|Pizza for Five and the Dog Photo courtesy John Herschenrider|
Food is one of the great pleasures of life. We break bread with friends, lovers, family. Food fuels our bodies, raises our spirits, inspires creativity.
Taste, of course, and smell whelm our senses. Texture? Very important. The sound of foods sizzling, simmering, crunching, being chopped. And oh, don't our eyes delight in its colors and shapes!
So how do we get along, in such a small boat? No refrigerator? Miles and miles from the nearest store?
Anke and I try to keep a year's supply of food on board. This lets us get away from towns on an indefinite basis, without having to hurry anywhere for resupply. Should things go south for whatever reason, it's a margin of safety... a cushion between us and hard knocks. Should health or the economy fail, we aren't worried about the next meal.
A year's supply is one of those loose figures that doesn't stand up to too close scrutiny. Halfway between resupply, we've eaten through some portion of that. A lot of our food comes from sea and shore, so while it counts, it's only metaphorically on board.
We label containers by type and date, then rotate (eat oldest first). Top off once or twice a year.
- Rice and lentils @ 2:1 - By complementarity theory, this yields complete protein. Tastes good, true or not. Both cook at the same rate, same pot.
- Beans - Beans, beans, the magical froot!
- Wheat - Whole kernel, grind as we go.
- Sprouting Seeds - We sprout these mainly in winter for fresh greens.
- Seaweeds - Abundant year round. Dry or pickle preserve.
- Wild Greens - We try to pick twice what we eat, to dry for winter stews.
- Wild Fruits - Berries, mostly. Available about a third of the year. Haven't dried many, but would like to get set up for it.
- Fish - Mostly cod, dolly varden and pink salmon... small stuff. Perfect for dinner with some left over for breakfast. Mmm-mmm.
- Eggs - Keep for 4+ months with no cooler. Turn weekly and test for floating (bad) and crack into separate bowl toward the end. We eat 3 per day, together, and stock 15 dozen at a go.
- Pasta - Spaghetti stows compactly and can count toward starchy carbs.
- Corn and Oats - Add variety for baking.
- Vegetable Oil - One oil fits all. A gallon lasts us about a month and a half.
- Vinegar - Balsamic, apple and white. Like to make berry vinegar, eventually.
- Cheese - A friend, who saw us carting 100lbs down the dock, said, "I know what you're not going to be doing!" About 1lb per person per week.
- Dried Fruits - These come out far cheaper than fresh (in AK), since you're not paying for water. We have probably 250lbs in 4g buckets, some of which goes into wine.
- Tomato Paste - Those li'l 6oz cans are way versatile and go a long way.
- Peanut Butter and Almonds - Nuts, to you. Expensive, so 50lbs?
- Sugar and Honey - For baking, wine (could make vinegar, in a pinch).
- Spices - Smallish, versatile set. Includes liquid vanilla, smoke and hot sauce. Brewer's yeast. Cocoa.
- Leaveners - Yeast and baking powder (non-aluminum).
- Coffee - Whole bean, grind as we go. About 3lbs per month for the two of us.
- Chocolate - Cheapest in chip form. Okay as a snack, better baked. That's a good thing!
- Green Olives - Expensive, too.
Our compact galley holds a little of everything; enough for a week+. An easy access grab-box holds replacements. It's replenished in turn from deep storage in the holds. If the weather's wet, this system gives us a chance to wait for a break before digging deep.
Containers are air-tight. Glass jars in galley shelves; ziplocs in plastic totes organize the holds.
Cookware consists of pressure cooker, quart pot, teapot, coffepot, nested steel bowls, pie pans and combo cooker (deep frypan with a shallow one that fits as a lid for dutch oven). A few of the usual utensils, mugs, plates, flatware.
No sink... fresh water is poured from jerrycan on deck into the coffepot (used only for water... coffee in french press) or saltwater dipped via side-flaps. A stack of four washbasins can handle a number of jobs. Wash up at the galley, standing in the companionway or on deck in clement weather.
Half the fun of cooking, for us, is to leverage these few ingredients into a wide range of combinations. Ersatz (substitution) cooking is a challenge, and surprisingly effective. Dishes can be concocted without a single ingredient from the original, yet which manage to embody its spirit. I should mention that Anke has a gift for improvisational cuisine!
Oops... gotta run. Dinner's callin'!