How much rice is alot? How much is too much? I think in the average household, in the average neighborhood, there is probably the remains of a two or five pound bag...and possibly a replacement if the original bag is running low. I wonder what the average yearly consumption of rice is in America, because aboard Arden, I now have somewhere close to 25 pounds of rice. Yes, you read that correctly, 25 pounds. Now, its not that I like rice that much, but, it stores easily, keeps well, goes with a lot of other dishes, and, it is pretty simple to fix. But 25 pounds? Even I realize that may be a bit much. Having read a good bit, well some, about preparing food and provisioning for a voyage, I began to squirrel away food here and there in preparation for the upcoming cruise. Well perhaps not this cruise, but, whatever cruise I eventually embarked on. So every grocery trip, I bought extra. An extra can of beans, an extra jar of peanut butter, a pound or 2 of corn meal. Boxes of corn muffin mix on sale, and potatos when the price was right. Then at some point, I realized I had A LOT of food aboard. (take for example the 25 pounds of rice)
Prior to sailing north to Solomons, I did take an inventory of what food items I had aboard the boat. Just about every book I have read on cruising recommends keeping an inventory, and keeping it up on a daily basis, so that there is always a good count on how many cans of baked beans there are and how low you are really getting on potatos. Somewhere buried in my notepads and notebooks that list still exists. I intend to dig it out this upcoming week and get a fix on what I had and what I have now. I can most assuredly say, I have much, much more now than I did then. Over the course of 6 months, yes I have been in Solomons that long, it is astounding how much accumulation you get from an extra can of this and an extra can of that...hence the 25 pounds of rice.
I didn't set out to hoard food. I have never been a POW, a recluse, abused, or institutionalized. I have never truly known hunger, not like all those starving children in Africa that wanted my Brussels sprouts when I was a child. (that was a huge motivation for me to clean my plate when I was not of a mind to eat all I was given - "think of all those starving children in Africa" my mother would say, and in my mind or under my breath I would say..."if they want it that bad, pack this up and send it to them", because i am not sure even a starving child anywhere would want Brussels sprouts) I don't even know when having enough food on the boat became such a driving issue - I don't think it has reached the level of obsession, but it is close. I think the 3 things that worry me the most about long distance cruising is having enough water, food, and fuel. And I have realized that the fear of not having enough is really becoming a big thing for me. Perhaps it stems from the fact I have a reasonably good income now, and when I cruise I will be on a fairly small fixed income, so it makes sense to put aside for the future. Maybe it is not knowing what food will be available when I make land fall at all the far flung places I will visit while I am out exploring. (like they have never heard of baked beans or canned tuna in Key West) No matter, the point is, I have hoarded. I have set aside so much it borders on the ridiculous - again, consider the 25 pounds of rice that now occupy space on board my boat. In the few days I will publish my inventory, and let you draw your own conclusions of whether I have enough, or too much, food aboard. I will welcome comments and suggestions, but be advised, I do not eat canned squid in ink sauce, no matter how desperate I am, squid is still bait.
Keep in mind I plan on sailing for about 4 1/2 months, and I am actually curious to see how far my food stocks will last without replenishment.