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Feeding the Plastiki: More gourmet treats than ship's biscuits

Fish for dinner, breakfast and lunch. One of the three fish caught by the Plastiki crew.
Fish for dinner, breakfast and lunch. One of the three fish caught by the Plastiki crew.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Provisions onboard Plastiki come from sustainable and organic sources
  • Boat's ready-meals not out of place in a top restaurant
  • Nutrition and cooking guide for crew provided by California-based gourmands
  • Crew faced lower water rations at end of first leg of voyage

(CNN) -- Thor Heyerdahl said he had fish practically leaping onto the Kon-Tiki during his cross-Pacific voyage in 1947, but the bounty from the sea hasn't been so rich for the crew of the Plastiki.

With only three fish caught to date, they've been relying on their larder for provisions. But it's not a diet of ship's biscuits, limes and rum rations for David de Rothschild and the crew; their galley is complete with meals that would not look out of place at a chic San Francisco restaurant.

In keeping with the ethos of the expedition, all the Plastiki's food is sustainably sourced and where possible, organic. From beef bourguignon to lamb ragout and Thai chicken curry, the meals were devised by San Francisco-based foodies Jennifer Tuck and Nona Lim.

Tuck and Lim are the gourmands behind Cook!, a home-delivery sustainable food company.

"Our mission is to bring joy and fun back to your kitchen, or in your case, the galley," said Lim and Tuck in their specially devised food guide for the Plastiki.

"In sum, these ingredients and meals hold lots of care and intention for the crew."

Keeping the crew buoyant and healthy are hundreds of pounds of fresh kale, cabbage, leeks, beets, chilies and other greens and many fruits. All were dried and packed before setting off.

Video: Hydroponics on the high seas
Video: Goodbye to the on-board garden

All the meats and meat dishes aboard come from grass-fed, sustainable livestock raised close to San Francisco. The meat was cooked alone or as a stew with very rich stock then placed in hot sterile jars and pressure-cooked to ensure freshness and preservation. The crew have more than 110 of these ready-meals to keep them going through the long journey.

The crew might be more familiar with riggings than roulades but Lim and Tuck have a simple message for them when it comes to cooking: "We encourage you to follow this bit of sage advice from Julia Child: 'Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!'"

Plastiki also is supplied with a nutritional guide for the crew advising them on what to eat and how to build meals that support the periods of high-level activity during the voyage.

"Incorporate protein steadily into all your meals, especially with breakfast. This will help keep your energy stronger and steadier, and help control your blood sugar levels throughout the day as well," is a central piece of advice from the guide.

Of course the all important rule is all on board is to hydrate well, something the crew discovered toward the end of the first leg of the journey, when water levels on board were so low not enough could be spared to keep the on-board hydroponic garden alive.

"After 20 days at sea we realized we were using more water for the plants than we anticipated and we were slightly concerned about our own water intake," David de Rothschild told CNN.

"We took the decision to drink the water ourselves [instead of water the garden]. It was a sad day when the last of our kale wilted but we had a very good spinach omelette and said a fond farewell to it."

 
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