My 2c, mostly in the context of cruising the tropics.
Buy Local. Most folks leaving the US provision like nowhere else on earth has food. We made this same mistake the the first time too. Not only is it unnecessary, but it diminishes your cruising experience. My strong preference is relatively minimal provisioning
and then visiting local markets to pick up fresh produce and locally unique foods. This enhances your cruising experience because you interact more with the local culture and learn more about the local cuisine. I've had some very memorable experiences shopping
in local mercados and interacting with the locals -- including being invited into their homes for some great authentic meals
. One of the great things about cruising is that the locals don't usually treat you like a typical tourist and delight in showing off their local cuisine. Sure is a lot more interesting than hauling another can out of the bilge!
Fresh Food = Real Food. The stuff on the shelves in developed countries is getting scary -- what is really in that can anyway? I strongly prefer to eat fresh unprocessed food which is surprisingly hard to find in the developed countries (for some items even illegal!). Much of the stuff you buy off the shelf in developed countries has more mystery or unpronounceable ingredients than real food or often no real food at all. But, you can still find real food in the markets of developing countries.
Mother Ocean. Also, don't forget that you are on the water
-- fresh caught seafood is a great addition to the menu. Seafood is also best when eaten fresh. When we catch a suitable fish
, sashimi or sushi is usually the first thing on the menu! And, the rest is then cleaned and chilled to eat later, but rarely frozen (it is just not the same) -- if we have too much then we give it away (this can help grease the skids when entering a new port -- offer the officials some of the nice fish
you caught on the way in). A fish of even just 20 lbs is a lot of food for a cruising couple. Therefore, be responsible, never take more than you can realistically consume in a short time (ie: the time it will keep refrigerated or iced).
Fresh off the Tree. Lots of tasty stuff is available right off the tree or at the market here in the tropics. For example, coconuts. Readily available anywhere in the tropics, keep well, and have an almost infinite number of uses. Our favorite cocktail is fresh coconut water and rum
-- yumm! Coconut oil
is great for cooking
. Coconut milk is also good for cooking
and making cocktails. Also: plantains -- many ways to prepare and keep well -- just hang'em up in the cockpit
and pull them off as needed. Many other fresh tasty fruits available in the tropics. Most fruits and veggies do not need to be refrigerated -- most in fact keep better out where they can breath. A small hammock or open weave basket is a great way to keep them handy and fresh.
Eggs. Many people accustomed to life in developed countries also think that almost everything has to be refrigerated. Eggs do not need to be refrigerated. At home we have chickens, we get fresh eggs every day and they last for weeks unrefrigerated and untreated in anyway. Another plus for eggs -- the contents are totally sealed so no risk of contamination with fresh eggs in good condition (unlike leafy veggies for example).
Bottom line: leave most of that highly processed mystery "product" at home and add food to your cruising experience!