Having Corinne Kanter’s latest cookbook, The Cruising KISS Cookbook II, aboard is like having a pocket expert you can take on your cruise. It’s a substitute for the cooking class you never took and those books you never read. Corinne has done the work for you and condensed it down to what you need to know to manage a tiny galley that may go many miles from home, perhaps around the world. It’s full of cooking tidbits most of us never knew and reference information you can look up when you’ve got questions. It might be more fun to take Corinne along. But if that doesn’t work out, her book is a dandy substitute!

What’s so helpful? Information about foods you may not see in your local grocery store once you’re out in the vast community of cruisers: new and uncommon grains, international sauces, uncommon fruits and vegetables, and much more. She includes cooking terms you may have wondered about, tables such as Fahrenheit and centigrade oven temperature conversions, metric conversions, ingredient conversions from teaspoons to ounces to grams so you can accept a recipe from that nice French couple and actually use it for cooking, volume capacities (in cups) of bread and baking pans and pie plates, and oodles of information of this nature.

She discusses storage issues and provides sources of canned cheeses, meats, and dried eggs. She offers helpful hints for long-term cruising. She discusses conserving cooking fuel, cooking with a pressure cooker, a smokeless stovetop gill, a hand-operated food beater/chopper, making your own mayonnaise from scratch, yogurt, sprouts, sourdough starters, cooking stocks, variations to make hamburgers interesting. Ditto for chicken. On and on it goes. Are you dizzy yet?

Corinne adds information about helpful ingredient substitutions for when you’ve got almost everything you need . . . but not quite, and the store is hours, maybe days, from your cozy anchorage. A very helpful chart of cheeses. Troubleshooting tips for baking cake and bread (Coarse texture? Too little kneading.). A list of spices and their uses. Sauces for vegetables. Hints for cooking fish. Eating light. Microwave tips and a chart of vegetable microwave cooking times.

What’s more? Along with the information she found space for 645 recipes. The book even includes the best (32 pages) of her previous book, The Galley K.I.S.S. Book published in 1987.

Don’t expect to find all the helpful information, charts, and tables in one convenient place, however. The information is where you need it: bread tips with the bread recipes, for example. That arrangement requires you to get familiar with this book in advance so you know what’s available for future reference. I have 16 Post-it Notes stuck in my copy to help me find the information I need the next time.

Excuse the breathless delivery of this ramble. Corinne’s book belongs on the boat and in the kitchen at home (unless you live aboard, of course). It’s a marvelous resource and reference. I don’t tend to gush much, but this is a “first-rate gushable cookbook.” It’s the thing to give as a bon voyage or boat-warming gift. Your recipients will thank you for it. Maybe they’ll be inspired to cook something and invite you over.

The Cruising Kiss (Keep it Simple System) Cookbook II by Corinee C. Kanter (Sailco Prese, 2003; 480 pages)