Efficient Eats: The Art of Enjoying Food Aboard Your Boat

Your boat likely doesn’t have enough space for a large refrigerator, but you can still have a good meal.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY—Welcome to the third edition of The Log’s Nautical Banter column. This time around The Log’s editor, Parimal M. Rohit chats with OC Weekly’s Sales Director, Kevin Davis about having a good meal aboard your boat despite the limited space to store food.

Kevin is a liveaboard at Long Beach’s Shoreline Marina. Parimal and Kevin continue to have explorative discussions about key boating topics. Do you have a topic you’d like to have them discuss and deliberate? If so please email your suggestions to parimal@thelog.com.

Parimal M. Rohit: Hi Kevin! So, let’s talk about eating on a boat. What makes meal preparation so different on a boat, compared to a kitchen in an apartment or house?

Kevin Davis: Eating on a boat is a lot different than eating at home, because, again, you’re dealing with space. You don’t have a lot of space to keep a lot of items. We find ourselves eating a lot more fresh fruits and meats. We don’t have that large of a freezer area to keep things. You have to be smart about when you’re going to the grocery store and what you’re buying. It’s easy to overbuy and let stuff spoil.

PMR: So are you shopping more often? Are you eating out more often?

KD: We shop more often. We eat out, because we don’t have the expense [of other things] with us, but we don’t eat out as much as a lot of people think we might. We cook a lot on our boat. We have our propane oven in the boat and it has two burners on it. Of course there is the oven area, but they’re small. Like, for Thanksgiving, it ain’t going to fit a turkey. Same thing goes for the burners. It’s not like you’re going to use a big pot. Plus, you don’t want to be burning all of your propane.

PMR: How hard, or easy, is it to actually cook on a boat?

KD: It’s not that bad, it’s actually easy. We use our grill a lot, that’s on the outside. We cook a lot of chicken and red meat. And it’s not frozen foods that we get. We eat a lot of grilled foods. We eat a lot of salads, lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, bananas. I keep a lot of nuts on board, as well. From a lifestyle [perspective] it’s easy to eat healthy on a boat, but you also kind of have to be mindful of when you’re going to the grocery store and what you’re getting. There’s not a lot of room in your cold box to keep a lot of stuff. You got to be selective about what you’re keeping.

PMR: So how many days per week or month are you buying groceries?

KD: We probably grocery shop anywhere between three to four days out of the week, so I’ll either stop on the way home [from work] or [my wife] will go to the grocery store. We actually, believe it or not, shop at Costco for a few items. We keep a lot of paper towels, stuff like that. We do drink a lot of coffee, so we keep a lot of ground coffee, and we have a coffee maker we use a lot.

PMR: How about when you have company over, if at all? How difficult is it to manage those visiting and eating?

KD: When you have company over, you go shop for company. Typically, if we’re going to have company over, [there are] a couple of bottles of wine, some fresh fruit, cheese, nuts. It’s not like you’re going to roll out a big to-do, but most people, they’re not coming down for a big to-do. They’re coming down to enjoy the outside and sit down, have a glass of wine and watch the sunset and enjoy some good conversation.

PMR: What about community barbecues or any other sort of get together events on the docks?

KD: There are a lot of things that do go on, all the time. The yacht club is always doing something. We’ve seen people, they’ll even invite bands, small bands come down to the dock, and there will be kind of a big get together. It’s very much a community environment a lot of times, but throughout the week, there’s no one. It’s quiet.

PMR: Perhaps this is an off-the-wall question but do you ever experience any sea lions or other sort of wildlife to your boat on days you or your wife cook?

KD: We’ve never had it happen, but we know of people where the sea lion has come aboard and you have to be careful because you can’t be messing with the sea lions, it’s against the law. Of course we get a lot of the gulls and the big herons and things like that that come flying around us.

PMR: So there is some wildlife that interacts with you …

KD: Oh, yeah! We get to see a lot of dolphins that come in here.

PMR: Is there anything against feeding the animals or wildlife?

KD: Hmm, I’m sure there probably is, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. If you ever throw anything out in the water, the gulls are around [and] you’re asking for trouble. They’ll just come and bombard you.

PMR: When you first moved onto your boat, how much of an adjustment was it, to get used to eating in a smaller space?

KD: It was a little bit of an adjustment. Again, you’re living in a small space. Like, Thanksgiving, best-case scenario, it is not like you’re going to cook a big turkey. That’s not going to happen. We can cook it in the oven, but typically we get a pre-cooked, roasted turkey breast. You learn different things on using different things.

PMR: What’s the best meal you’ve prepared on your boat?

KD: Oh, boy, I cook steak. We actually eat steak quite a bit, especially with my background growing up in the cattle industry. I like a good piece of red meat.

PMR: How do you prepare your meat?

KD: Absolutely, there’s a technique to it. Basically for every inch of steak, as far as cooking, if you want your steak medium, you really want to cook it seven minutes for each half-inch on each side. You really shouldn’t be flipping the steak more than once. Season it with a little salt-and-pepper, maybe a little garlic salt, simple stuff. Now I’m hungry.

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