The Marine Galley Kitchen- Basics & Beyond
This article is about provisioning our boat galley, kitchen, and pantry. That is to say, about the food, cooking utensils and ingredients that we consider basic to our cooking style, as well as some other items that we find convenient or fun.We love to cruise, we enjoy cooking, and we enjoy eating.
Equipment for Cooking
Our galley consists of a gimbaled 2 burner alcohol stove, sink, icebox, auxiliary butane “Ninja” burner, propane BBQ, and in crabbing season, a propane camp stove.
For those new to galleys (boat kitchens), it should be noted that boats are different than RVs. In a boat, any water that goes down the kitchen drain goes out into the sea water; not to a greywater tank like in an RV. Similar to an RV, a boat does have a marine toilet system and holding tank (or black water tank).
Boat Galley Accesories
For cooking tools, we have a set of Stainless Steel nesting pots from West Marine. If you ever want to give a lasting and memorable gift to yourself or another small boat cruiser, keep this in mind. We have added a couple of extra frying pans, a muffin tin, a loaf pan, collapsible salad/mixing bowls, measuring cup and strainer. Serving and food preparation are enhanced with 2 cutting boards, a large platter, and a variety of wooden spoons, whisks, and spatulas. As a hobbyist woodworker, I designed and built some plate, utensil and wine glass holders to help better organize the galley.
Provisioning for Cruising
I will start off by saying that a lot of the spices, teas, rubs and seasonings we use, we find on-line at StarwestBotanicals.com. I have been using some of these products for 20 or more years, buying in bulk from their wide variety of seasoning blends, salt-free, and organic products. While there are many other reputable and quality providers, I have been quite content with the quality, variety and service I have enjoyed at Starwest. If you can buy in bulk and transfer what you need to more manageable and storable boat sized containers, you can save %50 – %80 of the price you would pay for the little jars at your local grocery store. If you have little jars, save them and re-use them! I will also mention some other favorite brands or providers when I feel their products excel in comparison to other more generic offerings.
As a base for a wide variety of quick and easy meals, I like to provision with several jars or cans of prepared pasta sauce. I stock a couple of jars of alfredo based sauces as well as several jars of red sauces such as spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce. I haven’t found a particular brand that I prefer, nor a particular blending. I usually shop for the best price and them choose 2 or 3 of the most interesting sounding variations. Since we always enhance these sauces with our own embellishments, the base is more convenience than necessity. I make a very good alfredo, marinara or spaghetti sauce from scratch, but find it easier and more convenient to let someone else cook up the basic ingredients, especially when we are cruising.
Besides the pasta sauces, our “wet” pantry will include a variety of canned or jarred fruits and vegetables, a couple cans of soup, canned milk, chili, canned chicken and/or tuna, and possibly some “spam” or a canned ham. That is basically emergency food in case we are too lazy or too unfortunate to be able to forage a quick meal on our own.
For dried goods, we carry both prepared and basic supplies. We stock coffee, tea, rice, beans, pasta, dried milk, flour, pancake mix, muffin mix, granola and other cereals. We like to have several packages of ramen noodles or macaroni & cheese for a quick snack and will usually have a variety of rice or pasta “instant” entrees to go along with the main menu. We cary 2 or 3 bags of “Bear Creek” soups that we find easy, filling, adaptable, and storable. You can add a few chunks of fresh seafood or a couple of sausages to their minestrone mix and have a complete meal! We enjoy StarWest’s Vegetable Soup and Onion Soup blends as well as their dehydrated Soup Vegetable blend. We have a bit of a garden to supplement our wild harvesting and with a food dehydrator, can take advantage of that garden as well as seasonal local offerings, to put up a lot of own food supplies. Our pantry has 3 different mixes from the “Clam Corporation,” that we have found to be tasty and light for both fish and chicken. Krustee’s baking mix is also a favorite of mine, offering many more opportunities than even they realize, with the addition of a few extra spices.
Quick Food & Junk Food
For really quick, junk food type emergencies, we carry a few granola bars and, at the influence of our friends Dave & Christie, a box or so of “Pop-Tarts.” We also have peanut-butter, crackers, nuts, chips, etc… Oh Yeah, we also keep a bit of popcorn on board, to include a package of “Jiffy-Pop.” The Jiffy Pop is mostly for shore visits over a camp fire. You would amazed at how many among the present generation, do not know that you can cook popcorn without a microwave oven.
Summary and Invitation
That about covers the basics, though I’ve probably missed a few. Spices and seasonings make all the difference between something edible, and something memorable. What we carry, how to use them, and developing your own taste will be the subject of further articles.