Other than wind, the main ingredient to a successful sail is good food and, like any maintenance job, its easier to accomplish this with the right equipment. When cooking has become a chore to either male or female, its time to look at the galley. Not everyone likes to cook, but the experience of cooking can be more pleasant by adding a few simple labor-saving devices and convenience equipment. In some cases, replacing the entire cooking system may be in order.
Abandoning alcohol and bringing propane on board was the best thing we did to make cooking more convenient. In fact, upgrading to a compressed fuel system hastens meal preparation and makes heat control easier too. Water takes less time to boil with propane than with alcohol or petroleum fuels like kerosene.
If theres room, its great to have an oven on board. With thermostatically controlled temperature, baking is easier than ever. Some manufacturers now build ranges with ovens and broilers. Thermostats, piezo ignition, plates that distribute heat evenly in the oven, see-through oven doors for viewing, oven doors with latching mechanisms for broilingall these features make cooking easier.
Galleys need lighting, lighting, and more lightingthe galley seems to receive the least amount of attention when lights are distributed in a boat. We added twin-tube fluorescent lamps over the stove and sink, and since I like to see into the dark recesses of the refrigerator when searching for something at the bottom, we added a third one there.
And speaking of finding things in the fridge, without an organized refrigeration box, items can be misplaced or forgotten and a few days later an odor begins to materialize as a reminder. There is a variety of baskets, tubs, and organizers available that are perfect for this job. We created a "sliding" system by screwing one by one-inch teak cleats the length of the box, one on each side, about a third of the depth down from the top. Two plastic baskets with flanges left enough space to slide the baskets and get to the bottom without removing a basket, but with still enough clearance left for them to slide over tall items below. In the bottom of the box, we placed a couple of dishpans to hold milk, juice cartons, and cans of soda. These dishpans contain any leaks or spills and are easy to clean.
Good quality stainless steel pots and pans with double bottoms are important too. The lowest adjustment on most stoves is still too hot for simmering foods and sometimes, if youre not watching, food can end up blackened on the bottom. There is a heat diffuser that you can place between the burner (on low) and the potthe pot is no longer in direct contact with the flame, thus eliminating scorched food and blackened bottoms. A wok-type pan, wide at the top but narrow at the bottom with good depth, finds a lot of use too. For a quick stir-fry or browning meat, it fits easily on the burners without taking up the majority of the cooking surface as a normal frying pan would do. Because its deep, grease splatters are contained.
I havent gone over to 12-volt appliances, although I certainly see their value. I still make coffee on the stovetop with an old fashioned percolator and my cooking style doesnt lend itself to a blendersince Ive never owned one, I dont miss it. Im sure, though, theres a contingent of cooks that use their blenders on a regular basis. A small food processor that chops, dices, and grinds would be niceI can see one of those fitting into my galley well and saving me a lot of time chopping and dicing vegetables, or grinding fresh conch. It could operate off the inverter. An inverter is the ultimate weapon in food preparation if you want to carry a full complement of kitchen appliances on the boat.
- Renovating the Galley by Sue and Larry
- Stowing the Provisions by Beth Leonard
- Making Your Boat a Home by Kevin Jeffrey
- Provisioning in the Caribbean by Kathy Barron
- SailNet Buying Guide - Stoves/Ovens
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