Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tarwathie Cuisine

Vero Beach, FL

I wrote about Libby's 15 bean soup. In the future I'll write about her chili, bread pudding, lasanga, and more. Those are all special treats. How about our mundane day-to-day diet? I'm afraid that we're not very exotic or interesting in that department.

Neither Libby, nor I nor any of our children have ever been big on breakfast. For many years before cruising, our standard breakfast would be five cigarettes and two cups of coffee. The only real change is that we cut out the cigarettes. Often, I like a bagel or oatmeal, or pancakes, but we tend to eat those things as brunch, several hours after getting up.

For lunch, I'm in a big rut. I eat two sandwiches almost every day. My favorite is a single slice of salami, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, relish, on pumpernickel with mayo. Often though, I'll settle for just plain peanut butter and jam (PBJ). Libby is more fond of soup or something very light for lunch.

For dinner, I'm in an even bigger rut. Years ago we moved into a new home, free of children living with us. In a surge of enthusiasm, Libby foolishly said, "I'll cook whatever you want for dinner every night." Boy did she regret that. My answer was, "Spaghetti, 365 days per year." I have a hollow leg when it comes to spaghetti. I never get tired of it. Poor Libby however, got very tired of it. Nevertheless, she kept her promise for years and years. Since we started cruising, she has gradually turned me around so that we have spaghetti no more than 3-4 times per week.

Other staple meals that we're fond of are chili, hot dogs and beans, red beans and rice (actually any beans and rice dish), chicken or meat once a week. Maybe once a year, we eat beef steaks. Surprisingly, fish is a rare and succulent treat, not a staple.

Whenever possible, we cook and eat such that we have no leftovers. There is no room in the fridge for leftovers. However, as Libby's appetite decreases, the size of my portions (and thus my girth) must increase proportionately.

In the late afternoons, we like a snack. Often we eat some chips (bad) or fruit (good).

I have a long-time fondness for a dish of ice cream before going to bed. No doubt that's not very healthy but what the heck, we have so few vices that we're allowed to do. Keeping ice cream on a boat is a very rare luxury. Most cruisers don't attempt that. We do however, and I confess that keeping the freezer cold enough for ice cream accounts for 80% of our electric energy consumption. Libby sometimes eats ice cream too but more often she likes cookies as a late night snack.

For drinks, we have two staple drinks that we never get tired of. One is powdered sweet tea. The other, we call Tarwathie juice [50% orange flavored Gatorade (half strength) and 50% orange flavored Tang (half strength).] We keep both of those in the refrigerator 365 days per year, and we drink about 2 quarts per day. Our consumption of soda, beer, wine, or fruit juice is nearly zero.

From a practical point of view, our diet is very well suited to cruising. Take away the ice cream, and most of what's left are foods that keep well in dry storage for long periods of time. If pressed, we can easily provision Tarwathie with up to a 6 month supply of food. That's not really a deliberate goal, but rather a conincidence.

I'll make another personal confession. Our active social life and frequent dinner parties, are stimulated by the excuse to prepare and eat out of the ordinary foods. Making something like lasagna or bread pudding for just two portions is very difficult so we don't do things like that unless we have company.

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