Well, we have been LA on/off since about 1999, and spending very long weekends aboard since 1995. I will give you my opinions. First, a few disclosures:
1) We are cruisers. We like getting out of the slip and going places, so this is not all pure LA.
2) Most of our experience is with kids.
3) We are in the south (S Fl now, then further south where it may be even hotter...)
Flatware, plates, knives, etc...
So, lets see. We started off with the camping gear business. After all I grew up camping. DIdn't take long before it felt like I was camping in my home. We then went to Corelle, then the non-skid plastic kind of stuff you get at West Marine or The Galleyware Company, and finally nice china.
I came to hate the Corelle for the boat. It is cheap. That is true. But it always liked to scratch up and inevitably cracked or chipped. It has no place on our boat now. The best thing we have had for long term is the Plastic (Melamine???? I have no idea what it is made of) stuff from the West Marine or Galleyware Company. It looks nautical and has lasted and works in a microwave. It does not stain and has nonskid. It clean up easy and stacks well. The cost sucks, but it is good everday stuff and we have a set here.
We also have a nice set of China. We use this depending on where we are and who is coming over. When the kids are having cereal outside, well, its the non-skid stuff. When we are having friends over, it is china or when we are at a good anchorage when we think it will not have an accident.
I would keep a small pack of paper plates on board. We use them a bit. They are especially nice on dock parties or when cleaning up after dishes is not desirable. Remember, everything gets hand washed now. Its also a lot easier to dispose of paper plates than plastic. We get rid of all plastic on our boat where we can.
We use nice SS silverware. I detest cheap silverware that is not balanced and falls off your plate. Now I sound like a snob, but that is a pet peeve (esp with kids).
We have pretty much eliminated all (ALL) glass off the boat. Instead, we only use crystal glasses for wine and mixed drinks (or when having friends over). Crystal doesn't seem to explode when it drops into millions of little shards like glass. Glass (and even crystal to a point) is dangerous on a boat. However, it makes drinking wine more enjoyable and makes for nicer evenings with friends when entertaining.
We also carry nice plastic cups that are good for everday and a couple of plastic wine glasses.
We are fans of good knives. I personally use Shuns for the most part, with a few Wuhstoffs and Hinkels (sp??). Shuns are by and far the best knife I have ever owned... but that is another subject.
I am a HUGE fan of microwaves on boats... especially if you have a large inverter
. It gets more use than probably anything on our boat. We can heat up food with minimum energy and heat into the cabin. THings that might tae an hour (baked potatoe) now takes 5 minutes. Soups are a snap, as is bacon, leftovers, etc. And most of all, fresh popped popcorn on a long nights watch at 2am has a way of keeping my crew from a mutiny. Now again, we live where it gets really hot and cooking a huge meal down below (including all the steam and moisture and fumes) is very undesirable at times. That may not be the case for others up north where you dont mind the heat or moisture. But down here, if my microwave crapped out, I would be at the store in no time to get a new one. THey are super cheap and very reliable and use very little power. they are also a backup for if you run out propane (errhmm.... which always seems to happen right in the middle of a nice meal).
We didn't use it a lot before recently but have begun using it at Wing-N-Wings suggestion (I owed her for the grill
, anyways). Suprisingly, we are growing accustomed to it. What we like is that it cooks quickly and uses less energy (ie heat in the cabin) than not using it. I would suggest it if you have room. Issue with the pressure cooker is it takes a lot of room.
Get a spare cylinder of propane.
I am a huge fan of grills
on boats (everyone hre makes fun of me). 90% of the meals we do is on the grill
for our meats. Again, it keeps the heat and fumes out of the cabin and quite candidly, it gives room for two to work. If you are not much of a griller at home though, I suspect you wouldn't be on the boat either. But when you have to go below at an anchorage and it is 90-100 degrees outside, and the thought of starting up the oven makes you nauseus, that grill sure will look appealing!!!
Those things are AWESOME! They will save you money and probably one of the best things we have put on board.
Instead of shopping at your local grocery store, you can load up (esp before taking off cruising) at Sams/Costco and save a lot of money and keep everything much fresher. Also reduces the room they take up and takes the scent out of things (ie, roaches and ants and mice). Worth its weight in gold.
Collapsible strainer. Cheese grinder (we buy our cheese in blocks and grind on demand... cheaper and lasts longer and takes up less space). Nesting cookware is awesome and I would sure find the money for that. We carry two nice Caphalon non-skid skillets. Toaster. Can opener. Wine opener. Two good paris of scissors (one for utility and one for food). Electric knife for filleting fresh catch. We use a Brita water filter (large one) and keep lots of extra filters. We finally got used to the aluminum standup ice trays and use a meat pounder to crack up the ice ($2/bag at most marinas... if they are nice). We brought a bread maker for years and used it twice. It is no longer on my boat. 2 good roasting pans that fits in your over (better measure). 2 aim-a-flames (the type that dont blow out). A fan pointing at galley. Nice non-breakable platter. Essential Galley Companion by Amanda Swan-Neal (though we don't agree on the bread maker).