I crewed for a young family on a return passage from Spain to Antigua. The family was on the homeward voyage after a two-year sabbatical in Europe. The parents and two pre-teens were very social, and at every port, new and old friends came aboard for coffee klatches and happy hours. The family was on a limited-budget, no-frills cruise. Feeding hungry guests was always a point of concern.
During a long night watch on a peaceful ten-day passage from Cadiz to the Cape Verdes, the hostess/co-captain and I discussed lists of cocktail party foods to have on hand for impromptu parties. The captain, mate, and their very friendly kids enjoy entertaining at anchorages and marinas along their voyage, and I was eager to learn more of her hosting secrets. We made up a list of favorite snacks. The list emphasized non-refrigerated foods that can be stored in abundance for long passages on a small boat. They included:
Assorted crackers packed in small, airtight packages
Makeshift pate made from baby food jars of liver
Pickled olives with pits, which are eaten more slowly
Assorted canned dip mixes
Assorted vacuum-packed nuts
Canned hot sauce
Small cheese balls wrapped in wax
Boxed Wine (hung in a wet sock for evaporative chilling)
Pretzels in the straight stick variety that pack compactly
Uniform shaped potato chips for compact storage
Unshelled sunflower seeds, which take longer to eat Bread sticks
Sliced hard salami or pepperoni
As I watched happy guests enjoying our hospitality, I also realized how important it was for hosts to avoid the temptation to refill empty containers. No matter how polite, fellow sailors, easily and quickly graze through a boat’s food stores.
Socializing on a cruise, far from home, is as much a part of the sailing experience as trimming the sails.