The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

BCA - 40 Years of Culinary Delights

Jennifer Handley

September 5th, 2018

What memories do you have of enjoying a fabulous meal and equally memorable companionship with BCA friends somewhere in the world over the past 40 years?

Campbell and I joined BCA in October, 2002 and sixteen years later, I don’t think there has been one BCA gathering I’ve attended that hasn’t had, at a minimum, a welcome selection of beverages, and on those special occasions, an amazing assortment of tasty snacks, yummy sides, delectable mains and desserts to die for prepared in galleys large and small, whipped up in a surprisingly short period of time and produced almost as if out of thin air. It does not seem to matter where one is in the world; it can be on the dock, in a busy harbour, or in a remote anchorage far from the madding crowd but whenever a BCA burgee is seen fluttering from the halyards, we know we have found a friend or two to share Happy Hour with and/or a meal.

Food and fellowship at a BCA rendezvous

Knowing first-hand how much we enjoy a good meal and the special significance that food takes on when cruising offshore, it is not surprising to learn that BCA has, not once, but twice published a cookbook for its members.  The first, Bluewater Does it Offshore: Meals on Keels, was printed in 1988 on the occasion of BCA’s 10th anniversary.

BCA’s 10th Anniversary cookbook compiled by Alix Day, published in 1988

The second, a 100-page book with a less “saucy” title, Bluewater Cruising Chefs, was published in 1999 for the 20th anniversary.  Its publication seems to have been an association-wide effort:  there were seven people on the Cookbook Committee with Jacquie Melzer as the lead Organizer, and nearly 50 members contributed recipes. In the introductory Forward, then Commodore Malcolm Wilkinson exhorted members to save their favourite recipes for inclusion in a 30th anniversary edition, but sadly, that never came to fruition.

BCA’s second cookbook, published in 1999

We were fortunate enough to have the second cookbook aboard Camdeboo;  I think it must have been in the Leaver’s Package we received in 2006.  With seven people onboard (nine at one point!), I quickly came to appreciate how important the care and feeding of crew was to general morale and everyone’s sense of well-being.

Jelly roll for how many crew?

Our BCA cookbook was a frequent “go-to” and we started to write the date and our location in the margin whenever a recipe was used.  Looking back, I can tell which were our favourites by the number of times a date was added or a comment made about a necessary change in ingredients due to the lack of something else.  Jan Denny’s Indonesian Fish Paté, Barb Angel’s Crunchy Cabbage Salad, Glenora Doherty’s North to Alaska Corn Salad, Kathie Thompson’s Mustard Roasted Potatoes, Ronna Chisholm’s Peanut Butter Oat Squares, and Mel Muth’s Flipjack frequently graced the cockpit table (it was far too hot to sit at the salon table most of the time), but the all-time, hands-down favourite was Muriel Cienciala’s Japanese Chicken Pieces.  Camdeboo has now been back in the Pacific Northwest for seven years, but Muriel’s recipe still causes a tidal wave of memories whenever it is prepared to this day.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting Past Commodore, Alix Day, and during our conversation she showed me her copy of Meals on Keels, and shared one of her favourite recipes, Jan Denny’s Rum Pie. It sounded absolutely delicious! I took a photograph of the recipe and tested it on unsuspecting attendees at the Port Browning August Rendezvous. There was not enough time for the pie to fully set before dinner, but that did not seem to deter anyone.  It was scooped out with a large spoon instead of a pie slice and disappeared completely before the end of the evening.  A second pie, left overnight in the fridge, set perfectly and did not last long once discovered by the skipper and crew. Needless to say, I have added the recipe to my collection!

From Meals on Keels: Jan Denny’s Rum Pie recipe

Talking about food and BCA, how can we not remember the famous pig roasts that originally were intended as the send-off party for members going offshore?  There have been two recently, hosted by Barry and Amanda Glickman at their home in Gorge Harbour, but prior to that the last one in Vancouver was on the occasion of BCA’s 30th anniversary in 2008. From the photo spread in the November 2008 issue of Currents, it looks like it was quite the party! Dave Fukuhara was the head chef at many of those early pig roasts and he wrote a detailed description cum recipe of all that such an event entails in Bluewater Cruising Chefs, just in case we want to host another one sometime in the future…

Currents photo-spread, November 2008

And so here we are, well into a year-long celebration of BCA’s 40th anniversary.  There is no third cookbook in sight (at least, not that I know of), but during Peterson Cup cruising rallies and BCA Rendezvous’ there is always talk of food and even more talk about sharing some of the stand-out, must-have recipes.

Who knows, perhaps there is BCA member or maybe two waiting in the wings who would love to organize/edit an updated 40th anniversary cookbook… Hint, hint!!

In the meantime, Currents is an excellent place to share:

  • favourite / easiest / time-saving galley and beverage recipes
  • memorable occasions, formal or spontaneous, that involved food and fellowship with other BCA cruisers over the years

Please send your memories and recipes to Rosario, Current’s managing editor.  Let’s see if we can fill the Currents inbox and update our recipe files for next year’s cruising season!

Tasty treats at BCA potluck


  1. Judy Barefoot says:

    Another great cruising cookbook is Recipes From the Squiggly Line by Jackie Holt. She and Malcom sailed Aeolus XC from Sidney to Indonesia between 1998 and 2007. The book talks of their adventures and has recipes from the areas they visited. They live now in Comox and I have the address if anyone wants to contact Jackie about the cookbook.

  2. Glenora Doherty says:

    Great article, Jennifer, summing up the history of BCA cookbooks and recipes. Galley Watch used to be a regular column in Currents; perhaps that could be revived again, with new recipes contributed by current members, or reprinting older recipes from Meals and Keels or Bluewater Cruising Chefs.
    Glenora Doherty

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