February 23, 2010
Musha Cay, Exumas
It has been 12 days since I stepped foot into a grocery store. Granted, I had a butter and cheese delivery at Bitter Guana Cay, but still. Last night I used up half my potatoes, one of my precious onions, and 2 of the 4 plantains. I left the half cabbage, 5 carrots, and 4 sour oranges (what the heck do you do with sour oranges anyway?) for next time. We have limes left for 2 more nights of sundowners. Before too long the only fresh vegetables I’ll have is (bad grammar on purpose) garlic – and those of you who know me know how long THAT is likely to last!
Before I get into a discussion on food, let me clarify the “delivery” thing from the second sentence of this blog. Because you should know that we are not talking about a white van and Amazon.com delivery stuff. There we were in Bitter Guana Cay, Starbound anchored off of our starboard quarter. In comes Dreamseeker, a sweet Tayana 37 with Kevin and Karen aboard. About the time I am talking to Osprey (down in Black Point, all of 3 miles away) about the need for aforementioned dairy products, along putts Kevin in his dinghy. “I am heading to Staniel Cay,” he says. “Do you need anything?” Umm, yes, please. And the mailboat has just come in so the needed “anythings” might even be there! Black Point, to the south, was OUT of butter and cheese (Osprey checked for me). Staniel Cay, about 3 miles to the north, had them. Thank you, Kevin!
Out here, there are no fast food joints or pizza places to call. Chinese food is the first thing Julian wants us to get when we are back Stateside. We cook 3 meals a day, every day, from stores we have on board or can source in the stores (when we are near THOSE). Our fridge is the size of a (really funny-shaped) medium cooler, and we have no freezer. The grocery store I last frequented had 2 rooms, maybe 300 square feet of space; the one before that even smaller. And they carried things like motor oil and fishing gear next to the canned milk and pigeon peas. Very, very cool – and very, very different for typical American consumers.
Don’t, though, get visions of canned spinach and Spam (sorry to Spam lovers). How about a couple of days of menus for your gastronomic pleasure!
Breakfast is usually toast or muffins, sometimes waffles or pancakes. Sometimes it is eggs, or cereal.
Lunch – yesterday was quesadillas, today chicken salad and rice and beans. Tomorrow will be leftover pizza (if I don’t get it for breakfast first)
Dinner – yesterday was a fried food bonanza, with fried potatoes, fried plantains, and fried sausage (too windy for the grill) – notice anything missing? The day before was grilled fish with tortillas, rice and beans, and salad (I am not a completely pathetic mom, I promise). Tonight was pizza, 3 kinds. Tomorrow? Fresh fish? Lobster? Beef stew? Pasta with garlic and beans? Chicken enchiladas? Hmm.
Where do the bread, and tortillas, and pizza come from? My own two hands (helped along by Maddie and Julian). The only complaint (other than ABC is not down the street – we all miss the pain au chocolat) is that my family eats the bread so FAST. I swear, I have to make bread about every other day. Which is fine, really – all we have out here is TIME (which, honestly, is the hardest part about making bread) – except when it is lunchtime and Bottomless Pit (aka Julian) is moaning about his gut pains and we had mac and cheese yesterday and ate ALL of dinner last night (no leftovers) and – whoops, the bread is rising and will not be ready for lunch, and Ritz crackers and peanut butter don’t fill anyone up . . . life is so exhausting.
Milk is powdered. Nido, to be exact ( a full-fat powdered milk not available in the US – tastes great as long as the water is COLD when you mix). Butter (eat your hearts out, seriously) is New Zealand or Irish butter (the kind that costs the WORLD in the US – here it is like buying Land’O’Lakes when it is on sale . . .) Cheese is bulk-packaged New Zealand cheddar. Eggs . . . mostly powdered, so we only have them for breakfast (as in fried or scrambled) when we have been recently to a store.
Much of what we eat we have carried with us from the US, other than fresh veggies and fruit, the occasional fresh meat (or fish!), and Commonwealth goodies that are amazing and budget-friendly. We do eat (commercially) canned meat (chicken and beef); I “canned” (pressure-jarred) my own chili and chicken enchilada filling, ground beef and meatball sauce for spaghetti, before we left – we have eaten a lot of it and are not dead yet. It’s amazing how much of a treat a grilled chicken wing can be (bless you, Henry!)
Cravings for all of us include fresh fruit (apples and bananas), endless salad, hamburgers and french fries. Maddie would add fresh milk and chocolate croissants; Julian would chime in for General Tso’s Chicken from his favorite Chinese place. Jeremy – a thick steak.
Me? Probably the dishwasher. Oh well.
PS. I am realizing, on rereading this blog, that there is a LOT of cruising vocabulary in here. Dinghy, mailboat. How do you talk to someone 3 miles away? (working cell phones and Calypso’s budget do not belong in the same sentence.) Commonwealth. Pigeon peas. I guess I know what a future blog might hold!