Saturday, 15 June 2013

13 - The Galley

Head chef Peter Lynch preparing
fish and chips
(galley is the English word for a kitchen on a ship)

Around fifty hungry mouths have to be fed three times a day, seven days a week on the RRS James Cook. So Peter Lynch, the head chief and his four man crew have to work from 6 o'clock in the morning to 7 o'clock at night to keep the crew, technicians and scientists happy.

As you can imagine, different from a kitchen on land this one has to be equipped for rough weather at sea. To keep the galley functional in a storm the hobs have big bars on them to prevent pans falling off, and cloths and gripping mats prevent food from rolling about.

Lunch is served
For breakfast there is of course, Full English Breakfast; bacon & eggs, sausages, grilled tomatoes, hash browns, black pudding (aka blood sausage) and toast. In case you are looking for something a bit more 'continental', croissants and fruits as well as cereals are also available. For lunch and dinner, a diversity of international and classical English dishes is served. For example yesterday we had Yorkshire Pudding. For all you non-British readers, this has nothing to do with a sweet pudding, but rather resembles a savoury muffin-lookalike croissant type of bun which is served with gravy, quite tasty though. For dinner, desert is available as well.

Beef & vegi: Fresh and frozen food is stored
in room-sized walk-in freezers/fridges
As on all research vessels the time for eating is kept fairly short for practical reasons, so you better be on time to enjoy your meal. Since people are working 24/7 on the ship it is sometimes impossible to make it to breakfast, lunch or dinner. In this case the galley staff are happy to put a dish aside for you. And in case you get hungry in between meals there are always leftovers from the previous meals (and a microwave to heat it) as well as toast and fruits available.

This cruise only lasts for three weeks, so we are lucky to be served fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the whole expedition. For longer ones though, you would be able to see the suggestion of durability of food. Even though vegetables are kept in room-size fridges (see picture) after approximately four weeks they reach their limit of durability, while other and fresh food like cabbage last a bit longer. The meat is stored in walk-in freezers (at -20C) so that it can be available even throughout longer journeys.

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