I know a case when a crew of three, mother, father and daughter, going on a round-the-world voyage, loaded three whole heads of parmesan onto a boat. I don’t know how it survived and how long it lasted, but I think a psychoanalytic analysis would probably reveal a subconscious fear of being far from home or a desire to always have something with you that reminds you of home and childhood. In short, Parmesan is like a Linus blanket.
But if you leave psychoanalysis, to stockpile familiar products on a boat, a practice common throughout the world. Olive oil, wine, cheeses and sausages on boats from the Mediterranean, terrible meats and canned goods on boats leaving the UK and, finally, kilograms of frozen meat, hamburgers and other products made in the USA that Americans load on board.
And no matter how overloaded the boat was at the time of departure, with the miles traveled and the passing years, everything gradually ends, the waterline rises and you have to look around to replenish supplies. One of the most interesting aspects of traveling is the contact with other cultures and peoples and, as a result, with their cuisine. Gradually, time passes, the house is far away and the need forces you, you begin to try and look with interest at what others eat there.
In Eritrea, fermented dough is used to bake soft cakes called nghera. At first they reminded us of moldy bread. When we visited and dined with someone, we tried to hide our disgust and imitated the owners of the house in food. And so another day, we noticed that this taste of mold perfectly muffled the taste of too hot sauces, which, in turn, drowned out the too rough taste of local meat. When we left Eritrea, we took half a dozen of them with us, although most of them were moldy.
Further back, where the islands with palm trees begin, coconut milk replaces olive oil, both cooked and raw. We are so used to it that we sometimes use it in Milan, they sell it in supermarkets as an ingredient for cocktails. We also learned how to cook sago, green papaya, breadfruit, taro, yams and many other things.
We have adapted to everything, or almost, but certainly not rid of the nostalgia for homemade food. Therefore, we have established a tax for those who come to us. Each visitor must bring: a liter of olive oil, a liter of gin, a piece of cheese and a kilo of spaghetti. And if someone wants to add chocolate, sausage, a piece of cake, cookies and Nutella to this, of course, we never mind. Therefore, the visits of guests are a double holiday for us.
Sometimes it happens to go to big cities, such as, for example, Panama, Papeete, Suva, the Australian coast, Bali, Durban, and there it is possible to find everything, or almost everything you need. And then there is the problem of placement and storage. First of all, storage, I experienced this firsthand.
Do you know what these products have in common? Because they have worms in them.
Stocks on the boat are large, hot, humid, and if purchases are not made in large centers, all products are usually in their natural form, that is, they have not undergone any processing and are full of invisible insect eggs that eventually turn into worms. These are the larvae of future weevils and other insects inhabiting food products. They are not poisonous or harmful, but they are unpleasant to see. Everyone, sooner or later, happens to forget an open bag of rice in the back of a sideboard and find it, a while later, full of larvae. The usual reaction to this issit in the trash. But I guarantee you that this is not the case at sea, and your tolerance for larvae and bugs will be directly proportional to the time spent on board and the distance to civilization.
Once on a French boat we were treated to vegetables with polenta. The polenta was full of lumps, inside of which were small larvae still moving, or so it seemed to me. On a Brazilian boat, we ate rice full of some kind of black inclusions, a little tough, but they did not bring us harm. Another time, hungry, we literally pounced on Sudanese bread, fresh from the oven. It was very tasty, and we made a reserve and already on the boat we saw that it was literally stuffed with small brown insects. We took it ashore and gave it to the children. They were happyaphids!
Larvae and small dark insects, harmless bugs, can be separated from pasta, rice and dry beans by rinsing in running water, or in salt water. Insects float, the rest do not.
It is more difficult with flour, because it is impossible to separate it from the organic remains of the larvae, and if you use it as it is, a change in taste is noticeable. On our boat, we tried all the methods, and each time, in impotence, we observed the reproduction of insects. And this happened regardless of whether the products were bought in a store or in a foul-smelling market, or whether Barilla or De Cecco pasta was brought to us from Italy. In the end, we found a way that has been working for many years. It is very important that eggs in pasta, flour and rice do not hatch by insects.s, and such genocide is achieved by creating an unfavorable atmosphere for them. To do this, it is enough to place the unopened package in a hermetically sealed bag and put a piece of cotton soaked in alcohol into it. Then a medium saturated with alcohol vapors is formed in the bag, which dry the eggs. Try it and see.
