5 Deserted Island Foods

The Houston Press published a post this week of five foods to take to a desert island. Unsurprisingly, the list included chocolate chip cookies. Which got me thinking: if I was stranded somewhere without access to Whole Foods, my fully-stocked freezer and spice cabinet, and my beloved Farmhouse Delivery, what foods would I need to survive?

First, since this is my daydream, I’m insisting that my deserted island be located somewhere tropical and be covered with acres of healthy coconut palms. That way I’ll have access to all the coconut products I need. And presumably I could catch fish and other seafood, evaporate sea water to make salt, and chow down on native vegetation – let’s pretend my island also provides plenty of plantains and yucca. (Um. This island is sounding pretty kickass right about now, don’tcha think?)

OK. Given all of that, here are the five foods that I’ll magically have in my purse when I somehow find myself stranded on my kickass tropical island…

1. Cumin.
You knew that was coming, right? I mean, seriously. If I have coconut and fish and plaintains, it would be completely uncivilized to not also have cumin.

2. Cabbage.
It’s my favorite vegetable, and it’s very versatile. I could eat it raw in a slaw, wrap it around fish to make roll-ups or steaming packets, and sauté it will various coconut things… and my cumin.

3. Eggs
Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks all on their own, they also go great with the other stuff I’m smuggling in. I could eat them scrambled, boiled, fried – and, if I stirred really fast, could use them to make mayo with the coconut oil I’ll learn to press from the island’s abundant coconuts.

4. Jicama
Crunchy, sweet, juicy, refreshing – it’s my second fave veg right now. I know it’s not a powerhouse of nutrition, but jeez! I’m stranded on an island – cut me some slack.

5. Lamb
I’d definitely need some meat to balance out all the fish and seafood, and although I came thisclose to choosing pork as my island companion, I ultimately chose lamb because, to me, it’s the meatiest of the meats. Plus, it’s excellent with (say it with me) cumin and coconut milk. (Island Rogan Josh, anyone?)

Your Turn

What’s your list? Unlike mine, you don’t have to contain yourself to only healthy choices, but if you were stranded somewhere, would you really want to eat stuff that didn’t make you feel your best? Maybe you would! Discuss.


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  • Barbara says:

    Oh boy…Mel, you’re island sounds great. When can we go? Assuming my island can have your kickass set up, I think I’d go with:

    1-Clean water

    If I’m stranded I’d like to survive and have energy to catch said fish or pigs.:)

  • Puravida says:

    Love your kick-ass island, especially if you have some crazy kick-ass crossfitters on it.
    Here’s my list
    1 I agree with Barbara 🙂 water
    2 beef
    3 eggs
    4 hot peppers (have to be spicy!!)
    5 strawberries

    p.s. if I could have your list as well as Barbara’s we would be living the high life!!

  • Kitty says:

    1. 3rd on the clean water…
    2. Some sort of readily available and abundant fowl. (also must be fairly stupid enough to be easily caught…lol)
    3. Cumin, right there with ya on that.
    4. Broccoli…but a close second is Romaine for “wrappies”
    5. any native swine/wild boar/peccary type animal…

    Especially if I’m stranded on your kick ass island with abundant coconut resources, fish and native fruits/vegetation to munch on.

  • Barbara says:

    Mel…if you build it..WE will come:)

  • Kathleen says:

    1. Avocado
    2. Dark chocolate
    3. Spinach
    4. Eggs
    5. Olives ( a new obsession)

  • Caroline says:

    Mine is a combination of all:
    1. Lamb (this would be the meat I would eat forever if only 1 was allowed)
    2. Sweet potato (best for any carb cravings and love sweet potato chips/fries)
    3.eggs – completely agree on versatility
    4. Pears (I am working on the basis that berries will be available on the island!)
    5. cauliflower (but would want all the ingredients to make a new favourite – cauliflower rice….)

  • Tami C. says:

    1. Sweet potatoes
    2. Cayenne pepper (cumin would be great, but cayenne is #1 in my book)
    3. Quail
    4. Beef
    5. Strawberries


  • Tami C. says:

    Hey Mel, if you like Stieg Larsson’s books you might want to check out Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum’s work. Excellent Scandinavian mystery writers. There’s also a fellow from Iceland that’s not bad, but I can’t remember/spell his name.

    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the only hardcover book I’ve EVER paid full price for ($25.00+ for a novel is highway robbery, IMO), but I HAD to know what happened to Lisbeth and Mikhail! Great books.

    Also, thanks to you, I picked up a copy of Jane Eyre. I’ve never read it. 🙂

  • BobT says:

    Good picks so far. Rain would probably supply enough water so I’ll skip that. I would want 1.PORK because I’ve never had lamb bacon. 2 would be a spice BLEND that would include cumin but also GARLIC powder, CAYENNE or other hot chili pepper, and Basil, Oregano, Parsley, etc.
    3. SEEDS to plant and grow GREENS and a few other veggies, and especially GRAPES to make vino. 4. Got to go with EGGS. And 5? Maybe some Water Kefir Grains.

  • Sigi says:

    1) Eggs
    2) Eggs
    3) Eggs
    4) Eggs
    5) Butter to cook the eggs in.

    OR (if I’m being a touch more sensible)

    1) Eggs
    2) Pork – in all its forms
    3) Red cabbage
    4) Raspberries
    5) Greek yogurt

    Man, this is hard (apologies to the kiwis, macadamias and avocados, I didn’t want to leave you behind).

  • Mel says:

    Thanks for playing along, everyone! Our island life would be so tasty!

  • Jos says:

    1. Avocados
    2. Eggs
    3. Clean water
    4. Beef
    5. Fish

  • Marye says:

    1. eggs
    2. beef
    3. broccoli
    4. apples
    5. cinnemon

  • Gina says:

    1. Avocados
    2. Sweet Potatoes
    3. Eggs
    4. Chard
    5. Onions

  • Morten says:

    1. almonds
    2. eggs
    3. bananas (though your island had plantains but I’m not really sure if that is sufficiently similar for me)
    4. some nice spice mix with cumin and cinnamon and fennel and coriander and a little bit of lavender and cayenne and chilli and pepper and garlic powder and onion powder
    5. HAM radio (geddit?)

    • Mel says:

      You win! The HAM radio bit is priceless. True story: when I was about 8 years old, I loved to read Reader’s Digest. There was a story about HAM radio operators, and I thought the whole article was filled with typos and that the author meant “AM radio.”

  • Chris Apollo says:

    cayenne pepper
    sweet potato

    (my meat would come from fish or wild boar on the island!)

  • Susan M. says:

    1. Avocado
    2. Ghee
    3. Sundried tomatoes
    4. Eggs
    5. Strawberries

    And I’m with you and the others that said they’d hunt the animals, catch the fish, and chow down on the vegetation from the island and water. And I’d somehow find a way to harvest some sea salt 🙂 This is hard, though. Just missing the cut are garlic, balsamic vinegar, spinach, and smoked paprika.