I thought of a few more secrets. Since the first set was so appreciated, I racked my brain for more. A lot of people have sent me additional tips, too. Many of which I wish I could have used on the boat, but couldn’t because of my unreliable freezer and a general lack of space.
- Make your own salad dressings and pickles. I pickle peppers, green beans, red onions, green onion bottoms, eggs, carrots and more. And you don’t have to can them, you can put them in old plastic yoghurt containers. Works just fine. They make great additions to sandwiches, Indian curries, hamburgers, etc. I’ve only bought two bottles of salad dressing since I got onboard – Caesar for Cap, because I don’t think she would’ve liked my homemade variety; and Ranch because Rigby was a Ranch dressing addict and it was cheaper than buying sour cream and making it myself.
- Freeze herbs. The last cook on this boat told me that he couldn’t afford herbs. This always struck me as funny when I saw all the things he did afford… like store-bought bread. But it’s all where you choose to spend your energy. I love fresh herbs. But it’s hard to keep them fresh under these conditions. I do have a basil plant and what remains of a mint plant that some spider mites got to. But my real trick has been to freeze cilantro and mint and basil. No, they aren’t quite as good as fresh herbs, but better than dried when making, say, a pico de gallo.
- Accept gifts and never turn away free food. I think this is harder for the individual or a family – I mean, how often does someone just leave you with free food? Tonight we had a reception on the boat, and the hosts offered me the remains of a platter of smoked trout and another of smoked whitefish (both made locally by a some Native American guy, apparently). Of course I took them! We’re having smoked whitefish salad sandwiches tomorrow. I’m gonna put it on the table with thinly sliced red onions, mayo, celery, and celery seed, and let everyone build their own. Momma Smith, and Harrison’s Mom both bestowed the boat with a ton of food, and I put every bit of it into the crew’s diet. I guess as a private individual, I would recommend looking into wild edibles. Today on my run I saw wild sweet peas, wild anise, an apple tree in someone’s yard with apples strewn across the lawn. I almost stopped to see if they were going to use the apples.
- When I lived in Sweden, no restaurant had doggie bags. It’s really frowned upon. I’m not sure why. Maybe it looks desperate or something. But it’s amazing how many great meals I’ve made with leftovers. I distinctly remember one Christmas meal (julbord) when several people at the table couldn’t finish their filet mignon(!). I shamelessly had all of them boxed up and ate steak sandwiches for the next two days. Totally worth the looks I got.
- Don’t buy breakfast cereal. I have a few on-hand. But they are expensive – and they move so slowly they get stale. This is because I make a hot breakfast almost every day. I also make a homemade granola and the crew almost always goes for that over the store-bought cereal. Google Early Bird Granola. The recipe is created by a friend of mine in New York. Her bags of granola sell for $9 each. Make the recipe and you’ll see why.