• close family • small boat • big world •

Thanksgiving, Boat-Style

December 1, 2013

by Paula
Oriental, North Carolina

We weren't in quite the exotic locale we had hoped to be to celebrate our first major holiday on board, but it was still a different and delightful day.

While I've come to better know my tiny oven, cooking is still a grand experiment. I'm limited to pans no bigger than 13 x 9 inches, and I have one stoneware bake pan and one cookie sheet on board (plus a few skillets and two saucepans for use on the stove). While the oven has two racks, using both means nothing taller than three inches each. The actual oven temperature is still a mystery to me, though I do know that it is remarkably uneven. This is not a turkey-cooking oven.

In preparing a big meal, timing the dishes to finish cooking at the same time is often the biggest hurdle. I had no such challenge, as I had to cook most everything in rotation. It actually resulted in a much more relaxed day, without the frantic final preparation. I rose early and started with round 1: brownies cooked in two small pyrex pans. Round 2 happened mid-morning: vegetables roasted with olive oil and rosemary in my stoneware pan. This included potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and red peppers. Once done, they sat on the starboard pilot-berth, wrapped in a towel to hold in as much warmth as possible. Round 3 was stuffing, made in a foil pan, and it joined the vegetables when done. Round 4, a beef roast, was timed to finish 15 minutes before the meal. First browned in my large skillet, it went into the oven in a second foil pan. While the roast filled the cabin with an incredibly tempting aroma, I prepared a freshly chopped cranberry sauce, which required no cooking. I washed the skillet and used it to cook brussel sprouts on the stove top.

Final preparation was pieced together like a puzzle. When the
finished roast beef came out to "rest" under foil for ten minutes, the roasted vegetables went back in to reheat. I transferred the brussel sprouts to a small sauce pan for warming. Washed the skillet again, and moved the stuffing into it for re-heating on the stove top. Nothing was piping hot, but it all came out warm and delicious.

Our relaxed day was like past Thanksgivings, full of cooking and hanging out with games, music, and books. Absent this year was the chance to share our holiday with extended family; we missed having them with us. However, cruising offers greater opportunities for reaching out, and the holiday weekend was spent with new friends. We shared two great meals and rousing card games with fellow Mason-owners Adrian & Angie and their great kids Luke, Kristina and Paul. They spent three years cruising s/v Canto back in the early 2000s, and we had lots of notes to compare.  We spent an evening swapping sailing (and engine-repair) stories with Jonathan and Rachel, on s/v Millie, whom we had first met in Belhaven.


Like in years past, we are thankful for all we have. This year, we are lucky to be grateful for the wonderful opportunity to be even closer as a family and to experience life in a different way.

Anonymous said...

I read your posts as you post them. And, enjoy each one. Happy Holidays, y'all.

s/v MorgaNado, Captain and Crew

Lisa said...

So glad you had such a lovely Thanksgiving. Greg should wear his hair like that every day.