How do you plan to feed say two dozen people for a 30-day voyage at sea?
That's a major task of the Polynesian Voyaging Society as they prepare to leave soon on the Hokule'a voyage around the world.
"Oh, pressure. I was excited cause I do cook at home somewhat, but you know you can either really life everyone's spirits with a really great meal or if you burn the rice, then everyone king of 'Oh no', said crewmember Ana Yarawamai.
Ana is one of the cooks for the first leg of the voyage.
She met with us at command central, kind of the PVS pantry, which includes chicken tuna, peanut butter, coconut milk, rice and too much more to list for the first two legs of the trip. Some of it purchased, some of it donated like Diamond Bakery's crackers, which are a staple on voyages.
The trip to Tahiti takes an average of 25 days. They are planning for 31 days of food.
So how do you stock a canoe with two thousand pounds of food and then the gallon of water per day per crew member?
"There's a lot of math involved. You know we also have to think about the weight, where we're going to pack it all on the canoes, so it's evenly distributed. Then as we eat it, you know, we're taking from the correct spots of the canoe so the canoe stays balanced," said Ana.
The manifest lists what goes into each meal. The food is broken into daily portions and is packed into plastic containers. One contains all the food for one day for the entire canoe.
Green is for Hokule'a and the clear one for Hikianalia.
So what might the crew expect?
"Heavier breakfast would be like an eggs scramble with mushrooms and spam – the taro pancakes there. We have out oatmeal as a lighter version or granola with either rice or almond milk," said Ana. "A lighter dinner might be an orzo pasta with tofu and sundried tomatoes. A heavier dinner might be salmon patty with mashed potatoes."
Kealoha is the other cook. He'll be filling the opu of crew members on Hikianalia. He says it's a big kuleana – responsibility. Since there is no refrigeration, a fresh meal would have to come from the sea.
"If we catch a fish, that's a good morale booster for the day to us. We'll have sashimi, poke, make some soup, fried fish – whatever," said Kealoha.
Then he says there's the creative part that crews want from their cooks.
"We've done birthday cakes on board using a double boiler. Of course, secret recipes! We've even had opportunities where different crew members would bring different ingredients for a fish and we'd have a cook off and stuff like that," said Kealoha.
A fine balancing act as they load the canoes this week.
The major part of this voyage is education and Wednesday night we'll take a look at what one Hawaii school has built to take its students along for the historic journey.