Saturday, December 01, 2012

Makin' Toast and Saving Space & Energy

This boat, with it's beefy generator and what not, has a lot more 110V gadgets than our last boat had.  One such item is a toaster.  We never had a toaster on Rasmus and yet we ate toast and peanut butter for breakfast just about every single day.  We ate it so much, in fact, that this time around Scott asked in genuine wonderment, "Now that we have a fridge on this boat, I wonder what our "go to" breakfast will be?  Will it still be toast and peanut butter?"  His question was not tounge in cheek or sarcastic.  It was legit.  I am that uncreative in the galley.

Anyway, I am getting off topic.

We never had a toaster, but we did have a stove and we found toasting over an open flame with an old fashioned heat diffuser worked just fine.  We plopped our toast on it, watched it closely, turned and flipped it a copule times and voila - perfect toast in minutes (well, *most* of the time...toast made over an open flame is more prone to burning).  By the time we got to Trinidad, however, the ole diffuser was a rusty mess and needed to be retired.  It did not make it on to this boat.

That said, just because we can run more 'gadgets' on this boat doesn't mean we will.  Energy consumption is still something we will be very cognizant of and frugal with and firing up a generator to run an AC powered gadget just to make some toast makes zero sense to us.  As such, we opted to get rid of the toaster (one less bulky thing to store!) and go back to the way that served us so well for two years:  toasting over an open flame.  Home, home on the range....

This time however, I found a great little camping toaster.  I have been using this thing for the last week and I love it.  It folds up to about the size of a CD, is stainless steel, and works great.  As I mentioned earlier, you do need to keep an eye on it and turn your toast a couple of times so that it browns evenly.  You also should keep an eye on it so you don't start a fire.  This little puppy gets HOT and if left unattended, your bread WILL catch on fire.
Another thing this boat has is a microwave.  I am so tempted to just get rid of it because all I see is storage space for food when I look at the thing, but Scott thinks we should cruise for a while and see if it's worth keeping.  We hardly ever used a microwave on land and we (obviously) didn't have one on our last boat.  Which brings me to a question I have for you wonderful folks:  Do any of you cruise with a microwave?  Have you found it useful or does it just take up space and power?  I would love to hear your thoughts because, frankly, I hate microwaves and would just as soon put this thing on Craiglist.  Any takers?
Oh, and yeah, it's looking like my "go to" breakfast will still be toast and peanut butter.  Sigh.


Mike said...

Hi guys

That is EXACTLY the toaster that we have although it has been used so much, it really does need to be replaced.

As for the Microwave, we don't have one (of course). There was one on the Leopard we chartered though and we did use it to warm up some things (the generator needed to be running to use it). I would do as Scott suggests and keep it for a bit. You never know, you might like it.


KitchenKiki said...

If it makes you feel any better, I cook a lot, and extensively, but our usual breakfast is peanut butter toast on land (when I have my "real" kitchen.) on our cruising vacation, without a toaster, I made eggs a few times, hash browns (using hungry jack dehydrated potatoes in a carton) and one day of pancakes using the pour and serve.
I'm not sure how I would adapt to live aboard. I cook too big.
I will look at one of those camp toasters before our next cruise.

Tammy Swart said...

Peanutbutter Toast is our go-to breakfast as well. When we moved aboard Dos Libras, I was in mourning that we wouldn't have easy toast... so I just bought a toaster. It does take a lot of juice to make those two little pieces of toast... so I think we will probably ditch it when we cut the docklines. While we live in our homeport... I'm keepin' it!

Our boat also came with a microwave. We seldom use it. I've been eying it with thoughts of what to do with all the lovely space behind it as well. But I think we'll leave it there until we see how it goes once we set sail.

Our boat has an inverter that doesn't require the starting of the engine or generator to use the 110 so it's a bit more easy for us. I think waiting it out to see what your needs are once you're out there is the best way to go.

You may find that the conveniences you did without on your first cruise are more attractive with the addition of a third crew member. Your hands may be full with other things making those conveniences a little bit of heaven.

Anonymous said...

You can always store things INSIDE the microwave so its not taking up all that much space. We put eggs and bread in ours to keep them from breaking or getting smashed. If we end up at a marina with shore power then sometimes we find the microwave helpful to quickly thaw out frozen meat, warm up coffee, etc.

Carolyn Shearlock - The Boat Galley said...

We used the microwave for two things: Dave would make a bag of popcorn at least 5 days a week (this is his one big culinary accomplishment) and we stored the cameras in it.

