Boating season is starting up and I was thinking about the foods I need to have on board. No one likes a soggy sandwich that’s been sitting in a cooler for hours and depending on the kind of boat you have you may find my suggestions below helpful.
My sailboat has a full galley including a refrigerator. This means I can extend the number of days I can be away from the real world. I have all the comforts of home…beds, DVD player, water (both hot and cold), full galley, plus shower and more importantly a toilet with holding tank, which of course has nothing to do with food and everything to do with being female. I’m just excited and looking forward to the weekend. It’ll be the first on the sailboat this season…I can’t wait. Two more weeks and it’s the wakeboard boat.
Now, the wakeboard boat has different requirement. It’s a day boat and there better be floating toilets somewhere nearby… I have no galley, no fridge…I have a cooler or actually two coolers. The regular hard plastic one we all know, which I fill with drinks of many types and colors and a second cooler, which is on rollers and soft.
Okay, lets talk for a moment about how I keep the coolers cool. The drink cooler is filled with crushed ice. There just is no way around it, really cold drinks (read beer) truly needs to be ice cold on a hot lake. I know, I know…don’t drink and drive… Yes, it’s important to be a sober skipper and the water and heat seem to make those brews hit harder and faster. So if you’re going to drink on the water be sure to be at anchor and have plenty of time between brews and drive time.
So, how do I keep my food cold? I discovered these little packs a few years ago and they are wonderful. A bit expensive but well worth the cost, they’re made in Australia. They come as flat little sheets that you soak in water and when they puff up, you freeze them. They last all day in my soft cooler even in triple digit heat. I put one on the bottom line the sides and then one on the top. They’ve been great! They don’t drip and leak out of the cooler and you can use them over and over. Again, well worth the price. An added benefit is that you can use them as an ice pack when that hot new trick you try to throw doesn’t work…or you can heat them in the microwave for those sore muscles.
So for this particular section I’m only going to talk about how I pack for the wakeboard boat. My husband and I were late bloomers, meaning we had our first, only and last child very late in life. A gratefully received blessing! We constantly have to deal with comments like, “Oh, isn’t that nice you have your granddaughter with you.” She doesn’t much care for it either but it’s a fact of our life. When she was little my husband used to think I could give her a bottle and snack and we’d be good to go for a couple of hours…not…any Mom can tell you that kids eat constantly. Ours has now entered the teenager years, bottomless pit!
Find a cheep outlet for plastic zip type bag. I use large amounts of the sandwich type and a few gallon ones. Okay, you have to do some prep work but if you’re going for several days it’s so worth the effort and it makes it easier on the home front too.
Okay, here’s the list:
Sandwich meat: ham, turkey, bologna, etc. Left over thin sliced tri tip steak b-b-q is great! Or any combo you like.
Sliced onions, cut in half so you have long strips, red or your favorite type
Grape or cherry tomatoes, whole
Your favorite cheese sliced in 1-1 ½ inch wide pieces we like havarti with dill sometimes it’s a variety of cheeses
Small bag (or big if you’re going for a long time) salad greens
Guacamole in plastic container
Sliced into thin strips, yellow, red, orange or green bell pepper
Sandwich type (long thin ones) dill or sweet pickles
And then one saved ‘squeeze’ type bottle for mayo/mustard. I buy a bottle of Dijon mustard/mayo mix and then use it over and over through the season. I just refill with my own Dijon mustard and mayo and shake well.
A pack of burrito size tortillas, in zip bag
Variety of fruit, granola, chips, cookies, candy and trail mix.
Use plastic zip bags to store more than you think you’ll need for the day. It’s amazing how fast this stuff goes! I like to put each group of things in separate zip bags, i.e. meats, cheese, etc. and then group them into the gallon size bags for easy grabbing. Pack into cooler. Remember the meats, dairy and mayo mixes go in the bottom…cold moves down. I usually have a ‘boat bag’ for things that don’t require a cooler.
Okay, you leave the dock shortly after breakfast. You’ve been on the water for about hummmm…15 minutes when the kids start in with, “I’m hungry, what’s there to eat?” Pull the first ten items in the list.
Here’s how to assemble:
Take one tortilla and lay it on the cooler top or your lap or whatever. Shake and then twist open the squeeze bottle of mayo/mustard mix. Squirt a line of this from top to bottom of tortilla, carefully fold the tortilla over and ‘mush’ the mix around the tortilla. Be careful not to tear the tortilla. Then in the middle of the tortilla start laying your ingredients as per kid’s choice. Use a plastic knife to spread guacamole if needed. Once you have layered your ingredients one on top of the other, ending with greens (always do ‘flat’ stuff first followed by ‘fluffy’) fold one side of the tortilla over almost in half and then slide it back over the filling until everything is slightly compact. Fold the bottom up about one-eighths of the way up and finish rolling up the side. Now you have a sandwich burrito style. You don’t have to cut it, wrap it and best of all there’s nothing to throw away as you eat the whole thing. It doesn’t dry out and it doesn’t get mushy like bread does.
My daughter and her friends can eat 3-4 of these a day between breakfast and dinner. They use up so much energy tubing and wake boarding that they need those extra calories. They are easy to make and there’s no clean up really. Everything goes back into the bags and then the cooler. When you’re done boating, just toss in the fridge and save for the next day. I started doing these decades ago and everyone we boat with has picked it up. Everyone gets what he or she want on theirs, no one wastes and anything left over can be used the next day. Unlike the soggy sandwich that ultimately gets thrown out. Which makes my wallet very happy.
Have fun, Eat well on your boat!
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