Food preparation

March 24, 2009

A galley crew of three—Alejandra Monje Miranda, Antonio Ford, and Lorenzo Sandoval—is responsible for preparing five hot meals a day for 70 people. Meals must accommodate many different eating styles, including vegetarian and regional eating preferences.

Cook Alejandra Monje Miranda prepares dinner for all 70 people on the Palmer. Photo by Amanda Kahn.

Cook Alejandra Monje Miranda prepares dinner for all 70 people on the Palmer. Photo by Amanda Kahn.

Today, Ale prepared chicken parmesan as the main course for dinner. She began cooking at 1:30, but said that on some days, it is necessary to start cooking immediately after the previous meal ends. She cut, washed, breaded, and cooked ten kilograms of chicken for this meal. A pasta dish, lentil and squash dish, roasted potatoes, freshly-baked rolls, cooked corn, chicken and rice soup, a salad bar, and warm-out-of-the-oven cookies accompanied the main course. In one meal, there can be up to nine dishes: three main dishes, four side dishes, soup, and a salad bar.

The cooks try to accommodate vegetarian and special eating preferences for each meal. Three of the nine dishes are vegetarian, though Ale said that once fresh vegetables run out during a cruise, it is difficult to provide variety for vegetarians. Different types of meat, often cooked in several ways, are served with each meal to encompass as many eating styles as possible. On a night with an Indian food theme, for example, there is an alternative such as fried chicken.

—Amanda Kahn