Monday, March 19, 2012

The Boat Galley: Limited Space

This week's Boat Galley article looks at an issue that most boater face - space, or lack of it...

Guest blog by Carolyn Shearlock
Carolyn Shearlock, author of The Boat Galley, appears weekly on the Daily Boater with tips for getting the most out of your boat's kitchen.

Photo: Carolyn Shearlock, The Boat Galley

If you're new to cooking on a boat -- whether it's on a friend's boat, or you're looking to buy a boat, or are thinking of chartering one - you might be a little overwhelmed at the thought of turning out great meals aboard. Over the next few weeks, I’ll look at some of the biggest differences from cooking ashore and ways to cope with those challenges that will make the transition a little easier.

This week’s topic: Limited Space...

Dealing with limited space in the galley
It's not just limited space for stowing provisions, there's also limited space for food prep, for pans and utensils, fewer burners on the stove, less room in the oven or maybe even no oven, and a smaller sink. Things can end up in inconvenient places.

My ways to cope:
  • Have multi-function things. This is obvious with things like a can opener that also has a bottle opener on it, but how about using a wine bottle as a rolling pin? And buying basic ingredients that can be used in lots of different recipes, instead of single-purpose prepared foods? 
  • Don't give space to things you don't need. For example, throw away the cereal box on the dock - it takes up more space than the bag inside. Buy boneless meat or bone it before freezing it. One caveat, though: sometimes those things that seem to be just "taking up space" are actually protecting something from breakage, so don't discard things without thinking about their purpose.
  • Plan ahead for space limitations - if you only have two burners on the stove, don't plan a menu that requires three.  Don't buy a turkey that's bigger than the oven - or cut it into pieces so it will fit. If you don't have an oven, look at getting an Omnia Stove Top Oven - a small special pan that will let you bake on a burner. 
  • If the location or size of something is a problem, change it. Sometimes reorganizing is easy; sometimes it takes more work. After four months aboard, I knew that the tiny double sink aboard Que Tal wasn't working - I couldn't even fit a plate in it on edge diagonally. We tore it out and had a single-bowl sink made to fit in the same opening. A day's work and $150 made a HUGE difference in how I felt about working in the galley.
To be sure, there are challenges in cooking aboard - but without challenges there are no accomplishments.

Carolyn Shearlock is author of The Boat Galley, with over 280 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too – plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers!

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