A lobsterman I knew back in the day was a chef on board his floating diner, his lobster boat. Although his dutiful wife always packed him a cooler of goodies, he was known for the impromptu repasts he’d cook on the muffler of his engine. I was aboard one day when lunch was a glorious cod cooked with onions and peppers.
The fish was a bycatch, something that wound up in the lobster trap that didn’t belong there. That day it was a cod. After cleaning the fish and dressing it with the peppers and onions, it was double wrapped in layers of heavy tin foil, tied to the muffler, and cooked until the flesh was tender. He stated, “You’ll never get a fresher fish dinner at a restaurant.”
Lunch was served on the fantail with chilled bottles of beer, his wife’s apple pie for dessert, and a view of Seguin lighthouse as a backdrop.
This meal stands out among the standard fare I experienced offshore. Unwanted mementos of offshore culinary disasters included gas and upset stomachs caused by the Capn’s favorite lunch of sardines and pilot biscuits washed down with tea, cold beans, stale meatloaf sandwiches, and indifferent cold pizza. Depending on who you were going out with and the time you expected to return, one could feel quite the gambler.
Among sailors, there is a saying, “Bad cooking is responsible for more trouble at sea than all other things put together.” I agree.