by Barb Hanson
is a lot like cruising, Iíve decided, and thatís a very
Thanksgiving and New Years I spent most of my non-office
hours in the kitchen preparing yummy things for guests.
Or, I was reading recipes of good things to make in the
kitchen. Or, I was at the grocery getting the ingredients
to make all those yummy things.
one rule about cooking Ė keep it simple. If a recipe
contains ingredients I canít pronounce or spices Iíve
never heard of that dish will most likely not make it to
my dinner table. The best recipe is one in my motherís
handwriting, a holiday treat that she would make at this
time of the year for her young daughters and sometimes
sheíd let us help her.
next best recipes for me come from the tried-and-true
cookbooks, the ones with dog-eared pages or pages
stiffened by an accidental smattering of egg whites.
when I was in the kitchen my mind wandered back to the
office. Booking and planning cruises for our charter
customers is what I do for a living as proprietor of
Southwest Florida Yachts. And as I chopped and diced,
mixed and poured, baked and broiled, it occurred to me the
best recipes are like the best cruises.
planning a cruise, instead of paging through cookbooks, I
page through logs and charts, often with cryptic,
handwritten notes that remind me of cruises past.
it simple is my tried-and-true recipe for a good cruise,
too. One of the most important ingredients is a practical
float plan, one that doesnít take you too far for the time
and energies of the passengers.
Consider the mix of individuals on board. Do they all have
the same tastes in food and activities? In conversation
topics? Jokes? Do they like to go to bed at about the
same time and get up at the same time? Measure carefully
donít have to plan each and every stop along the way, but
you should have a good idea where you want to go and how
long it will take to get there. If you plan to dock or
dine at marinas along the way, consider that you may need
to make reservations in advance.
the forecast is for perfect weather, plan for a dash of
bad weather. You may or may not experience rain or rough
seas, but if you are prepared for a possible weather delay
or a change of course it will make for a more pleasant
cruising experience. Thatís where those books and games
on board can come in handy. Be sure to stock extra
provisions in case you donít make that dockside dinner
one of lifeís satisfactions is cooking with my old
dependables, pots and pans, knives and serving spoons that
have been in my kitchen, like, forever. They are not the
most expensive but they are good quality and have proved
their worth ten times over.
Similarly, a good cruise doesnít require a megayacht or
the fanciest vessel. It just needs a boat that has been
well-maintained and a few spare parts, just in case.
good recipe, a good cruise should be topped off with
something sweet to underscore the memory of a special
cruising experience with the special people in your life.
The very best sweeteners are unplanned like the joy of
seeing dolphin surf your wake or a flaming meteorite
brightening up the night sky.
cruising diary. Like your old recipes in familiar
handwriting, it will be something you can savor for years