There are other ways. One Englishwoman kept flour in a special canister in which she placed a vial of chlorinated water. I don't know if there were worms, but her bread tasted like bleach. On one of the boats, the Finns, who apparently had a lot of free time, the entire deck was occupied with beans, lentils, peas and hills of rice, because the sun cleanses. They stirred and poured them all day long. But I have not been able to verify the effectiveness of this method myself. And many do not pay attention to it at all, and then a beam of light will come to them for dinner.It's better to go when only fish is on the menu.
Continuing the theme of storage: if an open package of pasta or dried beans is not used immediately, it is better to pour the rest into a closed container. Having discarded plastic jars, which soon become porous, dark and dirty, we use glass jars like Bormoli, with a screw cap. Covers rust over time, but they are not expensive, take up little space. It is enough to change them, and the banks will serve forever.
Usually, the more natural the products, the greater the risk that larvae will start in them. They don't start in sugar, but it attracts ants. Bitter cocoa is safe in this sense, while larvae and ants can start in sweet cocoa.
You can't imagine how many kilos of fruits and vegetables I threw overboard, at times with the bleak prospect of not seeing anything else for weeks. Heat, humidity and tightness are not the best friends of fresh fruit, and they avenge such treatment by turning into a soft and fetid rot that can poison the atmosphere on the whole boat.
On the first “Barca Pulita” for vegetables and fruits, there were four wonderful stainless steel drawers in the nose with perforated walls for air circulation. I saw something similar on “Tatanai” by Rita and Renzo Russo, only made of plastic. But not all boats provide for such things and it is not always possible to arrange them.
Then you have to use different tricks.
When there are fresh vegetables on board, the first rule is to control them daily. Keeping all of them in the refrigerator is unthinkable, but tomatoes, when they can be found, are worth it. Washed in water with a drop of disinfectant solution, dried and folded in plastic boxes on an absorbent paper backing, they can be stored for several weeks. If there is no room in the refrigerator, you can store it in any other place, laying them in one layer if possible and securing them so that they do not roll with every roll of the boat, although they will not last more than a week. carrots in hoLodilnik, in perforated bags, also lasts longer and remains crispy. For other vegetables, you have to be content with the available space, trying to choose the most ventilated places on the boat. You can hang small nets and keep the most resistant fruits there, or wrap everything in newsprint and place it in the upper level of the hold, but they must remain dry there.
Among fruits, citrus fruits, thanks to their strong skin, last longer than others and can be stored in bulk without risk of damage. Wrapped individually in newsprint, lemons and limes keep for a very long time, you'd be surprised how long. A Canadian woman explained this to us many years ago, but she claimed that this is only true for American lemons, which have a flawless zest. I assure you that the same is true of limes that you will find in third world markets with slightly spoiled and speckled zest. But it's all the samebut, keep them under control. Bananas have the shortest life, and you can extend it in sailing by buying them green. Leaving the Canaries on the Vecchietto, we stocked up two bunches of them and dried the ripest ones, cutting them into two parts and leaving them on the deck in the sun for a couple of days, after which we put them in paper bags in lockers. We had enough of them to the Caribbean. It was a great sweet and nutritious snack for bored days and night hours, but we haven't repeated the experience since.
Apples, too, if you can find them, are stored decently.
All other fruits, especially tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple, last only a few days. Don't stock up on a lot of them before a long trek, so you don't have to throw away most of them. The only exception is papaya. Harvested green, they can be kept in the refrigerator for about ten days. Quite green and still tough, they can be used as vegetables, grated and seasoned with oil, salt and lemon, like carrots.
Vegetables keep better. A potato, for example, can be on a boat for months. It shrinks and sprouts, but still remains edible. Before warehousing, it is better to wash the potatoes one by one from the remnants of the earth, so as not to bring the eggs of various insects onto the boat and dry them for several hours on the deck, in the sun, so as not to rot. Clean and folded in a dark place, onions, garlic and pumpkin are stored for a long time. Cabbage can also satisfy your green needs for a long time if you gradually consume the outer leaves and remove the affected pleth.new. Zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and green beans, if kept under control, will last a week.
As for lettuce, it's best to do without it, because where (and if) you find it, it has most likely been washed in sewage and there is a risk of contracting hepatitis or salmonellosis.
Remember that when you venture beyond our sea, you will encounter many new delicacies: sweet potatoes and coconuts, taro roots, cassava, sweet chestnuts, jackfruit and durian. In short, a symphony of new forms and tastes. And, I must say that not everything can immediately come to your taste. We, for example, were disgusted by durian, an Asian fruit with yellow soft flesh and the smell of fried onions. Once we bought a few for filming and left in the cockpit so as not to stink the whole cabin. The smell is really unpleasant, so much so that throughout the Far Eastthere are signs prohibiting bringing durian to hotels, planes and buses!
