The Trade Wind Foodie
This book is written, as the title suggests, with the dual purpose of regaling the reader with an account of Rod and Lu Heikell's most recent circumnavigation, while giving copious advice and information on eating out, provisioning and catering on board along their 30,000 mile plus route.
The account of the journey itself is brought to life in three ways. There is the narrative, which takes the reader all the way from Gibraltar, across the Atlantic and through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific, up through South east Asia, down to Sri Lanka and India, then running the gauntlet of the Somali pirates and up the Red Sea to the familiar waters of the Mediterranean.
It's a tale of contrasts: gale force winds, calms, hazardous harbours, brand new marinas, colonial relics, ancient ports little-changed over the centuries, turquoise waters and palm-fringed beaches, vast oil refineries, whales and dolphins, sea snakes, spectacular sunsets, thunder and lightning, tropical heat, chilly New Zealand spring, friendly locals, corrupt officials, all interspersed with fascinating details of the historical background.
For each section of their journey there is a summary of each day's log, easy to pick out as they are all in a cream box and a blue 'handwriting' font that makes them stand out. Finally there is a series of boxes throughout the narrative in a pale duck egg blue, with additional information comprising more or less anything of particular interest.
A lot of these items are food-related, such as the strange fruits one sees in Malaysia, or the wonderful beef of Vanuatu, but others are unrelated either to food or to each other, such as the dangers of saltwater crocs and box jellyfish in north east Australia, and an anecdote about an over-filled gas bottle that had to be thrown in the water where it leaped up and down to the horror of the soldiers patrolling Galle Harbour in Sri Lanka, who assumed it was a Tamil torpedo! This book however is also a sailor's guide to eating your way around the world. The first section of the book is a general guide to cooking on board, with lots of hints that apply to any boat owner, not just a circumnavigator.
This is followed by the narrative of the trip outlined above. But in this case look out for the boxes in an eye-catching dark green merging into blue and very easy to pick out as you flick through. There is a box for each of the main ports or area where Skylax stopped. All the boxes are entitled, "Ashore in (name of port)" and follow an identical format: a brief introduction, then a section entitled "Provisions", which gives details of markets, supermarkets, shops, and how to get to them. The last part is called "Eating out". This does not contain just the names of recommended restaurants and cafes, but also the sorts of food to look out for.
The final section of the book is Rod and Lu's collection of recipes tried, tested and honed through the experience of many years' sailing. These are wonderful, practical recipes, and I can't wait to try the Moroccan Minted Beef and the Prawn Saganaki, to name just two.
I suspect I will never need Lu's advice on killing and preparing a tuna, wahoo or mahi-mahi, but you certainly don't need to sail round the world to use the recipes; you don't even need to swap your kitchen for the galley. I love this book. It's on my Christmas list and it would make a great Christmas present for a sailing friend.