We are, fingers crossed, leaving for Mexico next weekend. The truck, marvelous beast that it has been, is delaying us. It did not pass emissions and we feel it would sell faster if it did. So the mechanic will see us Wednesday and then we will leave the truck in Santa Cruz for family members to sell for us. During this week I will take advantage of the time to see my mother for one last fun visit, plus do some errands like getting a Health Certificate for Zoë and doing the last bit of non-perishable provisioning. Plus of course having a dinner party because that’s what my indomitable mother does!
Luckily planning the provisioning is pretty simple for me because I use the Paprika app – available on both Android and iOS. I mostly use it on my iPad for cooking, but for shopping I often use it on my (Android) phone and I often enter recipes using my (Mac) laptop. It works equally well on all platforms.
Getting the recipes into the app is the most time-consuming part, but even that is pretty easy if you have internet. There were a few recipes I had to enter by hand, but it turned out that even some of the hand-written recipes I had were to found on the internet, too. For example Brownies Cockaigne, the Joy of Cooking essential recipe, can be found on the internet. All you have to do once you find the recipe online is copy the URL and go to Paprika. Inside Paprika you go to the Browser menu item (see image at left) and enter the URL. Paprika brings up the browser page and you select Download to start the process. It splits the screen showing you the original page to left and the new Paprika screen at right. You can modify things, add Categories etc and when you are content, select Save and the recipe goes in your local database on your device where you can use it even with no internet. Once you sync on a remote device, when internet is available, it will also be downloaded to that device. Once you have synced the recipe it is available locally on the device.
Using Categories is useful for finding the recipes later. You create your own categories (select the + sign next to Categories). Remember that multiple categories can be assigned to any recipe. So categorize that great chicken Enchilada recipe as Entree, Poultry, and Mexican or however you might look for it. Have a special dietary category like Keto or Vegan? You also could categorize things as Simple or Complex based on how long the take to make. I have a category Passages which I use for those simple one-pot meals I like to make on passage. I even have a sub-category under Passages for the particular passage I’m planning for. Right now that’s Ensenada 2019.
Planning for a Passage
When planning for a few days or month offshore I like to pick a handful of recipes – 5 or 10 – and then repeat them for the length of the trip. So for our up-to-30-days Hawaii trip I provisioned for 3 repeats of 10 dinners and added 3 repeats of some lunch or dessert items as well. Mostly our lunches are left overs or simple cheese tortillas or some canned soup so I don’t usually plan them out very exactly. However it is helpful when planning meals to notice preparation efficiencies – if I’m having a dinner with roasted potatoes I add a few more to make hash browns the next morning. If I’m soaking chickpeas for one meal, I might add a few more and make hummus as well. I write arrows on my menus to show these sharing. This image shows my meal planning and sharing between meals:
Preparing a Shopping List
So now you have picked your meals, either by writing them down, or, easier, categorizing them with the name of this trip, like Ensenada 2019, and you are ready to prepare the shopping list. Go to each item in the list, and check that it is scaled properly (see image at left). If you want to cook for 4, or 8, use the scale and convert to size the recipe properly before making the shopping list.
Then select the Shopping Cart Icon at the top of the screen (see screenshot below). All the ingredients of the recipe will go on the shopping cart. Repeat this process for each of your meals.
Once you have put each recipe into the shopping list you’ll probably want to do some editing before heading to the store. I like to remove all the normal items that I routinely stock – salt, pepper, chicken stock, etc. These are items that I keep in bulk and do not need to buy for each meal. Then I check my provisioning list and remove any items that I have plenty of. If I have 7 cans of tomatoes and I need 3 for my list I will probably not want to shop for tomatoes so I remove them. The final thing you’ll want to check is the repeats – sometimes a recipe will say 1/2 onion, another will say minced cup of onion, etc. I combine all these (they are nicely grouped into the grocery store aisle where they are to be found) and change my list to say 3 onions or whatever.
Then my final step is usually to create two lists from the Paprika shopping list – non-perishables that I will buy a day or two before leaving, and then the perishables that I buy the day before leaving. Since I don’t have refrigeration, just an ice-box, this is important. I certainly don’t want to list more perishables than I can store. At this point I can decide to replace some of the milk with dried or UHT, or replace fresh tomatoes with canned to make storage easier.
So now my two lists are ready for shopping later this week. I think I’ll have that glass of wine while dinner finishes cooking!