Galley Gourmet

December 18, 2015

Before leaving for eXXpedition many people warned me about food at sea. This was underscored by tales of craving fresh foods from the eXXpedition Ascension crew that we spent about a week with in Recife before boarding Sea Dragon. I love growing food, I love cooking food and I love eating food. So I was feeling a little bit of apprehension about how these next few weeks would unfold in terms of food.

For those of you who have never been on a boat, the kitchen is called the galley and Sea Dragon has an incredible one. The galley is about 8’ across and 4’ deep. The range is on a gimble which means that no matter how turbulent the seas, it remains level. This sometimes makes the rest of the galley feel even more topsy turvey than it is, but is a meal saver! As Stella referenced, everything at sea is more of a challenge, taking more focus and skill, and cooking is no different!

In teams of two, we have a 5 day rotation for cooking and cleaning the boat. Thus far, we’ve had some incredible meals! We’re eating mainly vegetarian, and about two days ago, essentially ran out of fresh fruit and vegetables. We still have fresh limes, potatoes, onions and garlic on hand. Regardless, morale is high and we’re still eating incredibly well.

Much of that has to do with the fabulous provisioning of Sea Dragon by Holly, Emily and Imogen prior to our arrival. Every seat in the saloon has a compartment full of extra cans, tins, boxes, bags and jars of potentially scrumptious foods just waiting to be cooked. Lisa and I are on cooking today and did an inventory – I’m pretty sure we could stay at sea for another month and we’d still have food galore. Though by then I bet we’d all be craving fresh foods.

Some folks have had a harder time eating than the rest of us, due to sea sickness that seems to come in waves. But everyone is appreciating the variety of food on board.

As I write, Ana is making gourmet popcorn on the stove to stave off all the mid afternoon grumbly tummies. We’ve had pastas of all sorts – pesto, vodka sauce, red sauce, olive oil with garlic and chili, and pad thai. We’ve had risotto, couscous, quinoa, and a variety of lentil based dishes. There have been incredible salads; lettuce based ones when we were closer to shore, and then ones with beet, carrots, corn, beans, rice noodles and a variety of other things. Fresh fruit, canned fruit salads and tapioca flour “puddings” (as the Brit’s say) stuffed with pineapple and caramelized condensed milk. We’re eating through pounds of cheese, snacks galore and having tea and coffee as often as someone puts the kettle on.

I’d been led to believe that spending this much time of sea would be a gastronomic hardship, but I’ve come to consider Sea Dragon as a floating restaurant. Other than breakfast and my snacks, all of my meals are prepared for me (except when I’m on cooking and cleaning) and all of my dishes are washed. Fortunately I have Christmas with my extended family to prolong the gastronomic bliss. But it’s going to be a shocking reality to go back to cooking and washing up almost every day when I get home.

Katrina McQuail

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