When we arrived in Australia, we faced by far the strictest quarantine encountered so far. So besides just keeping us all fed and happy for the past half year, perfect planning also means that ideally, we consumed all of the provisions which could be confiscated before we reach Australia.
It didn’t quite work out that way. I can’t stand waste, and it pained me to see the bag with at least 20 kilos of consumable food taken off our boat after we reached Australia. Here’s what we over-purchased:
* canned meat. We bought cans of chunk chicken and beef, and a few of ham. To be honest, I still can’t believe we even consume this stuff… talk about falling far from our life on shore, where we knew the knew by name the farmers who raised most of the meat we ate! Even before the question of canned meat came up for the Pacific crossing, during our year and a half in Mexico I looked hard at being de-facto vegetarians as an alternative to healthy, sustainably raised meat. We really didn’t know much about about how the meat we eat there was consumed, so it seemed like a good options- and a good way to prep for the Pacific islands. Besides, I was a vegetarian for a few years before I met Jamie… it couldn’t be that hard, right? But we found, as we waited out the hurricane season in the Sea of Cortez last summer, that we make very, very bad vegetarians. Of course, our Sea of Cortez failure was probably also because of the dearth of vegetables… it turns out that if you want to be vegetarian, having fresh vegetables available to purchase is pretty important! Even when we were catching plenty of fish, it didn’t squelch the desire for serious protein fix now and then. The day we cracked into the emergency Spam- literally, ditch kit food- for a “ham” and cheese omelet one morning, I knew we were doomed as veggies. Besides, the reality of being vegetarian in the Pacific islands means eating a pretty limited diet. How do you like cassava? White rice? Good. You’ll be fine. The rest of us, well…
* dried beans. I avoid cans if I can, and dried beans- while they take a wee bit more effort- are both tastier and healthier. We eat a lot of beans, but I probably didn’t need to buy enough to get us through Armageddon. Even though we consume at least a couple of pounds per week, I’m frankly embarrassed to admit how much was still on board when we made landfall in Australia. We had a lot of rice & beans, chili, and bean salads in our last weeks before Australia, with recipe help from The Keel and Galley Swap among others (thanks guys!). Everything left was confiscated by quarantine in Oz. It just feels criminal to throw away perfectly good food.
* rice. This kind of shocked me, because we eat tons of rice, but I actually bought too much. The weevils helped me out as several kilos had to be chucked overboard in Fiji, but we still arrived in Australia with about 6 kilos left on board. Still, it was worth it. Long grain white rice was been readily available in the Pacific islands, and generally reasonably priced, but brown rice and sushi rice were very difficult to find (and brown sushi rice? fugeddaboutit! Tracey… I dream about short grain brown rice… *sigh*). The lovely quarantine official allowed us to keep it all, too- thanks, Officer Mortimer!