Friday, October 14, 2011

Cooking afloat

It's easy, right?  Just like home?

Well not so much.

Let's start with the the central cooking appliance: the stove.  Compared to boat stoves*, the ones in houses ashore are huge.  The stove on Eolian is unusual for a boat stove in that it has three burners... many boat stoves have only two.  And these are also not your household burners - they are smaller in size and heat output than you would be accustomed to from life ashore.

Large pans are a difficulty...  they overlap the target burner and encroach on the space for the next one.  And if they are made of thin metal, the smaller flame will produce a concentrated hot spot - heavy metal is your friend.  Even on our three-burner stove, the large, deep frying pan that came with our set cannot be centered over a burner - there just isn't room.

And then there's the oven.  Many boat galleys have none.  That simplifies selection of baking pans - you need none.  But if you are fortunate to have an oven aboard, it will not be the cavernous one you have at home.  Ours on Eolian would be hard-pressed to roast a chicken.  It will not accommodate a standard cookie sheet - you will have to seek a miniature one.  A standard 9x13 baking dish won't fit.  And aside from the size, there will probably be only one shelf in the oven.

Next, you will have a very limited amount of counter space on which to work.  Eolian is pretty big, yet she has only about 4 feet of counter space, altogether.  And some of that is occupied by the espresso machine and the hatch for the freezer.  If you are getting the picture that complicated meals are not going to happen, that is correct.

Eolian is a sail boat.  If we are underway when cooking is to happen, it is very likely that the boat is moving around.  This is definitely different than in your kitchen on land, where your house stays put on its foundation (except if you are in California, of course).  How do you keep the pots from sliding around on the stove?  Marine stoves have rails and pot keepers to hold things in place while the boat moves thru the waves.

But there is more.  On a sail boat, things are rarely level while underway - the boat heels.    The entire stove is gimbaled so that the cooking surface stays level while the boat is heeled...  definitely not your home stove!

And finally, while the boat is heeled and moving about, what is it that keeps the cook in place?  See that red strap hanging from the padeye by the sink?  I connects to the padeye over by the refrigerator and provides the cook with some restraint while his/her world is moving all over the place.

So yeah, it's cooking.  It is simultaneously simpler and more complicated than cooking at home.  And it is worth it.  How many of you at home can enjoy dinner with this view?  Exactly.

* I'm not talking about mega-yachts here, or large power boats with full-sized household appliances.


HeidiB said...

Wow! I like the galleychef strap! What is Thanksgiving dinner prep like? Do you have a rail-hanging BBQ for the bird? Maybe cornish game hens & stovetop? (sounds good to me) or just prepared in phases.

Robert Salnick said...

We have a rail-hung BBQ (in fact it is outsized), but it is still smaller than the oven.

Sadly, we roast a breast, instead of the whole bird, when we're aboard on Thanksgiving.


Dougm said...

Bob,is that a microwave mounted beneath the stove? If it is, how do you like it there? Very space-saving, but is it practical? I like the idea and might take a page from your book and install one on Perelandra (DE38).

Congratulations on the newest member of your family!


Robert Salnick said...

Doug -

Yes, that is a microwave down there. Having one on a boat is a wonderful addition. Yes, it is high tech, and yes it does draw a lot of battery power via the inverter, but only for a minute or two (usually). Total amp-hrs? Not that much.

We love it!

(And thanks for the congrats!)


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