The cameras -- or any small electronics -- are actually a big deal. The oven and microwave work as a Faraday cage in case of a lightning strike and will protect the items inside. Whenever a storm threatened, we'd pop the laptop, handheld GPS and VHF in the oven, and the cameras and cell phone in the microwave.

I wrote a little more about this in

The Caribbean can have some wicked thunderstorms . . . so you might want to keep that microwave!

Brett Anderson said...

Hi Guys, I had a microwave on Liberty and found that I used it a lot, especially when out sailing. It was a quick and easy way to reheat anything from noodles to coffee to a quick hot sandwich. I considered getting rid of it, but A) I single-handed a LOT and needed a quick way to heat something so that I was not below for long while under way (Even though there are 2 of you consider that you will have solo night watches when the other person is not awake and you want some quick hot water for tea or coffee or a snack), and B) I had a 1000 AH battery bank and found that short bursts of microwave (1-5 minutes) did not really affect my power that much.

Just my $.02!


Windtraveler said...

@Mike - cool. I will probably be sending Scott a Christmas present in grenada, want me to include another toaster for you? Will you be there?
@Kitchenkiki- even great cooks eat toast and PB?! YES, that DOES make me feel better :), thanks.
@Tammy -awesome points. Thanks, friend!
@Anonymous - my blonde-ness I actually never even THOUGHT of storing anything INSIDE it...that is brilliant. This is why I love our readers!!
@Carolyn - you are seriously my cruising GURU. Period. Never thought of that...the microwave will definitely stay for the time being! Great points, thank you (as always) for taking the time to share!
@Brett - thanks for your .02!! We'll take it ;)

Katie Smith said...

On Buckeye, we use our microwave, coffeepot and toaster all the time. At least one of them runs once a day. We've found that since they don't run for long periods of time, it really doesn't affect our 1000ah battery bank too much. We have 520 watts solar plus wind generator that seem to keep up 99% of the time. Occasionally, on a cloudy day, we'll run our Honda 2000.

Our go to breakfast is cereal! Cheerios for Ben and oatmeal (made in the microwave) for me!

Would the microwave be good for heating baby bottles/food rather than heating over the stove?


Chris Witzgall said...

We are among the microwaveless, but if we had one, I think it would get used. The best use that comes to mind would be on passage, heating up pre-packaged meals, or perhaps some hot popcorn on night watch! This would only make sense if the microwave was powered through an inverter.

Neophyte Cruiser said...

We have a microwave. It was on the boat when we bought it. So far, its primary use has been for storage. As far as intended use, my wife uses it when we're in a marina to warm her coffee cream. We've lived with it for the last six years and decided it would be better use of space to remove it and replace it with proper storage. We have never used it cruising; reheating pouched meals can be efficiently performed in hot/boiling water. If the latter approach is used, a large thermos to capture hot water can help in saving energy.

Mike said...

We have a microwave without a genset. It makes for a nice backup if propane runs out or in hot regions. Underway is no real issue at all with the engine feeding the inverter and at anchor the solar panels would we more then enough to rechage the bank. Ditto for the a/c. Doesnt really make sense at anchor for us but is really nice once the batteries are topped off and the engines alternator can run the a/c via the inverter.

Just our thoughts on keeping AC powered equipment on board while cruising.

Robert Salnick said...

We have a microwave on Eolian, and use it frequently. Although it draws 80 amps thru the inverter when it in use, it only runs for minutes at a time.

In fact, it consumes less energy on a daily basis than the espresso maker (which Jane tells me is USCG required equipment).

The big dog in energy consumption is refrigeration, by far.

s/v Eolian

Deb said...

We used to have a camping toaster, but I would burn the toast more often than not. After a lot of experimenting, I ended up using our griddle, buttering the bread before and putting it on the griddle, flipping it once. Voilá! Perfect golden toast every time. Also one less galley accessory to keep stored as I use the griddle all the time for pancakes anyway.

S/V Kintala

Jessica said...

We LOVE our microwave. But like my husband told a fellow cruiser last week, him and I are not foodies and come from the Hot Pocket generation so a microwave was a staple in our lives back on land.
For our boat we have a 700 watt microwave which can't make popcorn for crap (boo!) but does a great job heating up leftovers which is what we normally use it for. I know, I know, we're probably just being lazy. But when we grounded and all the jostling caused our microwave to bite it, well that was the next worst thing that happened to us after losing our anchor.

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