Winning them over, one meal at a time

26-Mar 2012
Panama City, Panama
Day 5.

I’m making myself useful I suppose, cooking up a storm (damn I’m good!) Compliments abound, and as usual it’s my pleasure. Hubert, the Frenchmen who’s being doing the bulk of the cooking since his arrival three weeks ago, has been away for the last three nights, giving me the opportunity to dazzle the non-vegetarians :) I got some great feedback today: two of my crew said at dinner that they might be converted to vegans on this trip; Spencer, talking all day about today’s lunch, happily marveled at what might have been his first day eating vegan day ever; and Julian reported that tonight’s meal was his favorite meal yet, only slightly better than last night (but only slightly, as last night was his favorite too :) Then they said Hubert and I should have a cook-off… I hope I don’t step on his toes!

After my first two days, in which I had to prepare my first 6 meals for myself (and I’ll admit there’s definitely a learning curve when it involves feeding me) as they had either milk powder, mayonnaise, chicken, fish, beef, eggs or cheese in them, I was grateful when Hubert took shore leave so I could prove myself in the kitchen.

I took this opportunity to try some things out on them, so I can better influence the provisioning of food for our long passage, and so we can prepare group meals for the lowest common denominator in mind. I slipped some soy creamer in the curry last night (after Julian kindly offered to make one, but was lost when I told him I wouldn’t eat it if he employed his signature secret ingredient: cream of asparagus soup, and I had to do show him how it’s done ;) Nobody has once had to add cheese, cream, milk, mayonnaise or meat to anything I’ve prepared so far, and not a single complaint. I just don’t think, due to habits, people generally think it can be done… and probably won’t ever try when there there’s the choice between the two.

Before I came, canned meat or egg sandwiches, and chili con carne were daily staples. Now I’m already getting repeat requests for the ‘creamy’ potato pasta dish and my curry, and what were those we ate for lunch — coconut corn sausage?

Sorting out the food list today, taking a total inventory and then inserting all my wishes: soy meat & powdered soymilk, coconut milk, dehydrated mushrooms, canned pineapple, walnuts, capers, vegetable bouillon and canned beans without bacon, I stirred more interest in things to come. When quantities for each item typically came to “a shitload”, and agreeing that we shouldn’t be preparing everything separately, I’m anticipating some very fine meals indeed.

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