Charlotte and Alexander Gannet are cooking outdoor
Charlotte is cutting the carrots while Alexander is frying the onions on the fire.

This is a question we get asked quite a lot. Good food is necessary for moral and to keep me going in the kayak. Since it is rather difficult to shop on a deserted island, we take food for seven days with us. I will write some in-depth stories about certain meals. But for now, a general idea of the foods we eat will do.

Breakfast is porridge with raisins as one of my 5 a day fruit and vegetable intake. We try to find the big rolled oats for extra fiber. Fresh milk is not an option so we will have to work with instant dried milk powder. Hot porridge is a great way to start the day, especially when living outdoors and exercising a lot with the kayak.

Lunch is bread with real butter, cheddar cheese, and British marmalade. Finding the right bread is sometimes a problem. We like to eat wholemeal bread but the Scots like their white slices as toast in the morning. So, not much wholemeal bread available, especially on the islands.
When buying bread, check the sell-by dates. When it does not last the seven day’s, it is not worth buying. You don’t want to end up with moldy green spots. You might think, bread in a kayak or worse, 3 loaves of bread in a kayak, does that fit? Well, not entirely, the loaves might have a funny shape after beings squished behind my skeg for 5 days.

As a snack after kayaking Alexander will eat gingernuts. As you can see in this foto collage, this is the way to eat them. Alex is an expert gingernut-eater. Did you know, ginger is very good against seasickness? But I don’t think that is the reason why Alex loves them so much. Me on the other hand, like to have some Orkney oatmeal biscuits with cheese. Not too much sugary stuff for me. And we might have an apple if we are lucky.

Now, for dinner, the dehydrated stuff as advertised? Not for me!!! I need some real food for moral. Besides the fact that those dehydrated meals are very expensive, they taste like crap. So, no bags, sachets, ready-made sauces or Pot of Noodle. We find too many of those plastic cups as litter on the beach.
For dinner, the choice is wholemeal rice or couscous or pasta. It depends on the water supply. When there is plenty of water and firewood we cook pasta. When those two are in short supply we have either rice or couscous.
We always travel with fresh vegetables; onion, carrot, courgette, leek, sweet potato, whatever is available. In some shops, the choice is limited and in others abundant. I add some flavor from my bag of tricks, some mellow peanut sauce or some siracha sauce for spice, some dried coconut milk and Indian spices for a tasty curry. Somehow we like to eat big and spicy flavors when eating ‘al fresco’.
As a source of protein, we buy 6 eggs and extra cheese. But for the real protein, we fish. Preferably mackerel but Pollack is welcome too. Or we might find cockles or periwinkles at low tide.

We finish our dinner with a nice cup of tea. Herbal in a tea-egg. It’s a sweet tasting tea made of licorice root, anise, fennel, fenugreek and dill seeds. Just empty out the tea egg and you are ready to go.
And to end the day we have a cup of cider and a handful of nuts.

What, no chocolate, crisps, ice cream or booze? I could not live without chocolate or crisps! That is no holiday!
Well, you know, chocolate melts and crisps will end up as powder in the kayak. Besides, neither foodstuff gives us the right kind of energy to keep on going in the kayak. No use of taking that on board of our little kayaks. And heavy alcohol is painful in the muscles when burning it off kayaking the next day. Very inconvenient so better not get sozzled.

Binge lunch, the bread didn’t make it to the picture.

I do have my weekly binge at the grocery shops where we buy our food. We buy crisps and lovely fresh salads, houmous and fresh bread (way too healthy, I know). We might go out for lunch in a restaurant and have pizza or seafood. Just like ordinary people on a holiday. So you needn’t feel sorry for me.

charlotte doing the dishes
Someone has got to do the dishes.

Charlotte Gannet

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