Now that Christmas and New Year are out of the way and the decorations have all been stored, we now move on to planning for our upcoming trip to The Exumas, in the Bahamas. We will share some of this planning with you as we go along. First Sian will share what she is up to with the provisioning for Sonas.
So, you don’t often hear from me on this blog but as I outfit the galley for our first extended cruise I thought, novice that I am, some of those adventures might at least make you smile.
We plan to cruise for three months, and while we are not headed for the back of beyond, we are going somewhere we have never been, with little idea of what grocery options are available. Checking TripAdvisor there are only seventeen restaurants featured across the chain of over 300 islands, which sounds like a lot of home cooking!
So, what kind of cook am I? Basic, definitely. No frills and someone who does not want to spend too much time cooking while missing beautiful tropical beaches. And yet….. I do get pleasure from turning out a yummy meal on board, and that is the dilemma. Planning food for three months is quite overwhelming as it rattles around in my head, so the only thing to do is start. Reading some books and getting good tips on food storage (like bay leaves in flour to avoid weevils, who knew?) and talking to cruisers who have gone before me, I start making lists. And then make lists of the lists!
Then I remind myself that some folks do this without the luxury of the space and equipment that our home away from home offers. First up we have a full size fridge freezer so no worries about storing meat, frozen veggies and fruit. So stop over-thinking this and get back to the list! Google is becoming my best resource; ” Google, can you freeze celery?'” The answer is yes. ” Google, how long can you store spaghetti squash?” Four weeks if you are interested. ”Google do you have one hundred and one ideas for one pot meals?” Certainly!
Secondly we do have a lot of storage space, although I have never heard a boater say they have too much space! I can fit in the slow cooker and the bread maker. Martha Stewart here I come! Keeping ingredients dry seems to present challenges so storage bags and plastic totes abound. Cardboard attracts bugs so everything that comes cloaked in cardboard needs to be removed and stored another way. Soda cans are going in 7” high totes, wine bottles inside socks in plastic milk crates.
It would be wonderful to think all this planning will result in no spills or infestations but realistically that has to be prepared for too. Advice from the experts? Deal with the mishaps as soon as you see them, the only thing assured is they will not improve with time!
That brings me to the next point .Every time I get too fancy Paul brings me back with the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) and much as it pains me to say so, he is right. No one on a boat has ever said “I don’t want that”, when presented with a meal, every one scarfs down everything on offer and licks the plate if no one is looking! A day’s boating always leads to a good appetite!
Part of the list is detailing what my go-to meals are, then breaking down the ingredients. Adding in other necessities as I write, (dog food, how could I forget dog food…)
A food inventory sheet is a great idea. I chose to detail what is on board, quantity, location. Dates for rotation were not so important as I hope to come back with very little left over in the way of cans and frozen food. Fresh food rotation will be pretty much when and where we can find it, I hope often!
We have also bought backpacks so we can carry food back from the store to Sonas on the bicycles more easily, and a cold bag for the stuff that needs to stay cool.
I will keep you posted, more later!