Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Princess and the Pea...

December 4, 2005

My Kitchen at Sea


My Backyard


Day three of our passage and the seas are very calm. We’re cruising along at about 10 knots with the head sail open and expect to hit the Caribbean by late Sunday or early Monday. We’re making extremely good time…

Another successful day of meals has come and gone although last night as I attempted to warm up some lamb curry for the captain, we hit a roller, the curry went flying in the microwave and must’ve gotten into the electronics because the microwave zapped, sparked and smoked and then went dead… Sadly, we now have no microwave.

As I’ve explained before, everything on a boat has a place and everything needs to be tucked away for a crossing because anything that can go flying will. Before we set sail on Friday, I went through my pantry and took any glass items out and stowed them away in lockers, the non-breakables in the lockers went into the pantry… Nothing, as of yet, has been broken and even if we hit bad weather, I think I’ve packed things away pretty safely. But it will all need to be re-organized once we arrive at our destination.

I have a small book cubby in my bunk where I had tucked away stacks of cookbooks. But when we were hit by the storm coming from New York, I was thrown out of bed twice and my cookbooks clobbered me when I hit the floor… The new home for my cookbooks is now under my mattress. I feel like ‘The Princess and the Pea’, only I have 12 cookbooks under my mattress…

On the first leg of the journey I didn’t have nearly enough food prepared in advance, hardly any in fact. Although I had the right intentions, there was so much shopping to do, we were in a hurry to leave, and the crew eats like a pack of pachyderms, so I didn’t have time to get everything done. The few things that I had made for the crossing the crew begged and pleaded to eat and was gone before we even lifted anchor. No such mistakes this time. I hid things around the kitchen and the crew was warned that if they touched anything they’d lose a finger.

When we left New York, I didn’t anticipate cooking at sea to be such a challenge even in calm weather and then of course we were hit by the storm… But now I know what to plan for and it’s really not so bad; challenging in fact, bordering on fun…

I’ve just learned that we were in the Bermuda triangle when we hit the storm and incurred all our damage <>. Our engineer says that the storm we hit was one of the worst storms he’s been in, this gives me hope. Have I paid my dues yet?

Our time on the boat crossing the ocean are mostly spent napping, reading books, and snacking, napping and reading books.

I’ve just finished Jeffrey Steingarten’s “The Man Who Ate Everything”, an absolutely hysterical tale of his forays in the kitchen, researching, cooking and eating strange and unusual foods from all around the world as the food writer for Vogue… He’s touched on almost every conceivable topic, ethnicity and technique of food, cooking and eating except for cooking on a boat… I can’t help but laugh to myself and wonder how he would do with limited ingredients, the supply of fresh, seasonal produce completely stymied and of course, the motion of the sea. Steingarten, comically, has taken kitchen disasters to a new level making a marvelous mess of almost every kitchen he walks into including Marcella Hazan’s kitchen in Venice, the P&G kitchens and of course his own many times over…

On a boat, there is no room for mess. It’s too small a space and you’re constantly under threat of something tipping, sliding away, splattering or spilling. And when you spill, it goes in four different directions simultaneously (which his messes seem to miraculously do even without the motion of the sea)…

To cook on a boat you must throw every romantic notion that you have about cooking out the window. You have to be organized, practical, and adaptable and be able to make due… There’s no bodega if you run out of milk, no neighbor to barrow a cup of sugar from, no farmers markets...

I just find it an entertaining and funny thought how some people might handle it, but then I have 96 hours of undisturbed time on my hands and nothing around me but hundreds upon hundreds of miles of ocean… Maybe I’m getting a little loopy.

I want to make a batch of oatmeal, orange and almond cookies. But my stomach is feeling a bit queasy today… I think I’ll take a nap instead.

2 comments:

schatzli said...

our galley in 100 foot is slightly bigger than this..
ah chef you never know one day you find yourself in a bigger yacht...

I was once in 300foot one with walk in fridges etc

and for the crew food hahaha its part of your and the stew job to control the outflow.

I hide MOST SNACKS BISCUITS CHOCS and take enough for a day... that keeps me inside the crew food budget...

sha said...

you are not getting loopy
its just the sea..

i remember we left cannes our way to gibraltar on the 3rd day we saw land haha the capt was screaming LAND LAND.. now who is getting loopy?

 
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