For myself I'm always interested in the food at the market but as soon as the boat gets moving I only eat chips and nuts and crackers.
If you are the cook you have to cook for the crew and not for yourself. I came down with the flu on one trip and didn't want to eat anything. I drank chick broth for four days. I still cranked out three meals a day plus midnights. Stuff happens. You have to do your job.
Wow that was great. I'm willing to soak up any wisdom you have on this subject from three days to three months.
Happy to help. Got a few oceans behind me and I love good food.
What would you get at the hardware store?
thinking about it based on what tools are available vs what food will last how long makes sense.
You MUST know what is onboard before you go shopping. On delivery I've had owners tell me they had everything on board to cook and there was one dull knife, a 6" pan, and a 2 qt pot. Ha.
On one trip the oven didn't work. Fortunately I checked before going shopping. We picked up a bunch of disposable aluminum foil pans at the market and a roll of silver furnace tape (not duct tape - that will burn, the metal adhesive tape). Two foil pans taped together across the burners gave me an oven of sorts for roasts and bread. Kludgy but it worked.
I'd expand on that and say they should be an opportunistic cook.
If you are offshore and your job is cook opportunism is no excuse. You show up at the boat and do an inventory. You have a plan for the passage plus 15-25% already in place. You have a shopping list based on the plan. You update both based on what you find and go shopping.
And being aware that you're cooking on a boat. If you start the first day with bacon and greasy eggs you probably won't have a happy crew.
No excuse for sending up greasy food on board. Work on technique. See T37Chef for that. Simply no excuse for greasy food.
And.... imho anyone that says that in stormy weather they have to revert to sandwiches, frozen dinners or MREs is letting the side down!
When things get bad the cook really has to work. There may be people that can only keep broth down. Others may really benefit from a thick stew. You have to be cognizant of the potential for spills and other messes.
Priority one is to keep people hydrated. After that get calories and protein into them. You're not responsible for their long-term nutritional needs, you need to keep them alert and thinking and on their feet for the next few days. There is plenty of time for balanced meals and vitamins when you get to Fiji or the Azores. As cook/steward/agent you have to keep them functional for the boat. Unless you have a medical person on board you need to watch things like caffeine intake and try to watch for signs of constipation (a real problem for some people offshore).
In my opinion the freeze-dried, frozen dinner, MRE stuff is not for people.