Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tiny Boat Kitchens-Minimalism Tastes Great

For people who love cooking and minimalism, there is often a conflict of interest in the kitchen. I myself am not a ‘Foodie,’ and actually the opposite can be said. But I still must eat and for inspiration I often find myself watching cooking shows or following elaborate recipes that suggest I use all sorts of implements of destruction and creation. I cannot tell you how many recipes I have bypassed because I did not have a [insert kitchen gadget or spice here.]

Well guess what my hungry friends? Food chopped with a knife tastes just as good as food chopped in a processor. Diced garlic is as yummy as pressed garlic. Plus if creativity is the draw, try using a six inch cutting board, one butcher knife and a pressure cooker to replicate the recipe you are drooling over. It’s doable, even for mediocre cooks. It is especially doable for minimalist cooks.

When I made the move from a 3100 square foot house to a 40 foot sailboat I had a large kitchen full of stuff that I had to contend with. I decided, rather radically and not without some pain and regret, to eliminate almost everything and try to get by. My very sound theory was that if I could figure out how to cook without it, I didn’t need it. If I couldn’t, I would have to suck it up and buy a new one but perhaps I could find one better suited to my tiny boat galley. I wasn’t sure what the previous boat owners might leave onboard, or what the new lifestyle might mean for my cooking. (Hopefully my family got fed well and regularly.)

So what is in my minimalist liveaboard kitchen? I could make a list but pictures are just so much more fun. I have a two burner electric stove and a microwave, and a small refrigerator with no freezer. I opt for glass on a sailboat since I find plastic unappetizing and I rather deal with shattering consequences. I can offer 4 people a place setting, and additional guests get paper plates and child utensils or chopsticks.

Here it is:

This is the knife and spice cabinet.  Yes.  Those are my spices.  It gives me the excuse to use fresh herbs more often.  Note my tiny cutting board?


Galley Spices

Various measuring cups, tools like a peeler, can opener and a singular spatula.


Galley Storage

Place settings for 4 on Corian plates.

Sailboat Cupboards

Coffee cups for all our various cold and hot drinks.


The stove area and my 3 pots and assortment of utensils.

Saiboat Range

Just about anything we need for manipulating, mangling and shoveling in the grub.

Sailboat Utensils

What do I wish I had? A smaller pressure cooker and small sauce pan. I started with just the green frying pan though so no complaints. I also want to upgrade my microwave to a convection oven/microwave and I want a killer blender for smoothies. I have two full sized cutting boards I never use because I cant wash them easily in the tiny sink. I really do my chopping on the little one behind the white bowl. I have only coffee cups for drinks except four stem-less glass wine glasses. I somehow got to the boat without my plastic mixing spoon with the slits in it…I find I miss it. We have a boat barbeque grill for grilling outside (which we cant use in most marinas so we have to walk to communal ones. ) I do miss ovens and the wonderful stuff that comes out of them. I’m researching pizza grilling. But that is all that I am wishing for in this tiny sailboat galley. It’s small and efficient and everything would fit in one box.

So if you want to apply minimalism to your kitchen and don’t want to radically downsize square footage to find the motivation, start by packing up your entire kitchen and pull out only exactly what you can’t do without. After about 6 months you should find you still have boxes full of stuff you can donate or sell. I promise that you will still find plenty of delicious food comes out of your minimal kitchen.

*Disclosure: I do have multiple burn scars on my hands and arms from awkward boat galley angles and trying to use a huge ass pressure cooker as a sauce pan. I also find that zesting a lemon with a steak knife is hazardous to ones health, but doable with practice. Oh, and cooking on a black sailboat in the heat of the South means lots of sweating. I often look like I just came out of a steam room so I have invested in waterproof mascara. A girl has her priorities.