Adaptability is an important lesson I continuously learn in my kitchen encompassing 87 inches in length. We were out of peanut butter, pancake mix and had two eggs. I needed to feed my four hungry children. The ability to jump in the car and go to the store wasn’t an option. Looking at my limited pantry, I choose to accept the challenge to create something yummy with my slim supplies. That’s what mama’s did in the olden days, right? Ma Ingalls, from Little House on the Prairie, is a constant inspiration to me. I marvel how she diligently and dutifully cared for her family with such generous grace and beauty in their one room house. She is a wife and mother I admire and wish to emulate as we live our own Little House on the Water adventure.
How is my tiny kitchen organized? Building our kitchen, which is the central hub of our living quarters, I knew we needed to utilize every square inch of space. I have vertical storage above my three burner gas stove. Four 24 square inch soft close drawers is the majority of kitchen storage I have. One contains a pot, two pans and two casserole dishes. One drawer holds stackable mixing bowels, a hand mixer, immersion blender, and baking things. Leaving two drawers to stuff as much pantry/shelf stable goods and staples. The big drawer under our kitchen sink holds garbage, recycling and cleaning supplies. The 15” drawers hold our silverware, measuring cups and spoons, baking and cooking utensils, plates, bowels, cups and about 36 water bottles. I’m still trying to figure out how to make use of the 4 ½” of space under the cabinets…but that will happen another day.
For the first four months aboard, we patiently stuffed our 3 cubic foot fridge and 1 cubic foot freezer with the bare necessities…one ½ gallon milk, a dozen eggs, a small container of sandwich spread, deli meat, sliced cheese, and thankfully, our four Blue Apron dinner meals! About two weeks ago, in the middle of September, Ryan blessed me with a spacious 10 cubic foot fridge and 3 cubic foot freezer! I bawled. I am so incredibly thankful to be able to store more perishable foods this coming fall and winter!!!! So incredibly thankful!!!! Putting this fridge into our boat, when its made for a spacious house, was pretty funny however. Dismantling the railing, removing the fringe’s doors and port slider window, relocating a bookshelf crammed with books, the fridge slid through our port window with a centimeter to spare! Maneuvering it down our one hallway, it slid past our bookcase and oven handle with a few millimeters of thanksgiving. It fits our space perfectly! Ryan needed to trim our wire closet shelves one inch to ensure it fit. Attaching the fridge’s doors, it will open all the way with a centimeter to spare, barely missing the bathroom wall. The only unfortunate thing, the reviews on this particular fridge that fits our space perfectly, are horrible and estimate a fourteen month life expectancy before something gives out. Hoping and praying that won’t be the case…I feel more confident making it through the winter, providing healthy delicious meals and snacks for my family.
What do family dinners look like on our boat? Answering that question, I am so thankful Ryan found Blue Apron last fall while we still lived in our house. In a “normal environment” I was able to become familiar with the process of cooking gourmet meals from scratch. Transitioning to my much smaller kitchen, I count on Blue Apron to help me provide four healthy dinners for my family. They send me precisely portioned ingredients (perfect for saving precious pantry space!), freshly packaged veggies, organic meats (poultry, beef or pork, fish or shrimp) and four recipe cards with step by step instructions to make these gourmet meals, including vegetarian. My family loves Blue Apron Meals! It’s like a culinary course in my home…now boat! Yes, cooking from scratch takes longer. However, while I am becoming more familiar with my culinary technique, which I know will serve me well in our future plans to circumnavigate, I am finding I’m not as inconvenienced to take the time to do things the long way. In that, I feel very proud of myself and the example I am demonstrating for the children. Best part is, when I invite my daughters to cook with me, they are also learning how to make delicious meals for when they are grown.
Rounding out our kitchen, is our dining table, school table, meeting table, craft table and bed for Ryan and I each night. With the skill of a craftsman, I am so proud of Ryan for making me such a beautiful table…complete with Plexiglas top so I can finally sanitize our eating area!
Little things in my kitchen I once took for granted, have become so exciting and precious, as I continue to adapt and abandon myself to this adventure of living on the water.