on a pitching boat. You will also be less likely to fall or injure yourself.

3. Know what you’ve got and where it is: Don’t waste your time and energy digging through lockers unnecessarily. Keep a good inventory list so you know exactly what you’ve got and where it is.

4. Top everything up before you leave the dock: Running out of dish detergent, having to change a toilet paper roll or finding the flour canister empty can bring me to tears if a storm is raging. Topping everything up before you leave the dock reduces effort and irritation.

5. Clean the boat like crazy: Odours can do you in if you’re on the verge of “mal de mar”. Make sure there are no sour sponges, dirty dish towels, gruesome laundry or icebox gremlins waiting to turn your stomach. Do your best to clean up spills so you don’t slip and fall. Check your fresh produce supply regularly so you’re not caught out by a rotting potato or mildewed melon.

6. Add safety features and use them: The safer you feel in the galley, the more pleasant your galley tasks will be. There should be lots of handholds in the galley and a galley strap at the stove so when the going gets rough the chef doesn’t land in the soup. We have pot clamps on our gimballed propane stove to keep things where they should be. We have a stainless steel safety bar in front of the stove (between the cook and “the cooker”) for added protection from burns. At sea I also cover our countertops with non-skid mats to keep bowls and utensils from flying around.

7. Keep it simple: When the weather is rough, it’s really better to stay out of the galley, if possible. Design meals to be quick and easy. We snack a lot on passages, especially in foul weather, often having several small meals rather than three major productions per day. It’s easier on the digestion and easier on the cook.

8. Come up for air: Stick your head out the companionway occasionally if you’re going to be in the galley for a while. It clears your head and makes you feel better.

9. Make clean-up easy: Design your meals so clean-up isn’t a major chore. One-pot dinners served on paper plates makes life easier for everyone when the going gets rough.

10. Make time to sit together and eat: Being only 2 people on a yacht most times while underway can make it tempting to alternate long watches and pass each other like ships in the night. Help your relationship and avoid loneliness by sitting and eating together. Even if it is only for 10 minutes, take the time to catch up and ask each other how you’re feeling.

Another great website for tips in the galley is The Boat Galley Carolyn writes regular articles, sends a newsletter and has a Facebook page which is jam packed full of fantastic ideas based around the galley. She is well worth following.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s