The Cast of Characters & Quick Guide to the Story

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Our table, after the charter.

This morning at muster Captain explained about the barge that had come up alongside us in the night – how it worked and how it’s signals worked (or were supposed to work). He’s really good at taking moments to teach us things. Last night he reviewed the near miss we'd had, and why it happened. I’m sure he doesn’t think it’s for my benefit, as the cook, but little does he know how much I appreciate it. I don't feel like I'm out of the loop. The first mate is great to me too, showing me how to tie certain knots or having me help her tighten a line. 

For lunch I made gazpacho, which I knew he wouldn’t eat. And quesadillas, which I knew he would. The first mate, whom I have yet to give a nickname – can I call her Smith? - asked me if I could make a snack at four o’clock since dinner will be late. We had a date with the City until 9 pm, involving a photoshoot and a sail with city officials. I thought, I had better do my hair.

Sometimes during the sail people will stop to talk with me about what I’m cooking. I tell them about how much I love the job. What I don’t often get into is the greatest challenge of my job: my budget. I feed eight people on $48 a day. That’s three meals for $6, per person. And that’s .50 cents more than my budget on the Neverland.

If it sounds like I make potatoes a lot – that’s because it’s one of the cheaper substantive foods I can fill them with. We go through about 20-25 pounds of potatoes each week. Since the last grocery run, I’ve made hash browns, samosas, re-baked potatoes, potato salad, home fries, corned beef hash with potatoes, potatoes with corned beef, curried potato soup… and… well, I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

The crew puts the sails away after sunset.
I try to put veggies in – but when I’m at the market I’m always looking at the price per pound. Mustard greens were less than a dollar a pound; collards were about $1.25 – I chose the mustard. And this is how my shopping run looks. I make a menu and write down, “Beef shoulder,” but get to the market and see corned beef is on sale for half what beef shoulder costs per pound… the choice becomes obvious. Again, a choice: buy granola bars at .27 cents an ounce or make them for less than .10?

You have to get creative. And you also, unfortunately, have to throw out your ideals about eating grass-fed beef and organic vegetables. The crew would starve.

When our guests from the charter departed this evening, they left behind what they didn't eat. Hurrah! I thought - that's at least three meals, if I'm smart about it.  


  1. way to be thifty, gf. i never met a potato i didn't like! i keep finding your clothing, have put everything in a drawer, except for the pink shirt, which i have stolen (and love). leaving the day after tomorrow for sweden, but i'll be in touch. missing you. nice to check in with you.

  2. I am determined to fit those jeans again. Going running about every other day. The challenge is not eating too much! Glad you're living the pink shirt!