A year ago, back when Brian was looking at potential sailboats, I decided that if I was going to be able to live on a sailboat, then it better have a descent-sized galley. I would be happy with nothing less, as cooking is, in my opinion, one of the more pleasurable necessities of everyday living. (I discovered this when I lived in Italy.)
Now anyone who has been on a sailboat knows that, generally speaking, they do NOT have spacious kitchens. Obviously this depends greatly on the size of the boat, but after living in a house or apartment, the galley on an affordable boat was going to seem small. I knew from the beginning that there would be frustrations, which is why the layout of the kitchen became of the utmost importance to me. If cooking was going to be a hassle, then I knew that I wouldn’t bother with it very often, especially not when I came home hungry after a long day of work. Not only would I be spending more money in restaurants, but it would also mean missing out on something that I loved doing and a task that helps me to relieve stress.
Lucky for me, my boyfriend tends to humor me. The layout of our galley is such that the kitchen takes up almost the entire right side of the interior and is pretty much the prominent feature of the inside of the boat. If you count the size of the table, we may even have more counter space than the last house we were renting. Pretty remarkable, considering the size of the boat. This arrangement does have its own set of drawbacks, for instance we don’t really have anywhere to lounge on the boat (unless we crawl into our bed or rig up the hammock up top), but tonight was one of those nights when I was really able to enjoy and be thankful for this feature of our boat.
It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed cooking meals on the boat before. On the contrary, the first time Brian and I ever cooked dinner on this boat was during our first (and so far only) overnight sailing trip, and it was one of our best dinners. But back then we hadn’t moved onto the boat yet, and therefore didn’t have the same amount of “junk” aboard. I have found that cooking on the boat can be one of the more enjoyable boat-living experiences, however, the key to a successful and stress-free meal is starting out with a relatively clean boat.
Because of the tight space, it is important to be able to pull out all of the ingredients before beginning to cook. This is not something I was in the habit of doing before, but is the only way to do it on the boat. It is necessary to do this because part of the counter space is also the refidgerator door. There are multiple times during the preparation of a meal on the boat, when I realize that I need something else from the refrigerator, which is usually, at that point, covered by a cutting board, a medley of vegetables, and/or spices and sauces. (It helps if you can juggle!)
The other great inconvenience with cooking on the boat revolves around the fact that we still do not have any running water on the boat. This means anytime that I want to boil water, I have to climb out of the boat (did I mention the stairs aren’t finished yet) and fill my pot on the dock. It also means that if I get something on my hands (or anywhere else), I can’t immediately wash them. AND it means that we have to do all of the dishes in a bucket on the dock. I know, I know, it’s just like camping, but I really hate doing the dishes on the dock because I usually end up cold and wet.
Let me reiterate that I really do love cooking, and tonight was a particularly enjoyable cooking experience for me. Not that I made anything particularly special, just one of my usual pastas with a tomato cream sauce that Brian calls “Lara Sauce.” I guess I just love to cook with the windows open, some nice music playing, and the smell of onions and garlic filling the boat, especially when it is dark outside and the dim yellow lamp light is reflecting around the cabin.
Tonight Brian and I took our bowls of pasta and our red wine and baguette up top. We sat outside next to the rippling water and talked about our many plans for the future. What turmoil we put ourselves in when we try to sort out the puzzles of our lives all at once. But guess what, at the end of it all, I saw a shooting star.
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