We’re taking our sailing vacation early this year. By the time you’re reading this newsletter, Jerry and I will be heading out across cold, cold Lake Superior in search of loon chicks and leftover bergy bits. (We’re hoping for more baby loons and fewer reminders of the winter’s snow and ice.)

Because we sail by choice without refrigeration or cooler, we’ll take along a new cookbook that just arrived for sailors: The One Pan Galley Gourmet: Simple Cooking on Boats. The section about cooking with a pressure cooker got my attention, separating this book from the many cruising cookbooks out there.

This book has its origins in a backpack. One of the authors, Don Jacobson, created a book for hikers and campers, The One Pan Gourmet in 1993. Later he teamed up with sailor John Roberts to “civilize” his menus for boaters. After all, we aren’t constrained by what we can pack in and pack out on our backs.

On the other hand, cooking aboard is not like cooking in a full kitchen in suburbia either. The two authors remembered that sailboats have small galleys, a limited water supply, a limited fuel supply, and some may even be lacking an oven.

They did unfortunately for me, assume that most boats will have coolers or refrigeration. I have to agree that most sailors will choose to chase the elusive ice blocks to keep fresh food available. So they’ve created many recipes using fresh meat that won’t work on my boat starting on Day One and fruits and vegetables that won’t keep into the second week of vacation. Still, all the recipes will work for most sailors, even with the most rudimentary galleys, so long as they have an ice box and a few pots and pans.

This book, in fact, could make a vast improvement in the lives of those sailors who think they must eat only what comes out of boxes and cans while aboard. In fact, it simplifies some people’s worst pre-cruising nightmare: provisioning. If you don’t have time to plan for yourself, take this book to the grocery store and buy everything on the weeklong menu shopping list. Then take the book cruising and follow the daily menu put together for a week. It’s likely to surprise and delight you. One thing is certain: you won ‘t starve! You won’t consider going back to boxes and cans either.

If you’re wondering what Jerry and I will be eating sans cooler, it comes down to eggs, cheeses, canned meat (we can our own), sauces, pasta, rice, and various cans of fruits and vegetables (see article in the January 1999 issue for the details). I can get pretty creative with what’s available. We’ll be out there sailing and eating well. The pressure-cooker tips and recipes included in this book will add to the galley repertoire.

The One Pan Galley Gourmet by Don Jacobson and John Roberts (International Marine, 2004; 184 pages)