Unlike a home where you have your supplies neatly organized – baking supplies here, soup tins there – on a boat you store your supplies wherever they fit. So you might find the bag of oatmeal occupying the space between your bowls and the tall jar of artichoke hearts nestled safely amongst your tea towels to protect it from breakage in rough seas.
On long cruises, I make an inventory list of all provisions and where they are stored. While assembling ingredients for a meal, I scratch off each item so that I always know what I am running low on. This makes it much easier when you go ashore to provision as your shopping list is already completed. It also helps you keep on top of supplies that might be tucked away in a far corner of a seldom-vsited locker to emerge as a rusted tin of unidentified contents months later.
It always seems that I have to move 3 things in order to make any meal. If your partner is aboard while you are doing this, it usually means that they have to move 3 times too because they are sitting on the settee above one locker, then move to the small chair above the second locker and finally are standing in front of the deep locker where the few remaining items are stowed. We call it the “Sailboat Shuffle.” After many years of living aboard, we do this dance without realizing it.
Cooking underway adds a whole other dimension to adventures in the galley. If the sea conditions suddenly worsen in the middle of your meal preparations, you have to literally strap yourself in. Balancing yourself with legs braced while holding a pot with one hand and a spoon with the other, conjuring up a bowl of oatmeal would impress the judges at a Cirque du Soleil audition!
Although it involves a few additional steps, a meal cooked at sea has that extra ingredient that makes it taste better than anything cooked onshore – adventure. Bon appetit!