September 12, 2010

Unwanted Wildlife in Our Rice

Our rice has bugs. I noticed them the other night. I rinsed the rice and little black bugs floated to the surface. I thought briefly about tossing it—but there are no stores here. So while I dream about living in a place where I can throw away buggy food I get to embrace the 'waste nothing' lifestyle and add rice to the list of flour, polenta and pasta as things that need to be rinsed or sifted before use.

We're really careful when it comes to bugs—we don't bring cardboard aboard, we don't wear shoes inside(cockroach eggs) we try to freeze or refrigerate questionable grains (it kills some of the critters or at least slows their growth...), we transfer everything from the store bags to solid containers and, when needed, we banish buggy food to its own space. This all helps, but it doesn't make us immune.

The first time we went cruising I thought that having bugs was like having a social disease. We were expecting friends for dinner and the pasta I had purchased had little brown bugs. I was confident that I rinsed them away—but I couldn't decide about disclosure. Do you tell your dinner guests that there was unwanted protein running around in their food just an hour ago? Evan voted no (which probably won't surprise people who know him...) but I couldn't lie.

While watching our new friends as they lifted a forkful of pasta into their mouths I blurted, 'there were bugs in that.'

Our friends calmly chewed the pasta and one pointed with her fork at the fresh bread they'd brought, which was in my hand, slathered with butter and half consumed, "there were weevils in there."

Bugs are one of the less glamorous aspects of cruising. And people try not to talk about them. Just like rotting eggs, moldy fruit and flooding water tanks (which we also have) bugs don't really fit with the image of carefree tropical living. But keeping food edible (always choose the freshest unrefrigerated eggs you can find—fresh eggs will be bumpy at the ends, smooth eggs with faint dark spots are older and when you bring produce aboard rinse everything in a mild bleach and water solution then dry thoroughly before packing it away) is an ongoing effort. Especially as we get further and further from places that have stores.

The good news is nobody seems to be squeamish on our boat—although all of us do draw the line at anything that has reached the larvae stage...

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3 comments:

Red Charlotte said...

Just linked to this post over on www.thekeel.com. LOVE this topic and so glad you approach it with such candor and humor!

Red Charlotte said...

Oh, here's the link: http://thekeel.com/index.php/forum/12-galley/4730-bugs-aboard#4730

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

thanks for the comments and the link:) it is one of *those* topics-important to cover oogy to contemplate...