The Commonwealth of Cabbage

My husband, Gary, and I have been living aboard and cruising for 26 years, the last 15 of them aboard Hula, our custom-built steel Roberts Spray 40. Our homeport is Key Largo, Florida; hence we've been cruising in the nearby islands of the Bahamas for years.
The Bahama Islands archipelago consists of over 700 islands and islets that stretch out for a distance of 750 miles, spread over the Atlantic Ocean from about 60 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, nearly to the tip of Cuba. Their proximity to the U.S. mainland, their sugar-sand beaches, spectacular diving, and friendly people make them a popular cruising ground. Provisioning here, however, can be tricky.
The freshly baked bread that's available in just about every settlement is a provisioning plus. A minus is that, except in a few of the larger markets, varied, fresh produce is very scarce.
There is, however, one item you'll find in every market throughout the islands — cabbage. Even the humblest store will have a nice selection of this hearty, fiber-rich vegetable. (And it keeps very well aboard). I once found a beautiful head of cabbage in a small store on Cat Cay that must have weighed five pounds!
When all you can to get in the way of vegetables is cabbage, it takes some ingenuity to come up with different ways to prepare it. Here are a few of our favorites, made with ingredients most cruisers have in their galleys.

Ham (or Corned Beef) and Cabbage with Sour Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-pound canned ham, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

Melt butter in skillet and add coarsely chopped cabbage and onion. Sauté until the vegetables begin to brown slightly. Add ham or corned beef, reduce heat to very low, cover, and cook until cabbage is soft. Blend sour cream and mustard together in a separate bowl. Turn off flame and stir sauce into cabbage mixture. Serve with boiled potatoes and carrots.

Potluck Cabbage Salad

1 medium-to-large head cabbage, chopped
8 green onions, sliced
OR ½ cup sweet onion, chopped
8 tablespoons almonds, sliced or slivered
8 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 packages Ramen noodles (without flavoring)


4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Accent seasoning (optional)
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Place chopped cabbage and onions in a large bowl. Brown almonds and sesame seeds in oil and drain on a paper towel. Add nuts and seeds to cabbage mixture. Crush uncooked Ramen noodles and add. Mix well (you may have to use your hands). Combine dressing ingredients and shake or whisk well. Just before serving, dress salad. Serve immediately. Note: this makes a large amount of salad. It’s perfect for potlucks. If making this for fewer people, reduce ingredients accordingly.

Curried Cole Slaw

1 small head green cabbage, shredded
¼ head red cabbage, shredded
¼ cup red onion, chopped finely
1 apple, diced (Granny Smith if possible)
¼ cup raisins


¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon milk or fruit juice (to thin)
Curry powder, to taste

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to slaw and toss until it’s well coated.