Over one and a half billion of the world’s population eat rice every day. It’s cheap and nutritious, and can be prepared in literally endless ways. Soups, salads, stews, jambalaya, desserts and as a side dish that has been steamed, boiled or fried, rice is the sailing gourmet’s ever-reliable partner. Sailors anywhere in the world can always find a handy port or tiny shoreside village with rice for sale.

Two helpful hints for sailors who want to store rice aboard: (1) Freeze the rice overnight to kill the eggs of vermin, otherwise you will discover your rice infested with little black creatures that are reducing your rice to powder; and (2) remove recently purchased rice from the flimsy plastic packaging and store it in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers to control moisture and prevent insect incursions.

Tickle your palate by being more adventuresome in preparation of rice for meals. Instead of plain water, substitute beef, fish or chicken broth. Or mix lager beer with water, or add the grated zest of a lemon, lime or orange for a citrus flavor. Try adding coconut milk and some desiccated, unsweetened coconut meat, or perhaps saffron, or your favorite herb.

Rice is easy to prepare and comes to the table quickly. Remember to always wash rice before cooking to remove the talc and excess starch; this will also improve fluffiness.

Here’s a cannot-miss rice meal that’s even more easy on the pocketbook because it is typically made with leftover rice from an earlier meal: EL CAPITAN POBRE’S FRIED RICE MEAL

6 oz. meat cut or chopped into small pieces (spicy chorizo, or kielbasa, chicken or beef) 1 medium yellow (Spanish) onion, chopped 1 medium sweet Bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 clove of garlic, minced 1 teaspoon chili powder (I like the McCormick brand) 1 teaspoon dried oregano 3 cups chilled cooked rice 2 medium fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped 2 large eggs, beaten 1 tablespoon canola oil (vegetable oil okay, too) 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation: In a large (12-inch) skillet or Chinese wok, heat oil over medium heat, then add the chopped meat and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. Now, add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, stirring for about 5 minutes until softened, then stir in the chili powder and oregano. Next, rub the cooked rice through your fingers to separate the grains and add it to the mixture, heating it for about 3 minutes. Now stir in the tomatoes and salt. Once well mixed, make a well in the center of the rice and pour in the beaten eggs, stirring for about 30 seconds until the eggs are partially set and creamy, then finish by mixing thoroughly and cook for about 1 minute until the egg is set. Spoon the fried rice into individual soup bowls and serve while hot.