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Monday, April 02, 2012

The Challenge Of Cooking In Motion

This week's Boat Galley article looks at yet another difference between cooking on a boat and cooking ashore...

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

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 past two weeks, I’ve looked at some of the differences from cooking ashore - but today’s topic might be the biggest difference!

This week’s topic: The Motion of the Boat...
Everything you do is affected by the motion of the boat - some days more than others!

Things like standing (or needing a hand to hold on with), pots sliding on the stove, bowls and cutting boards sliding on the counter, bottles tipping over and holding a knife are all affected by the motion of the boat. Then there are the stowage issues:  produce-bruising, pans and plates clanking in lockers, items breaking or becoming missiles. It's all a challenge!

The first time out is a huge learning curve, as is the first bit of rough weather. But it's really not that bad once you get the hang of a few coping techniques...
  • You have to always remember that the boat is going to move and think about the consequences for anything you do. With time, this comes naturally. 
  • Always assume the boat is going to move erratically and use stove gimbals, pot restraints and the like no matter what the conditions are. Even in a calm anchorage, a fishing boat can come flying by and put up a big wake. 
  • Never set anything down where it's not restrained, particularly things that could cause injury if they fell (knives, boiling water) or could break (anything in glass). 
  • Use non-slip materials liberally - cutting boards with non-slip edges, knives with non-slip handles, dishes with non-slip materials on the bottom, and so on. 
  • Try to sit down to work when you can. And when you can't, find ways to brace yourself so that if the boat rolls, you won't lose your footing. This is particularly important when doing something that could result in an injury, such as using a knife or pouring boiling water.
The first time I fixed a meal underway (okay, it was just tuna sandwiches), it really seemed strange to cook in a kitchen that was moving around - sort of like the fun house at the county fair. After a few days, I didn’t notice it except when I’d forget to secure something and it would slide away from me - and after a little while longer, even that was a pretty rare occurrence!

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!

You can also see several previous boat galley articles here on the Daily Boater.

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