Today was a banner day aboard Galapagos. I found a paper bag with 4 onions inside. I had stowed it under the floorboards in the salon. Lately it was looking like we were already down to our last two onions and I couldn’t believe I had let that happen. These onions were as good as treasure. Whenever i discover that I have prepared better than I thought I have , I am dead pleased with myself. It’s like putting an appointment on the calendar for 30 minutes earlier than the scheduled time, then discovering you are actually early and don’t have to rush.
“I am going to make Pico de Gallo so I hope we catch a fish for tacos!”, I told Michael.
“Do we have some chips to go with that?”, he asked, innocently.
I was floored. Did this man just ask me if I had brought totopas on this voyage? I recovered quickly from this open assault on my food procurement skills.
“Do I look to you like the kind of person who would fail to bring corn chips? I have one job, mister. One job. I have found my onions and you can be sure there will be chips. The very idea that I somehow would overlook this staple food is….I HAVE ONE JOB!”
I haven’t yet made the salsa but if we catch a fish then at least I have already chopped an onion. When I pulled my prized bag of onions out from under the floor I checked each one and found one that would be going bad if I didn’t intervene. We cannot afford to waste fresh food aboard. It’s not like we have a market on the corner 800 miles from land. I chopped the onion and put the container in the fridge for later. Then I washed the other onions to get any spores of mold off them and put them out to dry. They also will now go into the fridge because I don’t trust those mold spores.
Food management aboard means paying attention to things like whether there is a moldy onion in a bag or a bad spot on a potato. If you let those things go then the food is wasted. My system involves stages of storage. First fruits and vegetables go in cupboards or under the floor where it is cooler. When they begin to show signs of over ripeness or mold before we have eaten them then I remove the bad parts and they get to live in the refrigerator. I plan our next meal around those items.
Some things, like half of the fresh papaya and half of the last fresh pineapple, mashed avocado, and chopped broccoli, get moved to the freezer where they will give us that fresh taste well into this long passage. I have discovered that storing strips of bell pepper in salted water keeps them crisp for a week or longer. Living this way makes me really appreciate the labors of our foremothers who stored and preserved food without refrigeration. Some people live on boats without refrigeration I am not those people.
I made a lot of jokes about the amount and variety of foodstuff I put on board before we started out. Now that kind of supplying is paying off as we have about 16 days to go or better and we will finish this voyage without relying on beans and rice. Variety keeps morale and health up.
When there is little wind, like today, and the boat motion is easier, I have time to play with recipes. I think we eat more interesting foods when we are aboard than we did on land. Having less storage and a smaller space makes me more creative about combining foods and using up what we have before running to the store to get more stuff like we did back home. I’ve got a great idea for a balsamic fig sauce made with my home made fig preserves from home, Mexican pickled red onions, and balsamic vinegar. I plan to serve that with chicken and couscous. I’ll let you know how that works out.
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