We cruisers frequently invite others to the boat – both cruisers and able dirt dwellers. I am usually the inviter/instigator and I love to have folks over. A week ago, we hosted on Friday night.We had invited a couple of former cruisers who are now Captain and Crew on a charter cat. They had the week off and I was delighted to offer them a relaxing evening of pizza while we all caught up beyond the past year of FaceBook posts. Shortly after the time they were expected to arrive, she contacted me via FaceBook to say that they had unexpected guests: a fellow cruising/chartering couple, their daughter, and her 15 month old son. I wish I could say that I didn’t pause before inviting everyone along, but there was a pause, and then some manic re-thinking, and then I invited everyone over, saying I easily had enough food for all. No worries.
So they came. And we had a wonderful time. They talked about the pros and cons of running charter boats. And I was once again reminded of why EW and I and don’t go that route. If you had told me that with our small marine oven, I could actually prepare pizza for six adults and one baby and have everyone served nearly at the same time – I would have denied it. (The seventh adult is gluten free and cheerfully accepted my new invention: Pizza Salad – lettuce, bunches of cut raw veggies, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and Italian dressing. For. The. Win.)
First, I made a huge batch of popcorn, salting some with our new maple/spice salt from the Canary Islands. What that does for popcorn is sinful. The baby loved it; he leaned up against his mom, facing EW, and scooping up popcorn with both hands. He also loved his pizza. He’s a great boat guest and a very good eater.
But I’m ahead of myself. Just as one of our guests teased me about not having them fill out a preference sheet, I presented—“Ta-Da” —preference pizza sheets. I had three large pizza pans, suitable for two hungry people each, and two cake tins for my own version of “personal pan pizza”. The preference sheets made everything easy. One large pizza with no olives for Mike and Rebecca, One large pizza with no peppers for EW and me, One large pizza made to Sherry’s specifications (with planned left-overs) and a personal pan for Jim and for the baby. As I made the salad, I rotated the pizzas from top shelf, bottom shelf, and bottom of the oven, making sure they didn’t burn on the bottom.
For. The. Win. Again.
Plenty of wine and beer, great conversation, easy guests, and one of the world’s perfect babies. I had it much easier than those who charter.
I’m also messier. We’ve been fortunate to be hosted by charter couples, usually when they want to practice new recipes. (Pick me! Pick me!) Invariably, they somehow make cooking and hosting and cleaning as one goes look easy and seamless. I didn’t even try. This is what my galley looked like at the end of the evening. Thankfully, EW always cheerfully and expertly assists with the clean-up. (Note that I made too much pizza.)
Two final notes:
- This isn’t the first time I’ve served pizza to a 15 month old. Thirty plus years ago, I watched my forever friend, Kathy’s baby for the day. Marc and I had a wonderful time, as did his parents who were a couple of hours late getting home. In the meantime, I (who barely cooked) had to feed Marc supper. Kathy had a French bread frozen pizza in the freezer, and I figured it was time Marc tried the finer things in life. (My excuse was that he had plenty of teeth.) He loved it. Kathy was slightly appalled but tried to hide it. Pizza became Marc’s favorite food through to adult-hood and it’s still one of his top picks. Just this past month I was delighted to see a FaceBook posting of Marc out for pizza with his two-year-old daughter. My work there is done.
- EW and I are serious about not chartering. How serious are we? The Magazine ‘All at Sea” published my article, titled: “When Cruisers Charter.” Also, you can find a list of all of my published articles in the column on the right.