It is a bit of a sad day being back in Germany right now. Having checked the weather forecast for the coming days I was forced to cancel my plans to travel to France again, re-board the catamaran and resume the transfer cruise of the Excess 11 multihull to Germany: We´d need Westerly winds in the English Channel to proceed, now the forecast shows a week of a strong Easterly with wind speeds of up to 24 knots. Of course, that will create a very unpleasant, if not unbearable, wave system head on – impossible for the cat. Well, I don´t give in to a sad mood and think of nicer times instead: Like our “German day” aboard the cat two weeks ago.
Like I do after every major sailing trip before, I will have a special recipe as well for the catamaran trip. This time it is different: No “real” cooking, in fact. As we had the premise not to use the catamaran full fledge, trying to preserve its “brand new” state as much as we could, I decided that the food aboard should be easy and convenient too. So we ate from paper-maché plates, had wooden cutlery and – of course – convenience food like canned Chili con Carne, vacuum-packed pre-cooked rice and strange, funny convenience food, like this one: Stoeffler´s Choucroute du Jour.
The antipode of cooking
I am German, undeniably. In this, I of course love sausage, Sauerkraut and potatoes, it´s a German treat. When we were shopping at Carrefour in Les Sables prior to the trip and I saw the packaged dish I was amazed. First of all, seeing a so strongly German dish in a French supermarket so far away from our neighboring borders, secondly, my curiosity was awakened. Back then I reckoned to my sailing mates that “a day will come we will feel some homesickness” and we´d celebrate a “German day”.
I am sorry to not present a kind of sophisticated recipe this time, it was rather a simple ripping off of plastic covering, revealing the contents of Stoeffler´s tasty dish: A slice of bacon, two sausages, a huge portion of Sauerkraut and – yes just one – one single potato. If you, dearest reader, wonder if it is true that we Germans love Sauerkraut or if this is just some bullshit prejudice from a distant past, well, it is actually true. We love Sauerkraut. Most of us. And you can imagine the faces of my two sailing mates when I unboxed this very German French-made dish. It was a mixture of “not seriously?!” and “yeah, real food!”
The preparation was as easy as ABC: I parted the veggie part and the meat and heated it up in minutes. See, I love cooking with real food, with fresh, nice ingredients, put together and made something new out of it, seasoned with aromatic spices. But sometimes you simply cannot cook. Like on our catamaran: On the one hand the owner requested us to not use the catamaran to full extend, so we tried to comply, on the other hand the swell was too high and the cat does not have a gimbaled stove.
Sailing and convenience food
After max 8 minutes the dish was readily prepared. It was a sunny, slightly warm day and our mood was high. Preparing a cardboard plate and a set of fresh wooden cutlery laying nicely on a piece of paper towel I did all I could to make it comfortable. Of course, our “German Day” was just a joke and a caricature of itself, but behind our smiling faces and all the joke we cracked … a little bit … we gave into some longing for home.
I tasted fairly well to our surprise. Not everything the food industry makes is sh***t, one must say. I am a bit trained, let´s put it this way, in eating convenience food from my own small boat which is a 27 feet racer: The “galley” consists of a one-flame-burner and there is absolutely no space nor equipment to cook real food. So I had to try pre-cooked rice and potatoes and a lot of canned food. If you look closely and check the ingredients, you may also find really good canned food where there is no stabilizers, no chemicals and no harmful stuff in it. In this, it can be a good alternative.
Good food – good mood!
For us, as we ate Stoeffler´s Choucroute du jour, it was great fun. And a strange sense of humor: A French-made German Dish eaten in UK-waters off Guernsey-coast which are two tiny islands just a stone through away from the French coast. When I saw us and assessed the situation, I said: “Isn´t this the European idea in itself? Being aware of one´s history and culture, taking the best of it and put it together to create something greater, peacefully, open and tolerant.” Well, if it would be seen like this by all people …
It was just minutes later that we discovered that the (in)famous Race of Alderney had us and sucked us in like a Black Hole, we quickly finished our all-European dish, washed it down with a Belgian 0,0 % non-alcoholic beer and tackled the problem. Thanks, Stoeffler-company for providing this heartwarming moment, later, in harbour, I promised myself to have a real “German Day” with real German food when I would be back home.
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