SV Sloepmouche review The Hunter & The Gatherer

Photo by Inge Wallumrød on

Liveaboard cruisers, Jackie Lee and Luc Callebut share their thoughts on our latest book, The Hunter & The Gatherer. Check out their review below.

The Hunter and The Gatherer is a global treasure chest of cultural cuisine and a philosophy for living on the sea.

When we started our sailing life in 1992, one of the first things we did was join the Seven Seas Cruising Association because of their philosophy to Leave a Clean Wake, and we obtained a, now-out-of-print, book called Sailing the Farm, a survival guide to homesteading on the ocean, by Ken Neumeyer, a hippy dippy kind of book about eating sprouts, gathering seaweed and self-sufficiency aboard.

Now, 30 years later, we discover the 21st century version of this book, The Hunter and The Gatherer, by Catherine Lawson and David Bristow.  They talk about garnering food from the wild, growing your own mini farm aboard, and tips for being self-sufficient while being respectful to the natural world. But now they speak to today’s sailors who have refrigerators and freezers, and occasional access to supermarkets that fly-in fresh foods or ship in ingredients from around the globe.

What is this book in essence?  Is it the right book for your boat galley? Well, I could not say it better than they say it themselves in the Intro:

“This is a book for ocean loving foodies striving for better health, greater self-sufficiency and a tiny footprint on the sea… During our years living on the water, we’ve learnt that being self-sufficient, stepping back just a little from supermarket-led supply chains, and living simply at sea can empower you with an immense sense of freedom.

Just the pre-recipe portion of the book is a treasure, especially for newbies faced with cutting the umbilical cord binding them to their land-based feeding supply and pharmacy. There are sections on making the transition to a small galley, keeping bugs out of rice, sprouting to maximize nutrition from compact seeds and grains, free food from foraging deserted islands, tricks with spices and DIY condiments to liven recipes and save on precious refrigerator space.

Catherine eases your letting go of toxic repellents, drugs, and cleaning products in her chapter, Galley Remedies and Natural First Aid.  You almost want to get seasick (keyword ALMOST) to test out her Tummy Calming Sorbet and Ice recipe!

The book is infused with stunning photos of dream anchorages and in-and-out-of-the-water encounters with wildlife, native people, and family outings. The recipe photos are no less eye-catching and profoundly drool-inducing with titles like: Cape Flattery Spanish Mackerel with Mango salad; Quick Sri Lankan Curry; Flowering Ginger Crab; Coconut Panko Prawns; Tuscan Tomato Salad; Steamed Nepali Momos.

And so-oo many tempting drinks and desserts, like: Coconut Strawberry Shakes; Avocado Chocolate Mousse; 5 Minute Lemon Cake; Chili Lime Ice cream!

A few caveats about this cookbook, though: 1) it’s definitely biased to East Asian seasonings and flavors. 2) Apart from 5 Ingredient Coconut Cake and a few others, the recipes have a good-sized ingredients list. (To achieve the intensity and richness of East Asian dishes). But while some ingredients called for may be a challenge depending on your hemisphere, many recipes like BBQ Fish Laab use ingredients which almost everyone has as galley staples. 3) You should love cooking, creating, and learning new tricks.

That being said, there’s more to this book than intriguing recipes. I especially enjoy Catherine’s insights about food and health, sweeteners: natural and processed, vegans and omnivores, gluten and gluten-free, and palm oil’s threat to natural ecosystems.

To conclude, I again quote the authors, “We call these recipes faraway food, and create them for people who love to eat well, but love to escape more.”

“Most of all, we want you to be tantalized by good, fresh, sustainable food and all the amazing ways you can grow, catch, forage, harvest, and cook with it.”

Jackie Lee and her partner Luc Callebut are liveaboard sailors on SV Sloepmouche. Luc is a lifetime Commodore of the Seven Seas Crusing Association, and the couple have been cruising together since 1984. They run a blog Tropical Sailing Life, and regularly share their adventures on YouTube.

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