This month I tried out two new recipes on our sailboat. The first is Creamy Hot Crab Dip which is great with crostini or bugle chips. The second one is Chicken Noodle Soup made with easy homemade stock that will boost your immune system this spring season.
I have had a few requests to write about what it’s like to cook aboard, which I thought would be fun to do in this newsletter. This is our third sailboat, and it’s probably not surprising that the galleys have improved over time. On our first boat, which was an O’Day 25, the galley was sparse. Not only did we not have standing head room, but the galley consisted of a small alcohol stove, no oven, no hot water and no refrigeration. In those days, we used Coleman chest coolers with a lot of ice. You also had to step on the built-in cutting board when going below from the cockpit into the cabin. Those limitations improved when we moved up to the Catalina 320. She had a three-burner propane stove, an oven, refrigeration and a two-tub sink with hot and cold water. But I didn’t have a lot of space for pantry items on that boat. That all changed with Reprisal’s galley on our Tartan 4100. As you can see in the photo, there is a more efficient propane stove with an oven and a larger two-tiered refrigerator. It is not in the photo, but I also have a pantry for storing canned goods, rice and noodles, cereal, nuts, crackers, tea and coffee along with other provisions.
I have found over the years that some sailors don’t use their galley except for making coffee or heating up prepared food. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are sailors like me that use it all the time and even under sail. However, cooking on a boat does have some limitations. I have found that it’s important to store only what you need, take things like cereal out of the box (because the bag uses less storage), cook and freeze what you can ahead of time and use airtight packaging. It is also handy to have small appliances, like a small crock pot, for an alternative cooking source. So, while cooking on a boat is not a convenient as at home, it is fun and a little easier than when we were tent camping years ago.
Dave and I enjoy watching “A Taste of History” with Austrian born Chef Walter Staib. In this PBS TV series, Chef Staib combines fascinating history with culinary dishes of the period. His restaurant, the City Tavern, is in old town Philadelphia. During a recent episode, he talked about the book “Mrs. Goodfellow, The Story of America’s First Cooking School”. In the early 1800’s in Philadelphia, Mrs. Goodfellow was widowed and ran a sweets and bakery store. She also did a fair amount of catering. Then she started the first cooking school in America for well-to-do wives that wanted to learn how to make classic dishes. What is also interesting about Mrs. Goodfellow is that she invented lemon meringue pie. In those days, sugar let alone lemons were not available to the average person. Luckily, she had ties to the merchant ships in the biggest port in our country. I also enjoyed reading about how she liked to use local ingredients, like Indian corn meal, in her recipes. She was a remarkable woman who was way ahead of her time in the cooking world.
This is the time of year when farmer’s markets have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s great to cook with what is in season this spring including arugula, chives, green onions, lettuces, mushrooms, radishes, spinach and strawberries. You can click on this site to find out what is in season right now in your community www.seasonalfoodguide.org !