When we first set off from Lake Michigan two years ago, I had big dreams to always be in the galley prepping delicious meals and snacks with all of my newfound free time. If you’ve been following for awhile, you might know that it was an ill fated dream initially, resulting in things like my previous signature orange spaghetti, or comments from friends of ‘Why don’t we do the cooking tonight?’ or ‘You just supply the drinks, we’ll take care of the food’. My skills in the galley left a lot to be desired.
Luckily, after spending much of my time watching my friends that actually had cooking competence and slowly learning from them, I am proud to say that my culinary skills are much improved and I might even have a few dishes up my sleeve that you might actually want me to make for you. Too bad we haven’t had any friends to cruise with lately so I can show off these techniques to more than just Matt and the gatito.
Another luckily for me, is back when I did have these big dreams but no expertise, I had at least outfitted our galley with all the items necessary to prepare some pretty kicka$$ items once the know-how came along, and others that always come out for everyday use. Some of them may have been gathering dust for awhile due to their lack of operation, but now all of them are in full rotation and I couldn’t be happier to have them onboard. Here you have it, my top 10 favorite galley items.
Aerobie AeroPress Ok, this is supposed to be in no particular order, but this one really is my favorite, and by far gets the most use. Every morning nowadays, and sometimes multiple times. You might be sick of me talking about it since I’ve already written two posts raving about it, but honestly, it’s just that good. The one thing I recommend each galley has if anyone aboard is a coffee drinker. It’s light, completely plastic, easy to clean, and makes the best coffee ever. Deciding on what present to add to your next birthday list? This should be on there.
Bodum Electric Water Heater Even back when we were stuck with some not so fantastic coffee making options, one thing always helped, and it was having this handy little item to boil our water in. We don’t have any kind of kettle on board, so any water would have had to be heated in a sauce pan, and transfered over to the french press/Clever Dripper always resulted in a loss of most of it and sometimes burned fingers. We like this item because it’s quick (boils water in 2 minutes), safe (plastic exterior for no burns, and no rusting!), and doesn’t use up our propane. It’s not just for coffee/tea/coco though. It also gets used to quickly heat up water to add to our solar shower when we don’t feel like waiting for the sun, or when I need a little hot water to help clean the dishes. We use AC power to run it, but most of the time, that’s something we don’t have a problem sparing.
GRIPSTIC® These were something my mother shipped to me while we were puttering down the ICW, and to be honest, not only had I never heard of them at the time, but I had no clue how to use them. Good thing I had my friend Stephanie nearby that came to the rescue with ‘Oh, I think I’ve seen a commercial for these before.’ Now they overrun our galley drawers because I can’t get enough of them. Simply put, they are like Chip Clips, but much more secure, and in every varying size you could need. We use them to close up chip bags, cereal, beans, coffee grounds… anything that comes in a non resealable bag. Just fold a portion of the bag over, slide the clip underneath with the colored plastic covering the top, and continue sliding until you’ve reached the other end of the bag. The best part is you never have to worry about them falling off. Shake the bag as many times as you want upside-down, there is nothing escaping out of there.
OXO Good Grips Mixing Bowl Another gift from my mother at the same time as the Gripstics, but this was was requested and much needed. I had already found out from our 3 months of cruising at that point how all of our dishes like to slide from one end of the galley to the other. This set comes with three bowls of various sizes, and each is coated with plastic on the bottom to keep it from moving around. Now if I ever find myself cooking in a rolly anchorage (probable) or while on passage at a 5 or 10° heel (hmmm, not as likely), I know that even though I might be hanging on to rails to keep my balance, at least all of my cooking ingredients are staying secure in their bowl.
Snapware Containers I happened upon these containers as pure accident originally, because I had earned ‘points’ at my previous job and needed something practical for the boat to spend them on. Honestly, I never really even wanted them in the first place. I kept thinking to myself, ‘How boring, I don’t want to use my hard earned points on food storage containers, I want something fun’. But…these are some of my now favorite items in the galley. They’re what I keep my consistently stored items in, from flour to sugar to instant spuds. They always keep my items fresh and there’s never been an issue of moisture getting in. They’re easy to clean, and the separate colors of plastic rings let me easily remember what’s in each one at quick glance.
(I know that Lock & Lock containers are also a very popular choice, and we do have a nesting set of them. I’ll admit that the nesting aspect is very helpful for storage, but I can not tell you how many issues we’ve had of the little side handles almost snapping off when we’ve tried to open them.)
Collapsible Measuring Cups So…before we left on this trip I kind of got suckered into the ‘collapsible items movement’ that seemed to be the rage among every cruiser I’d read about, and boy was I glad I did. Obviously when you live in a small space you need your items to be small as well to fit in said space, but you also need them to be useful. Even if you never cooked or baked in your life on land, you’ll probably find yourself doing it much more on a boat because fast food restaurants are pretty sparse or even non-existent. Obviously cooking and baking leads to measuring, and who wants a big set of measuring cups taking up precious space in their galley? Not this girl! I love how these fold down to a fraction of their size, plus the fact that they’re silicone makes them super easy to clean.
Cutting Board with Strainer Every cook needs a cutting board and there are a few things that set this one apart for me. One of them is that it fits perfectly over our sink. I know this won’t apply to every boat, but for me it’s nice to have something large enough that tip to tip, it hits the counter on each side and turns an otherwise unusable area into extra work space for me. The other big draw is the strainer included. Now whenever I chop vegetables or meat, all the extra scraps get whisked into one spot for easy disposal.
Silicone Tipped Tongs – I know, how lame, right? A pair of tongs. But I swear, after my spatula, this is the item that gets the number one use in my galley. I use these things for almost every meal I make. They transition from picking up my fried items out of the boiling hot oil in my skillet to quickly and easily flipping pieces of garlic bread in the oven to getting marinated pieces of chicken on and off the grill. They can also be used as salad tongs, or if you’re like Mr. Miyagi, you can even catch flies with them if you’re very skilled. Just kidding. Really though, I do love these things. The silicone part means they never get hot meaning I don’t accidentally burn myself or parts of the boat, and the pin at the end keeps them closed when not in use. Something very handy when drawer space is at a premium.
I am a fully admitted paper towel Nazi. I’m not even ashamed of it, I wear that badge with pride. Because, as we’ve experienced, paper products in the Caribbean can be very expensive and I like to hoard the supply we’ve purchased in the US as much as possible. The great thing is, Scott’s Shop paper towels lets me do that. They are strong and tough, and even when I pass out only 1/4th of a sheet at any given meal, I think I’m still being generous in what I dole out.
We also use them for every kind of clean-up on the boat, and usually a half sheet at a time. I’ve been able to use just that about to wash out, clean, and dry Georgie’s litter box. Sometimes all they need is a little rinse, a good wringing, and just a little bit is good to go all day. I can clean the entire head, and well, only using one sheet. These are the towels that just don’t quit.
Silicone Loaf Pan – This should be a pretty easy one to guess why. What do cruisers do in the Bahamas? They make their own bread. What is the most annoying part about baking bread? Having it stick to your pan where you then have a loaf with irregular chunks taken out of it, and a pan that you spend almost as much time cleaning as you put into making the bread itself. So what makes all of that much less painless? Silicone pans that eliminate sticking! Try them out, they really work.
There you have it, the items in my galley that I absolutely cannot live without! But now that I’ve shared mine, I want to know, what are yours?!