Mealtimes are favorite times on Fezywig. Despite our daily proximity there is nothing like food to bring us face to face and heart to heart. The sun rises before we do, so we breakfast inside to avoid squinting at each other. Lunch is a little more scattered between school and errands. Erik proposed dinners at sunset so we can enjoy the shade, the breeze, and the view. That easily makes it the best meal of the day. Fortunately, everything tastes better after a day in the sun because there have definitely been some culinary adjustments.
Our stomachs are shrinking. We attribute this to the French. I know we mention them a lot on this blog. We are in their world. Fezywig came with a full set of dishes…all of them much smaller than the American sizes we were used to. If you cup both of your hands together, you will have a solid estimate of the size of our breakfast bowls. As it turns out, this is usually plenty. Our tiny set of mugs hold about 1/3 the hot chocolate of a standard U.S. mug. The same can be said of the entire kitchen…even compared to our NYC apartment galley.
We have a tiny oven that can manage one 9x13 pan OR two bread bans. The rack must be on the lowest setting though, or the rising bread will hit the top of the oven. A loaf of bread is about $6.50, unless you can get to a local bodega called Chinese stores because they are all owned by entrepreneurial Chinese, then you can get a loaf of white bread for $1.50 plus the price of gasoline for the outboard. Either way, bread has a very short shelf life in this climate, so I’m baking a lot of bread these days. Oven thermometers have all been too big for our miniature version so we bake by smell. So far, so good.
The stovetop boasts two burners which have happily generated many a meal for us. I have a strained relationship with our stainless steel skillet. It is requires a lot of coddling before and after meals. Even with TLC, it still occasionally scorches a meal or significantly delays our dinner plans. Yes, I am outsourcing responsibility to an “inanimate” object. When all goes smoothly, this skillet can turn out enough pancakes for everyone in about 45 minutes. I’m getting used to making them two at a time, but fondly recall my home skillet that can handle six at a go.
We have no freezer and are currently estranged from our refrigerator. For reasons beyond my comprehension, the fridge is set up on it’s own electrical system with a separate compressor which only runs when the port engine is running. Guess which engine we’ve been having trouble with for the past two weeks? Yep, so we don’t rely on our fridge. We buy milk in boxes, and butter in cans, and generally steer clear of cheese and meat.
I brought one kitchen item with me: a Blendtec blender. Any sailor will be rolling their eyes at this point. I knew nothing about boat electricity when I packed my bags. I imagined hummus, nut butters, soups, shakes, sauces, etc. I was even planning to use it for making sunscreen. We need a lot of that around here. I used my blender every day before Fezywig. Now, it resides in the useless electronics graveyard under my bed.
One kitchen item I wish I had: a basic cookbook. I brought a few favorite recipes and planned to rely on google for the rest. Ha, ha, ha!! See. I can laugh at myself.
So, what do we eat?
Dry oatmeal with sugar, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon
Pancakes and syrup
Peanut butter sandwiches
Pasta with tomato based sauce
Pasta with Parmesan based sauce
Bean soups (black beans, lentils, kidney beans)
Rice with beans and/or vegetables
Ramen with canned vegetables
Potato soup (so much butter makes is super delicious)
Pizza, tonight, we’re celebrating our engine-repair marina stay with some cheese
Spoonful of peanut butter
Popcorn from the stovetop, no microwave
Spoonful of peanut butter
Spoonful of Swiss Miss hot chocolate powder #classy
Hot chocolate -homemade and purchased, we get chilly in the wind
Sour cherry cake
Chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate Bliss dip
Any combination of sugar, butter, and cocoa powder in desperate times
Corn chips and salsa (both quite pricey here)
Juice or Soda
Most versatile vegetables
Canned green beans
Lastly, I’ve learned here that food zealots are a first world phenomenon, locavore, whole foods, paleo, grass-fed, free range, anti-GMO, raw, nourishing traditions, and every other food trend that has ever turned my head doesn’t really have a place here where everything but coconuts seem to be imported, prices are high, and perishables do so rapidly. I do my best to provide variety. I let go of my prejudice against white flour and canned vegetables. I add Country Time to make the local water palatable to my children. And I bow my head in deep gratitude over ever single meal.