More often than not, we find ourselves in remote regions with no grocery stores. Occasionally, we find stores that are little more than a convenience shop with ketchup, baked beans, and pasta. We consider ourselves lucky when we are in countries like Dominica, where there aren't many grocery stores, but the local produce grown and sold at the weekly market is truly a marvel. So we rely heavily on catching fish to supply us with protein and healthy Omegas. We troll everytime we are offshore, aiming to catch mahi, one of the most sustainable pelagic fish. We also use a hawaiian sling to spearfish for lobster and reef fish (usually Snapper or Grouper when its the right season). Every meal we treasure because of the hard work that went into putting it on the table.
Shopping the local markets
Before we leave the US or a major port of call, such as Tahiti or New Zealand, we stockpile our pantry with as many of our favorite treats as we can store. We assume we will find things like rice, sugar, and flour in most places, so instead we stockpile specialty treats like Nori seaweed for making sushi rolls, pickled ginger, or more fun grains like Israeli couscous or grits. Shopping in the weekly local produce markets is one of my favorite activities - its a great chance to interact with the locals and learn the tactics and strategies for getting the fresh goods (sometimes you need to arrive as early as 4AM and meet the mailboat on the dock, before everything gets picked over). The best part about endeavoring to eat local is that it forces you to learn how to cook with the local ingredients and make local dishes, like fried malanga fritters or salted cod. We love hanging to forgo American hamburgers as we attempt to discern which local sea urchins aren't poisonous to eat.
Every meal we make is a bit like an iron chef. You poke around in the pantry, find an assortment of odd ingredients that don't seem to form any sort of recipe, and somehow you need to turn it into a meal for 6 people. My favorite meals have all been on Vandal because you end up combining flavors, textures and unusual ingredients together out of necessity. We once had our dear friend Chris Golden aboard, who spends much of the year in Madagascar living in the bush -- he had no trouble at all whipping up incredible curries using all sorts of odd scraps onboard!
Recipes from Around the World
Cacao infused banana bread (Dominica, by Sybil Allen-Jones)
Zesty Waitukubuli Stew (Dominica, by Sybil Allen-Jones)
Baked Fish in Banana Leaves (Dominica, by Sybil Allen-Jones)
Avocado Mousse (Dominica, by Sybil Allen-Jones)
OUr Favorite Food Blog Inspiration
Easy Peasy Alchemy
Written by Gunboat Captains Travis and Ana Schor-McGarry, and environmental educator Dylan McGarry, these talented sailors and vegan chefs, have figured out the most creative recipes to make incredible food using the sparse ingredients sailors find in these island markets. And best of all, they are high powered in nutrition and energy (they are vegan triathletes!)
Check out how they make Carrot Coco Soup by the Family Halbertsma
- Juice 1,5 kilo of scraped carrots
- Add 250 grams of coconut milk (I use the organic pure coconut milk)
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
- a piece of fresh (peeled) ginger (half a thumb)
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 tbsp of powdered (cubes) bouillon (if you cannot get that, use stock or salt)
- Process in the food processor until all is blended
- Serve warm or cold with fresh cilantro on top.