I have just finished my third “mother” duty of this leg. From 9am to 9am
the following day, one person from each shift is in charge of the kitchen.
When I say kitchen, I mean the tiny space in the middle of the boat that
has a cooker in it, a sink and storage for a few pots and pans. A sliver
of space that is difficult for two people to pass in is the working area,
with a worktop one side. That is all we have to prepare meals for twenty
plus people three times a day.
So, I am in charge of the menus, shopping, packing the food and putting it
safely in the boat.
So if anything is missing or we can’t find it, it is my fault. But we have a “no blame” culture on this boat. So even though it is my fault, nobody says so! I have named my menu plan “Ready Steady Cook”. Whoever’s turn it is to prepare the meals for the day has the bag of ingredients and a recipe for lunch and dinner as a suggestion. If anyone wants to deviate, I welcome it. Makes it far less repetitive. There is a very basic larder with standard items – nowhere near as many as you would have at home – and a good selection of herbs and spices.
Some have made some fantastic meals – some have made just what has been
suggested. Both are good. Breakfast is usually just porridge and toast
and cereal. Some people can make porridge better than others though!!
Some weigh it out precisely – others, like me, just bung it in. As long as
the end result is edible, any way works.
So, my last mother duty was with Sergej, the Crazy Russian (his words, not
mine). And what a pleasure it was to work with him. Very polite, helpful
and eager to learn. We started with lunch, which was macaroni cheese. A
favourite of everyone on board, this recipe has lasted since the beginning.
Everyone makes it slightly differently, adds slightly different ingredients, and so it always tastes different to what we had last week. This time was no different – Sergej put his own stamp on it. Although when I introduced it as a “Russian Macaroni Cheese” he said if it was, it would have barbed wire in. Hmm.
Dinner was Indian Korma and rice. Also a big hit. We have a garlic
intolerent on this leg, so shopping in Capetown was a bit tricky trying to
find all ingredients that did not have garlic in. Harder than you would
think! But this mix didn’t, plus we added a few spices of our own. We
also made a pudding – a rarity, and usually only on a Sunday. I think
Sergei wanted to impress, and he certainly did. We have some freeze dried
apple pie. Novel. It tasted delicious, although I am sure if I made it at
home I may not even eat it. It went down very well with the custard I made
– makes all the difference.
Mother duty also means that you get a full nights sleep. When you have
finished washing up from dinner, you get to sleep all the way until 4.30am
the following morning. Amazing! But at 5am you need to be ready for the
busiest shift of the lot. Breakfast!
The ongoing watch is woken at 5am for the 6am shift, and the off going watch will be ready for their breakfast at 6am sharp before heading to bed. If bread has been made the previous day – which it had – there is toast! Sergej had never made bread before, and was keen to make this his first time. He made such a good job of it (I think the squirt or two of golden syrup in the dough was the magic ingredient!) that his bread was deemed to be the best of the leg so far. Certainly beats the mouldy stuff we were having a week or so ago.
I was in charge of the “bung it in” porridge, so everything went tickety
boo. All hands were fed on time, with plenty of food, so everyone was
happy. Last time for breakfast I had made pancakes – Val had brought some
maple syrup with her, so that was a great hit. It was a pancake mix that
just needed water, so really easy to make. It is most appreciated when
there is something just a little different to the norm. I think I am
making this sound too much like Master Chef. The food is good for on this
boat only – anywhere else and I think most of it would be sent back. No
choice here apart from eat it or leave it.
Meanwhile, on the night watch that I missed last night, port watch were
having a “Poetry Off” competition. Wendo was most put out – that was far
too cultural for her boat. Until we heard some of the entries. I don’t
think cultural would be the best way of describing the results. The only
thing that I would say they had in common with a poem was that they rhymed. The less said about that the better!
Not having the plethora of food that I am used to at home is contributing
to my shrinking bottom, I feel. My trousers are positively baggy around
the butt area. Or have they just stretched? Certainly hope not. No
scales here to check every day if that odd half a pound has come off. I
will get either a good or bad surprise when I get somewhere and can weigh
We are at present still in our “Ocean Sprint”. It could actually be called
an Ocean Dawdle. We have very little wind, and the winning time passed us
many hours ago. Just depends on the conditions when you get to the start
line and the finish line. This is not to be our time. It also means that
our arrival into Albany is stretching further into the distance. A couple
of days ago the 24th November was looking possible. Now, I think the 25th
may be optimistic. The arrival window starts on the 22nd – how I wish that
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Bridget only has basic email facilities on the boat. Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul keevil!
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