Little did I know just how much my experience aboard the Sea Shepherd would inform just about everything I do on Lodos on a daily basis, and the most valuable skill I learned was full time cooking on a ship. On Sea Shepherd, I was the cook/chef for 12-18 hungry workers, 3 meals/day; our ships are all vegan, out of respect for the very wildlife we are trying to protect.
Other than the environmental and health benefits of an all plant-based diet, it’s easier on the ships’ systems, including refrigeration and waste. While underway, Kirby and I eat vegan/all plant based. It’s been really fun and healthful. With a small exception (I recently found some fresh brown eggs in Turtle Bay that I couldn’t resist), we have been eating this way for a couple of weeks now. When we get off the ship or grab food on land, I still pretty much eat vegan, but this is Kirby’s chance to grab a taco or other local meat-inspired specialty.
While underway, we haven’t been eating a lot – you just don’t get that hungry while being out at sea for days on end – but we do try to cook some things in advance that can be eaten cold or heated quickly. And, the simpler, the better – if it can be made in 1 pot, even better!
For inspiration, I love the following cookbooks: Minimalist Baker, Thug Kitchen, Oh She Glows, The Boat Galley, and the official Sea Shepherd cookbook. I also bought a small 10 1/2 inch Lodge Cast Iron skillet that we use almost everyday. Not only is it durable and tough on a boat, it also gives us some extra iron in our food. Another must have item for the boat are silpats or silicone baking sheets. They are flat, easy to store and provide a great non-skid padding for things I’m storing in the oven while underway.
Here’s a list of some of our menu items so far:
- Coconut curry sweet potato & kale over rice
- Wild mushroom risotto with cashew parmesan cheese
- Potato salad w/ red onions & relish
- Spicy Black beans over rice
- Quesadillas with spicy veggies & 2 types of soy cheese
- Tostado salad with hummus, tomatoes, kale & cilantro
- Pain perdu – a version of french toast
- Sandwiches – ranging from PB&J/AB&J to deli/veggie sandwiches
- Hummus & veggies