After two days, as the durian was in the cockpit, getting used to its stench, we decided to try one. The taste is very unusual, reminiscent of fried onions flavored with vanilla, but very interesting. Since then, we always buy durian when we can. Unfortunately, it only lasts a few days.
In order to have fresh herbs on board and therefore a source of vitamins, it is not a bad idea to germinate the seeds. You can germinate soybeans, lentils, beans... The taste varies, but the final product is always fresh, crispy and rich in salts and vitamins. To do this, you can use special germinators, which, however, are not always affordable, or simple plastic jars and trays with absorbent paper at the bottom. The seeds are soaked in water for half a day, after which the excess water is drained. Seeds are washed a couple of times a day for three to fourdays. They are ready when a tender sprout begins to break through on one side and a spine on the other. They make a very fresh and appetizing salad.
In one of the villages in Tonga, we asked to sell us eggs. The children disappeared into the woods and after a while returned with half a dozen tiny white eggs, at the price of five dollars apiece! This is the price of a chicken. Another time we collected some eggs from frigate nests. We saw how the fishermen did it. They assured us that the bird would soon lay a new egg. Unfortunately, we have not learned to distinguish between fresh eggs, and those that we have collected, all were with a formed chick inside.
But in most countries, eggs are easy to buy, just as easy to store and cook.
The first thing to do when bringing them to the boat is to check them one by one and wash them. Of course, in Milin, Rome or Naples, such advice will seem like overkill, but it will be very useful when you find yourself far away. So far that you will find that the eggs are not all the same, they have defects, they are collected together with everything that has stuck to them and sometimes there are small cracks on the shell. In this case, they themselves will remind you of their existence!
The second operation: throw out the cardboard cassettes in which they were packed, if any. This is a nesting place for insects: cockroaches and others. Stock up at home with plastic containers in which eggs are sold in our country of well-being, and use them for many years. To keep the eggs longer, we lubricate them with a thin layer of Vaseline. Thus, the pores of the shell are closed and their shelf life is increased to several months, even in the heat. You just need to remember to periodically turn them so that the yolk does not come into contact with the shell. othera way to make the shell impenetrable, roll them in ashes and store them in it. Someone dips eggs for ten seconds in boiling water. The white film that forms inside this has the same effect as Vaseline or ash, but eggs protected in this way are more difficult to use when you need to separate the white from the yolk. And whenever you need to perform this operation in a hot climate, it is better to put the eggs in the refrigerator for an hour so that the protein, almost liquid from the heat, acquires its consistency.
We have been using egg powder for many years now. We have heard about it for a long time, but could not buy it anywhere. It was brought to us by a friend from Switzerland. One tablespoon is equivalent to one egg. In a closed jar, the powder can be stored for years. Whenever eggs need to be mixed with other ingredients, I use egg powder. Yes, dear friends, that scrambled egg and onion that you liked so much and the banana pie ... were cooked with egg powder.
If you wake up in the morning and cannot do without coffee with milk, there is good news for you: there is no problem with milk. Long-term milk is quite suitable for several months after the expiration of the shelf life and is stored even in the heat. The only problem is it takes up a lot of space. It can be replaced with concentrated milk in cans, which can also replace cream, and the volume will decrease by two-thirds. Even better, powdered milk. It is sold all over the world, in almost any country, in tin, hermetically sealedankh, and from a kilogram of powder you can get a large amount of milk of the desired density.
Cream, in cartons or jars, is also stored for a long time and takes up little space.
Coffee with milk would also be good with bread and butter and jam. It is better to store oil in jars and salty, it will not go rancid. And don't worry, it's not salty enough to ruin the flavor of the jam. And great for making sweets, you just don't have to add a pinch of salt to the dough anymore.
Cheeses, alas, if you are traveling away from Italy and France, are hard to find. Wrap fresh cheeses in cling film and keep in the refrigerator, and they will last longer and avoid the smell of the barracks in the boat. Aged cheeses will keep better when vacuum-packed, especially Parmesan. A little moisture is released from it, but it is stored for a long time.
There are cheeses that can handle heat well, such as cheddar, which is sold all over the world in cartons or jars, camembert or brie, in tins and thin slices. Less often, but in big cities there are feta and triangular curds. They don't taste much like cheese, but you can't have everything you want. Since we bought Camembert in a can in the Canary Islands, we didn’t have a refrigerator then. We ate it after about a year. It changed color, became pink, the taste was strange to say the least, but I assure you, as an alternative to coconuts and sweet potatoes, ohn was just amazing.
