The Boat Galley Cookbook – all I want for Christmas

It's time to make dinner, and I'm looking around at the galley and wondering for the Nth time in the last few months, what I can do with pumpkin, coconuts, and ibecca (the mucilaginous leafy green that grows on the islands here). I'm running low on inspiration and it's not an option to tap ingredients into Google for a recipe. And I'm really wishing I could have gotten The Boat Galley Cookbook before we left Australia.

Jamie and I really love to cook. And we're lucky, I guess, that we don't have picky kids. They're game to try just about anything and "I don't eat _____" just isn't a phrase that comes up on Totem. So this should be easy, right? But we do have standards, and so while they are easy to please- going on repeat from a limited range of long term stores just isn't what we do. And besides, fantastic fruit and vegetables are showing up on our boat daily whether we want them or not. It's criminal not to use them.

This all serves as a reminder to me that the tried and true cookbooks from our prior shore life don't work well once you take off cruising. OK, more accurately, they particularly don't work well when you are far from recognizable grocery stores, and at the tail end of provisions purchased a few months prior. I've got a few cookbooks on the boat right now, but they tend to assume it's no problem to have things on hand like fresh cilantro or maybe some goat cheese or god forbid a bit of prosciutto. No, no, no! I dream about these things, but I have pumpkin and coconuts.

I just need some recipes. Recipes that will help me use the funny things we find out cruising in the tropics. There is a whole lot more to do with a papaya than reflect on your Maui vacation and how good it was with a lime squeezed on top. I know this now, but that's not helping me. I need recipes don't assume I have those ingredients that were once mundane, but now exotic. Recipes that understand cruisers run short on things like eggs and dairy, and offer alternatives to compensate (pre-cruisers out there, just figure out now how to make an oil based pie crust, and thank me later).

There are plenty of reasons why a good cruising-specific cookbook is important to have on board. As a newbie cruiser, they're great for guidance on storing fresh produce (so your oranges don't make all your tomatoes turn early), how to substitute when you don't have an essential ingredient, how to provision intelligently, or how to make those things you loved at home but can't buy in a distant port (I'm calling it a tie between yogurt and English muffins). This recipe wallowing just happens to be the reason I'm feeling a cookbook gap most keenly at the moment.

I've followed The Boat Galley's website for a while- it's got a lot of helpful tips and good recipes, and the co-authors have tons of cruising experience. I know this cookbook is going to be a winner. It's just a little complicated, since we left just as it went to print in October, and haven't even had the internet access to get the Kindle copy.

So Santa, husband dear, Universe- here's the deal: Christmas and my birthday are 4 days apart, and The Boat Galley Cookbook is what I'd love to see under the Christmas tree. I mean, under the mocked-up, tree-shaped fairy lights against the bulkhead, decorated with taped tinsel and paper snowflakes.



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3 Responses

  1. Behan – saw this and knew I had to reply. Do you have eggs? If so, you can make a wonderful Thai dessert – sangkhaya fak thong – coconut custard in pumpkin. Super yummy and easy – and somehow festive, right for this time of the year. Cut out the top of the pumpkin, remove the pulp and seeds. For a small pumpkin you will need 5 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar (palm sugar is best), a pinch of salt and 1 cup coconut cream (the top layer of coconut milk). (I’ve never made it myself but those are the proportions I’m finding on the interwebs). Whisk the ingredients together, pour into the pumpkin and steam for 10-20 mins, until the custard has set. Cut the pumpkin into sections and enjoy.

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