Float Plan takes a journey by sail through the Bahamas and many of the islands in the Caribbean.
Conch Salad and Bahamian Fish Chowder: When Anna leaves Florida, her first stop is the tiny Bahamian island of Bimini. One of the local specialties is conch salad, made ceviche-style, with chopped conch, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and a liberal squeeze of fresh lime juice. Some conch stands keep on hand a bowl of conch pistols—a digestive appendage reputed to have aphrodisiacal qualities—for anyone bold enough to try them.
On Cat Island, Anna and Keane have Bahamian fish chowder for lunch with Eulalia and Robert, a local couple they’ve befriended. Bahamian fish chowder is tomato-based, not unlike Manhattan clam chowder, but is typically made with mutton snapper and spicy Scotch Bonnet peppers.
Lobster: Lobster is abundant in most of the Bahamas and Caribbean. On the deserted island of Samana, Keane slathers the lobsters with olive oil and lemon juice, wraps them in foil, and cooks them on a campfire on the beach. Later, when Anna and Keane are in Turks & Caicos, they sample lobster pizza—which is also a specialty at Edith’s Pizza on Bimini.
Banana Pancakes: One of Anna’s favorite breakfasts—one she makes often on the boat—is banana pancakes. Because flour, sugar, and the other dry ingredients for pancakes go farther than a box of pancake mix, Anna makes hers from scratch. And, like banana bread, it’s a good way to use up bananas that are starting to go bad.
Goat Water and Guinness: The national dish of Montserrat is “goat water," a stew that’s pungent and spicy, and—despite the name—can’t be too soupy or too thick. Keane and his Montserratian friend, Desmond, share the story about how they met, which included eating goat water and getting drunk on Guinness. Speaking of Guinness, many of the islanders have Irish roots, making Guinness one of the most popular beers on the island.
Oxtail Stew and Trinidadian Doubles: In Grenada, Anna picks up some oxtail at the Saturday market in St. George’s that she cooks with cabbage and rice and beans. This is the closest I came to inserting myself into the book because it’s one of my favorite dishes—slow-cooked oxtails with butter beans, rice, and kidney beans covered in oxtail gravy, and buttery steamed cabbage.
Anna finally reaches Trinidad, where she samples a popular street food called “doubles,” made with two pieces of bara (a type of fried bread) filled with channa (curried chickpeas), chutneys, and a spicy pepper sauce. If you’re only ordering one, doubles are singular, and everyone has their own way of customizing them to their taste.