If You Can’t Take the Heat . . .
There eventually comes a time when
There eventually comes a time whenPractical Sailor’s editor suddenly realizes he has picked the wrong person to lead a test. Such was the case with our test of galley ranges (page 26). The chief tester for that evaluation was Theresa Nicholson. She is my wife, although I often think this is only because I proposed off the coast of Colombia, when she could either say "yes," or endure a very uncomfortable silence for the next 700 miles to the Galapagos.
My misjudgment regarding the stove assignment became clear as soon as the four test ranges moved into our garage.
"Can I kick these things?" she asked.
"No . . . I’m fairly certain that a kick-test is not in the protocol."
"Well, what kind of test is this?" she grumbled, grabbing the time-honored test protocol that previous Practical Sailor editors—all males— had devised. "One day, the cook is going to want to kick the hell out of the stove, so it’s got to be able to take it."
"Well, they’re pretty expensive," I ventured meekly. "Besides, we’ve got several other tests: the gimbal test, the boil test, safety tests . . ."
She scowled. "You’re not even baking anything?! Men! You can leave now. I’ve got work to do."
Some background is appropriate. I am a lousy cook. Theresa, on the other hand, is a terrific cook (one of many motives behind my well-timed proposal). By my reckoning, she has cooked 2,000-plus meals in various galleys, most of them using an old, four-burner Shipmate stove aboard our former ketch, Tosca. The cast-aluminum beast was not gimballed, plagued by corrosion, and had an overhead oven that nearly crushed Theresa in a mean cross-sea.
You could say she has a hate-hate relationship with galley stoves. Still, she somehow always manages to conjure great meals in the worst of weather. That feat is even more impressive when you consider that for five of her 11 years cooking aboard Tosca, the Shipmate’s oven burners were rusted beyond repair. The oven’s demise, however, was my good fortune. It gave Theresa the chance to perfect my favorite treat on a passage: no-bake cookies (see recipe above).
The nice thing about the cookies is you don’t need a plush $1,200 range to make them. They’ll come out just fine on the $80 Princess Bright Spark (see page 30), or even a grill. If, however, the ship’s cook is insisting on getting the best new stove—one that doesn’t mind being kicked—get the Force 10. It can take a beating, and it bakes well, too.
If you have any problem with this advice, you can talk to my wife.