The galley of our boat is in many ways the heart of our cruising life, in the same way that our kitchen was the center of living at home. Food takes on a special significance because I believe a “well-fed crew is a happy crew.” Cayuga has a wonderful, well-designed galley with a four-burner stove oven, a refrigerator, freezer and adequate storage space for all the equipment we need to prepare and serve our luscious, nutritious meals.
As with all other aspects of boat life, a lot of planning goes into the process of getting and preparing food. Since our boat is most often anchored off-shore in a bay, everything that we eat must be purchased on shore at the small local markets that are available to us at any given time. Every now and then, we can shop at supermarkets in cities, but that isn’t a frequent occurrence.
The shopping process also involves loading everything we buy into our dinghy to take them out to the boat. All this requires a lot of effort but the upside is that we get lots of exercise carrying bags and loading them into our dinghy and boat.
Food preparation is also unique because, in the tropics where we have been cruising the past few years, the temperatures are hot (75-88 daily) and I am very careful not to cook using methods that heat up the boat area below decks. To keep our living area cool and comfortable, I avoid cooking anything that takes more than 15 minutes of cooking time to complete. This is very easy for us because we love salads of every kind and we never get tired of the creative combinations of fruits, vegetable, cheese, and nuts that we throw together for ourselves at mealtime.
Most small towns and villages have food stalls or local markets where we can get all the fresh locally-grown fruits (pineapples, bananas, mangos) and vegetables (lettuce, green beans, squash, potatoes) that we are accustomed to and many that we are not accustomed to (soursop, breadfruit, callaloo). My favorite products in these markets are the spices, which include great piles of cinnamon bark, nutmegs, raw chunks of chocolate, peppercorns and many other ground spices. They are a feast for the senses!