Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Why sailors prefer "instant"

Takista moored at a marina east of Bilbao whose name escapes me (all those Basque Xs and Zs). Brothers Bonden Minor and Bonden Minimus, Takista’s owner, are fiddling with a recalcitrant jib.

COOKING AT SEA The phrase is euphemistic. When you’re really at sea – and especially in the Bay of Biscay – culinary aspirations don’t really extend beyond applying heat.

After we left this forgotten marina for Hendaye I helmed for the first time. As a treat Minimus went below and did mugs of instant coffee all round. Later, after my iron-set knuckles had been pried from the wheel with a crowbar, I decided to return the favour. I knew that the hob was on gimbals and that there were clamps for the kettle. What could go wrong?

Yachts at sea move. They move to extremes. Worst of all they move unpredictably. Never mind the clamped kettle. What about the unsecured mugs made, thank God, out of Melamine? The answer seemed to be to wedge them into the sink for the terrifying moment when the kettle made its journey across the galley. A journey which revealed that the cook (me) too was unsecured. My eventual position, with feet at least 2 m apart, recalled a technique called “chimneying” occasionally employed when I was still flexible enough to be rock-climber.

On a later leg of our holiday, a long overnight hop from Cap Breton to Arcachon, I’d graduated to tinned stew and making toast. A giant step.


Plutarch said...

No cheese on toast, a la Aubrey and Maturin?

Julia said...

I've always imagined they had a mini raclette set for their cheese...

Sinks are great for food prep storage on boats - they contain cups and their spills perfectly!

Barrett Bonden said...

What Jack and Stephen had was Preserved Killick, surely the most inventive name for a cook ever devised.