Sausages on a boat are always much tastier than on land. A piece of bread, a mug of sausage, a glass of beer during the night watch... but all these are Mare Nostrum's dreams. Sausages are not made outside the Mediterranean Sea, and many countries are prohibited from importing them. And these are not Muslim countries, in which, as it is not paradoxical, if you explain that this is for personal consumption, they will be allowed to be transported, but the USA and Australia, as well as the more liberal islands of Fiji. But if you manage to bring something on the boat, it's always a pleasure. Remember that for sausages, as well as cheeses, veryimportant is the time of transportation from the plane to the boat.
Returning to Eritrea by plane, I brought mascarpone, promised my friends to cook tiramisu.
It was February and the mascarpone arrived safe and sound in Asmara. But during the trip to Massawa on the winding road of the plateau, it deteriorated. On other occasions, a worm-speck was brought to the boat, but on many other occasions, vacuum-packed ham and pancetta brightened our lives for months when we were on a fixed diet of fish and rice.
Outside of big cities and supermarkets, meat is hard to find. And where it is, it is difficult to get the right piece, usually it is badly butchered and too hard. Sometimes it happens that some animal is given as a gift. In Madagascar, for example, a family of fishermen brought us a kid every week. After the first time, they guessed to bring it butchered! It was possible to buy a pig in Vanuatu and in exchange for the head, legs and entrails, the seller butchered it. In these cases, a refrigerator is simply necessary; without it, nothing can be saved.
On Flores, I cut three kilos of buffalo fillets. I made half and left the other for the next day. But the day was cloudy, the solar panels did not work well, and the next day, having opened the refrigerator, I realized that we would not have to eat the fillet soon. The problem is that from the moment of slaughter to sale, the meat is warm for too long. For example, do not buy meat at the market after ten in the morning, because if later, then it has already been in the heat for too long.
Fish on a sailboat need to be cleaned as soon as they are caught, which is not always easy, especially if you forgot to pull out the line when the wind got stronger. Store it in the refrigerator, in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, so everything else doesn't stink. If desired, it can be dried by cutting into thin strips and hanging on threads between the guys. Need dry weather day and night. It will be ready within two days. Or you can cook it in oil. I first boil the fish pieces in water flavored with bay leaf, black pepper and oregano. Having boiled, I remove the skin, bones and xryashchi and put tightly in glass jars, pour oil, rub well and put to sterilize in a pressure cooker with water for three fingers for half an hour after the whistle. Stored for years.
Wine, beer, alcoholic beverages, fresh and sea water
Wine on the boat is stored without problems when it comes to industrial, pasteurized wine. You can use the hold as a cellar by blocking the bottles with pieces of cardboard or in special containers. The same is true for other alcoholic drinks and bottled beer. Canned beer and canned sodas are best kept in a dry place. Humidity corrodes a thin layer of aluminum and there is a risk of filling the boat with the smell of sour beer or drinking a nauseating drink from which all the gas has come out.
Mineral water, whether carbonated or not, lasts for many months in sealed bottles. The same bottles can be used for future stocks. It is only important to rinse the bottle with a weak disinfectant solution before each filling and let it drain well. Bottles should also be treated before collecting rainwater. Fresh water supplies for drinking when sailing in hot climates should be taken at the rate of two liters per person per day. Sea water, however, can replace or supplement fresh water at different points in life on board. She can useUse when cooking, partially replacing fresh water and salt. Pasta, for example, requires one part sea water and two fresh water.
Lastly, try to keep a bottle of gin, rum and maybe a Martini or Campari on board. You will need them to celebrate special sailing moments.
Seasonings have an excellent property, to give even
monotonous food some variety. Of course, living here, where supermarkets are like a symphony orchestra and local markets are like an artist's palette, it may seem strange, but there are places in the world where you can find only coconuts, sweet potatoes and bananas (I think I have already mentioned this). And if you have not taken care to stock something special on the boats, you are guaranteed to be tired of the monotony of food.
Sage, bay leaf, oregano as well as thyme and marjoram do not exist outside the Mediterranean, but they are easy to bring from home in a dry state. Another way to preserve, such as sage, rosemary, and bay leaves, is to grind them fresh, all together or separately, and add fine salt. It turns out flavored salt, it is enough to sprinkle fish with it, and already a completely different music.
