Cooking with Herbs — A Seafarer’s Perspective

Sack of potatoes, by Torstan Detlaff from Pexels

“Hey, Johnny, what’s for dinner?”
I peered into the galley window. John had a truly enormous lump of frozen mince wedged into the top of a cooking pot and was attempting to pour a sack of muddy potatoes around the sides.
“Spuds and mince, good Irish meal,” he announced proudly.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not even going to discuss the mince with you. Wash the spuds.”
He turned his appalled gaze towards me. “But sure, if I wash the spuds, they’ll be after tasting of fairy liquid!”
I decided that overhauling the fire hydrant could wait, and went inside to teach him how to wash potatoes. There’s a definite downside to sailing on a ship without a cook.

The potatoes were duly washed, water was added, and the whole mess was melting into the cooking pot, so I went back outside to work on my fire hydrant. Just as I attacked the first bolt, I heard Jim, the other AB walk into the galley. For reasons I’m sure you’ll understand, we tried to keep a close eye on John when it was his turn to cook.

“Hey, Johnny, what’s for dinner?” asked Jim.
The predictable answer of, “Spuds and mince,” floated out.
“Have you put any herbs in with the mince?”
“Herbs? What the f&*# are you on about, herbs?”
“Herbs. We got herbs with the stores in Amsterdam. Did you put any in with the mince?”

I couldn’t help it: I peeped in the window. John looked horrified.
“What would I be putting that in the food for?”
“Not those herbs, you f*$%ing Irish idiot!” growled Jim, as he started searching the galley cupboard. I laughed so hard that I had to sit down. It was quite some time before I got back to my fire hydrant.

For the curious, we all managed to survive John’s week in the galley. I’m still not entirely sure how.

All names changed to protect the innocent.

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