With Christmas and New Years' celebrations over... With last years aim of crossing an ocean crossed... As friends take their boats out of the water, or spirit them away to marinas stripped of sails thinking of earning some money here in New Zealand or travelling in a different way for a while... It feels very much like we are reaching an end of an era. And so I realised we are; when I rummaged around to find that we were down to our very last can of American bought tomatoes.
It was a happy day back in February of 2013 when a special offer saw the price of canned tomatoes drop to three cans per dollar at our local store. We had been studying the market for a while where we were working on the boat in Dickinson, Texas and knew that this was the time to buy buy buy.
We knew that there would be places over the coming years where you could expect to pay a considerable sum of money for our staple and we wanted to be sure we would never run out until we could buy them cheap again.
'Can I have eight cases please?' I asked at our local store, 'As I'm buying so many can I have a discount?' (I had to try) 'No way. They are on offer three cans for a dollar, that IS the discount' came the reply. 'You can pick them up tomorrow.'
Cans for us means one thing; tomatoes. This simplicity is very helpful when the labels come off. Argued there could always be a few odds and sods to be found; maybe an artichoke here, some chipotle chillis there, or a sauerkraut may sneak in... if they're small they may be water chestnuts, but generally all cans we carry and use are tomatoes. We mix them with beans for chilli or a herby breakfast mix; we use them as a base for many curries, pasta sauces and various soups; and I love to make pizzas whenever we can face the heat of the oven!
During the years on Impetuous our 192 cans didn't all rust and no, we didn't varnish them. Before crossing the Pacific we did re-order them, checking for damage. We had a slight list to starboard, in part caused by our food stores, so as we were going to be sailing on a port tack for a month or more, it was time to shift to port anything heavy... Who says cruisers don't think of these things!
It will be with both sadness and joy that we open that last can of tomatoes. An end of an era suggests a loss. But we will be happy to have crossed an ocean with no shortage of canned tomatoes, happy to have never paid silly money for more supplies and happy not to have died of botulism!