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Review of The One Pan Galley Gourmet

A Cookbook Perfect for Small-Boat Cruising Sailors


One Pan Galley Gourmet cookbook cover


Authors Don Jacobson and John Roberts first started developing recipes for backpacking trips, an activity that is similar in some ways to cruising on a small boat. As the title of this sailing cookbook suggests, the emphasis is on recipes for simple, one-pot cooking. But for these two gourmands, this doesn’t mean dumping a can of beef stew in that pot. They insist on “something fresh, with crisp green vegetables, a succulent sauce, and that toothsome, satisfying, filling feeling only real food can give … something to be savored, not tolerated.”

Cooking Philosophy

To simplify cooking in a small galley with perhaps only a single-burner stove, all recipes are designed for cooking in one frying pan—or one pot, pressure cooker, or oven dish. Clean-up like preparation should be easy, for sailors have to attend to many things other than cooking and washing dishes.

All the recipes produce two average portions for a cruising couple but can easily be halved or doubled as needed. They do not require a lot of water, a precious commodity for many small-boat cruisers, and will cook just fine on a galley stove producing less heat than your big one at home.

Although this is a small book with a total of only 170 recipes, they are quite varied, suitable for both herbivore and carnivore, with choices for both those with spicy tastes and those who may need blander food after a day of rollicking waves. You couldn’t eat from this book for months at home, but it forms a good basis for meal planning for those who might cruise only a few weeks a year.

Most of these recipes are also designed for hearty appetites. As the authors suggest, “diet at home but eat on your boat”—since you’re likely burning a lot more calories while sailing.


Interestingly, following the opening chapters, this cookbook is organized around different cooking utensils.

  • The Cruising Galley. This section discusses different types of galley equipment, which is not all that useful, since most boat owners already have their stove and icebox or refrigerator—but there’s a good section on the virtues of a pressure cooker for the uninitiated.

  • The Food. Here are some good tips for menu planning and packaging items for conditions on the boat.

  • The Frying Pan.This section and the next two organize groups of recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and dessert. In this section are included meals cooked in a frying pan—or a pot or oven in the following sections. Interesting recipes include Huevos and Tacos, Delhi (curry) Chicken with Rice, Eggplant Ragout, and a classic Mom’s Goulash.

  • The Pot. Interesting recipes include Icebox Chicken with Stuffing, Voyageur Pea Soup, Chow-Hound Chowder, Vegetarian Chili, Beef Ratatouille, and Stuffed Peppers under Pressure. The Orange Pudding sounds just delightful for a cockpit dessert as the sun sets in a quiet anchorage.

  • The Oven. For breakfast try Ed’s German Pancake (apples baked in a cinnamon batter) or Rasher Cake while the oven takes the night chill off the galley. For lunch or dinner a barbecued chicken would be nice, or a tasty Chesapeake Paella if you’ve got fresh seafood. Maybe a vegetarian One-Pan Pizza or Solid Squash Surprise? Need something hearty? Try a baked Shepherd’s Pie or Red-Eye Stew of beef. You get the picture. And what baked dessert could be more classic on a sailboat than Powerful Gingerbread?

The Bottom Line

I haven’t tried all these recipes yet, but the ones I have indicate these sailor-chef-authors have put together a fine assortment of meals to keep almost every sailor happy whether underway or at anchor. Just as important, their philosophy works: spend less time cooking and cleaning up and more time enjoying your meals.

Product Details

  • The One-Pan Galley Gourmet : Simple Cooking on Boats by Don Jacobson and John Roberts
  • Spiral-bound: 192 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine, 2004
  • List price: $16.95 - Amazon.com price: $11.53

Here’s another great idea for cooking on a sailboat: Cooking with a Pressure Cooker.

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