Also, for a variety of tastes, there are many ingredients that are easy to get and easy to store: isanchovy paste, ketchup, tabasco, mustard, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, capers, olives, olive pate, cucumbers and other pickled vegetables, soy sauce, herb cubes , anchovies in oil, raisins, various dried fruits, vanilla and bread yeast, dry brewer's yeast, fish glue, potato starch, powdered sugar, concentrated milk. And finally, you can not do without traditional spices: pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, curry, saffron and red pepper.
Fresh crispy bread, a thing almost unknown outside the Mediterranean. There you will sometimes find unleavened bread and more often brick bread. The quality and taste of this bread varies from country to country, but is always better than nothing.
The ideal place to store it is at the bottom of the refrigerator, packed in two plastic bags, one inside the other. So it can be stored for up to two weeks, after which it is covered with mold of various colors. If the refrigerator is too small, bread can be dried in the sun, then packaged in paper and plastic bags and stacked in cabinets. This removes some of the moisture that promotes mold growth. To keep bread really long, you need to ask the baker to wait for it. We always did that at the Vecchietto, but afterand Sri Lanka, we had to put together fifty loaves, sliced, fried and piled in a heap, abandoned this practice.
The alternative is to bake your own bread. Everyone has their own recipes and their own secrets. At Vecchietto I baked bread twice a week. I kneaded the dough for at least half an hour, set it to reach the sun and it worked out well. However, now, looking at how women in the villages do it, I found that it is not at all important to knead the dough for a long time. It is enough to mix flour, water, salt and yeast, and always add a pinch of sugar. It turns out great.
And finally, being in the most remote French colonies, you find a pleasant surprise, hot and crispy baguettes, in themselves capable of raising morale to unprecedented heights. It was the baguette that greeted us on the other boats when we arrived at the Marquises. It seemed to be just a mirage.
Now that the food supplies have been made, we need to protect them from the encroachments of the sanitary services and cockroaches. Nothing can be done about the first. As we have already said, in Muslim countries it is forbidden to import pork, into the United States sausages, dairy products and fresh vegetables and fruits, and after the problems with mad cow disease and foot and mouth disease, all meat products are forbidden to be imported. However, the palm of intolerance belongs to Australia. There officials and Quaranteen are the first to board and check the boat for fresh vegetables, dairymeat products, eggs and any seeds capable of sprouting. All these products are confiscated, placed in a black bag and subsequently burned. The cost of the operation, which is obligatory for payment, is 140 Australian dollars. If you arrive at night, after hours or on public holidays, the fee is doubled.
Arriving for the first time in Australia, ten years ago, we knew about this and by the time we arrived, we tried to use up everything that was forbidden to be imported. However, we still had a decent amount of Australian-made milk powder bought on Salomon, still sealed. It was also burned, because the very fact of the product leaving the sacred land leads to its infection!
But not only the sanitary authorities encroach on products. Once in Kenya, we did the bottom treatment, leaning the boat against the pier at low tide. After a few weeks, the boat was full of small, reddish cockroaches of the species Blattella germanica. They were everywhere: in the hold, in cabinets, in lockers. In the evenings we watched with horror their processions in search of food. We didn't know what to do. The answer came over the radio:
- Try boric acid.
Boric acid is sold in pharmacies around the world as a white powder similar to bicarbonate. You need to mix it with flour, in a ratio of 50 to 50 and place it in small small containers, such as corks from plastic bottles. We placed these baits at strategic points: kitchen cabinets, drawers where fruits and vegetables were stored, in places where insects were most likely to appear. Fifteen days later, there were no more cockroaches on the boat, and since that time we have been placing such baits on the boat all the time for preventive purposes. And we don't see more cockroachesate, except that when our friend, Franco Pace, brought a souvenir to the boat, unable to withstand it in quarantine on the deck, and then found two huge cockroaches among the clothes.
Most cockroaches get on board with food or other objects: old cardboard, especially food packaging boxes, can contain many eggs between the corrugations. Fruits and vegetables may contain adult insects and must be scrupulously controlled and washed. Any object made of straw, wood, leather, a potential breeding ground for insects. Before bringing them into the cabin, leave them on deck for 24 hours by placing a boric acid trap inside or spraying them with an insecticidal spray.
Boric acid is harmless to humans and does not harm boat surfaces. I do not know how it destroys cockroaches, but I assure you that it works. Unlike mice that gnaw on electrical wiring, cockroaches do not harm the boat or people. Every canteen or food warehouse cannot do without them. If their presence doesn't bother you, you can choose to cohabitate with them.
Years ago, we helped the French navigate a boat through the Panama Canal. The transition lasts two days, and for two days we watched the processions of cockroaches on all surfaces of the boat, and the worst thing is that they were any toys of their four-year-old daughter.