The best tips for cooking on a boat

An old sailor’s saying tells that “on boat there are two enemies: “cold and hunger”, and it’s true that eating well on boat is fundamental, either because a lot of energies are needed, either because it’s a pleasure treating yourselves well, especially if you’re in good company! In this article you’ll find many tips specifically thought for cooking on a boat!

Cooking onboard isn’t easy at all, especially if it’s the first time on a sail boat or a gulet. In the first case, we must think about various aspects, such as the sailing time, the number of passengers and the boat equipment which, nearly always, depends on its length. If you’re not experts, you can always consult a few elementary books about “boat recipes” and it would be advisable, beyond the small or average size of the boat, to follow a few hints.

Attention to the freshness of food

Only buy food for the needs (and pleasure) of a couple of days. You’ll buy something to eat in your next step in a market near the port, or directly from the fishermen if you’re fresh fish lovers. But always keep in mind that the perishability of food is much more on boat that at home. Then, each has its own customs: Giovanni Soldini, Italy’s most famous navigator, never renounces to some Parma ham in his Atlantic crossings.

Dry and canned food as a must

Canned food is known to be the the most lasting. Therefore it is advisable to make a good supply of oil (canned is better), salt, sugar, canned tuna, pasta, rice, peeled tomatoes or sauces, long-life milk, biscuits and so on. The optimization of space – which on boat is anywhere, maybe concealed – goes hand in hand with the spread: recommended maximum organization, thus, not to waste time in searching. Dry bread, breadsticks and cracker are better than soft bread. Easy to eat like the others, but they remain the best “non-chemical” antidote for seasickness. In fact nausea can be fought by eating something crunchy or, curiously, with very salty or seasoned cheeses.

Water mustn’t be wasted

On boats water is a precious good, to be used sparingly. For example, you can cook pasta  by putting in only two-thirds of drinking water, and the remaining third with sea water: in this way you will not need to add salt! And once drained, there’s no sense in throwing it away, many are the possibilities for its reuse like boiling eggs, potatoes and vegetables. You can even dare washing dishes without detergent, due to the degreasing properties of pasta starches.

Eye to the dishes

Soldini still claims to cook everything with the pressure cooker, starting from the yellow risotto, which he loves as a good milanese. the pressure cooker, indeed, has a great versatility (it can be used for mostly everything, avoiding to soil other cookware) to save time in the kitchen.

First of all common sense

If weather conditions don’t permit, it’s unthinkable to set up veritable banquets full of dishes; something quick would be preferred, like a beautiful caprese. The use of plastic dishes would be the best thing – although environmentalists would suffer; they’re easier to clean and dispose once you get on the mainland! Having respect for the environment and the sea then, should be the number one rule to take with you from the beginning of your trip!

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