Food keeps everyone on board healthy and energetic. Good food keeps up morale. On the Obelisk we eat pretty damn good.
What’s On Board
We have a massive supply of canned and dried goods that we bought at the beginning of the trip; pasta, rice, beans, canned vegetables, corned beef, canned fish (tuna, mackerel, sardines), crackers, peanut butter, jam, cookies, powdered milk, flour, sugar, lots of spices and other non-perishables. We have pretty much every dry staple you’d find in any normal kitchen. One thing we don’t have, that lots of other boats do, is refrigeration. That means that we can’t really keep meat or fresh fruits and vegetables for very long. We do keep a bulk supply of fresh onions, garlic, and potatoes which all can last at least a month. We also pretty much always have a supply of fresh eggs which also last for around 15-20 days.
Whenever we stop on shore we stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables that don’t last so long, which in Indonesia usually meant chillies, eggplants, tomatoes, avocados, squash, and occasionally bread.
The galley (or kitchen) has two propane burners on the stove and a small oven.
Breakfast and lunch are done independently but someone will usually volunteer to cook at least one of those meals for the whole crew. My typical breakfast is oatmeal with peanut butter and jam, unless someone cooks up eggs. Lunch varies wildly, an egg, tuna, or peanut butter sandwich, the leftovers from dinner, ramen noodles, or sometimes we’ll whip up a noodle stir fry, pasta, or some curry.
Dinner is the most structured meal often times during passage the only time we are all hanging out together. We take turns cooking it so each person cooks every 4th night. The three main staples are pasta, rice, and beans, so usually one of those is involved, but from there the cook can be creative and use anything we have on the boat. A few example meals we’ve have include:
-beef and red bean chili
-spaghetti with tomato sauce
-coconut and tunafish curry
-rice with stirred vegetables and fish
-baked potatoes and vegetables
When we’re on anchorage the meals tend to be a lot more involved and gourmet, on passage they tend to use as few dishes as possible and be much more simple. On anchorage we even occasionally eat around the table rather than up top.
The best meal on the boat is always when we catch fresh fish, which on average happens about once every 5-6 days. When that happens we almost always bake it (because cooking it on the stove makes too much of a mess) with vegetables and rice or potatoes. Depending on how big it is we’ll use the leftovers for omelettes in the morning and even get a second dinner out of it. So far we’ve caught and eaten snapper, trivali, tuna, mackerel, and wahoo.
The cook is responsible for all of the dishes for that day. We do dishes by taking them up top, filling a bucket with salt water from over the edge, and washing them with some dish soap in the bucket. We then hand dry them to get the salt out and put them back. Often others will volunteer to help with the drying. When the seas are big and the boat is rocking both cooking and washing can be very tough.
Obelisk, unlike most other boats, does not have refrigeration or a freezer which makes eating good, healthy food especially hard. Boats that have refrigeration and freezers can keep vegetables much longer and can freeze all sorts of fresh provisions. If and when I get a boat I think refrigeration is a must. It consumes more power and is another thing that can break, but it makes eating good, healthy food much easier.