Provisioning is one of our major undertakings before starting on our journey to the Caribbean. Food is a lot more easily available and a lot cheaper back in the States. It’s impossible to stock enough on board that we never have to shop and some items are widely available in the Bahamas anyway, so we try to be very strategic in what items we stock up on. Based on our experience last year, we made up a list of things to provision.
For the most part I think we really did well. We’re reaching the bottom of our larder just as we start gearing up to head back home and we certainly haven’t gone hungry or felt deprived. However, several of the items we loaded up on just ended up being dead weight. In retrospect, here are a few things that we’ll probably skip or at least significantly cut back on when we provision up again in September:
Beer – This one really surprised me. Beer in the Bahamas is expensive; buying local beer by the case at a Nassau liquor store runs close to $2 a can. We therefore stocked up on 7 cases for me (Cindy is not much of a beer drinker) and figured once I ran out I’d just switch to rum drinks (rum is cheap in the islands). We’re going to end up bringing home close to half the amount we took with us. Maybe in the heat of summer it will be different but most of the time unless I really worked up a sweat, I opted for wine or a cocktail rather than reach for a cold brew.
On the other hand…we stocked 19 12-packs of Diet Dr Pepper, Cindy’s drug of choice. You can occasionally find regular Dr Pepper in the islands but not the diet version. And no, Cindy will be the first to tell you, they are not the same. We hit that one just about on the head; she should be downing her last one just as we clear back into the US.
Pasta – It keeps well and we love it, but we just didn’t end up making that many red sauce dishes. I think it was largely because white rice ended up being our go-to carbohydrate staple. This means we will also be bringing home several cartons of Pomi tomato sauce as well. The discovery of dried alfredo sauce and boxed shelf-stable stuffed tortellini will keep pasta in our pantry, but not nearly as much as we took this time.
Brown Rice – We’re healthy eaters and love the chewy, nutty taste of brown rice and the fiber it provides, and our pressure cooker cuts the cooking time down to a manageable 20 minutes. But with the more Caribbean-style dishes that we made, white rice just worked better.
Sweets Other Than Werther’s or Mint-Chocolate Moravian Cookies – Even the Dove Chocolate bites we packed along weren’t favorites. I think the problem here was the same one we encountered with our selection of steaks (see below).
Mint-Chocolate Cliff Bars – I ate these like they were going out of style at home and Cindy and I figured this was a good way for me to get additional daily protein. We stocked up a whole tote filled with nothing but these bars…and most of them are going back home with us. Turns out you can only eat the same thing for so long until you get tired of them, no matter how much you liked them at one time.
Ramen Noodles – A camping staple and we’ve always described boat life as really luxurious camping. We brought only a few packs along and yet most of them are retrograding stateside. Just never sounded like the right thing for lunch.
Steaks (Other Than Rib-Eyes) – We found that the problem with steaks that are not rib-eyes is that they are steaks, but they are not rib-eyes. They need to be rib-eyes. Next year, we pack and freeze nothing but rib-eyes.