Learning the Ropes

Learning the Ropes

Rigby's sandwich-building shows more discretion

Rigby’s sandwich-building shows more discretion

If I made it, it' s on Bly's sandwich.

If I made it, it’ s on Bly’s sandwich.

This morning Smith gave us a lesson in plotting and dead reckoning. I had to miss out on part of it, but I’ve really been enjoying this new practice Captain Flash has instituted. Every morning for the past few days, she has given a short lesson. First she talked about the war of 1812 and its effect on shipbuilding.

In another lesson, she pulled out the plans to our ship, The Marlin, and we looked them over. Much of it was Greek to me, but I’m learning in small bits, the way you’d learn a foreign language. Nouns first, then verbs. Get the fundamentals, then fill in the gaps. Which is exactly what today’s lesson was: We had to move the boat because a cruise ship came into town and needed our dock. With help from Eve and explanations from Smith and Cap, I got to man one of the docklines. It felt pretty cool to be of more use than my usual role as Fender Girl.

The new dock is a bit off the beaten path, and because of the way we had to tie onto it, we can’t have guests coming on and off. After we re-docked, Mr. Pink left us and went home to his wife. Our remaining skeleton crew spent a rainy, cozy day to ourselves. And I baked. A lot.

Dish-time
Eve helped me do dishes tonight because she was on watch and we talked about various things. She laughed when I went to go show her my rig knife (you might want to close your eyes for this part, Marc), and had to get it out of a box. I still need to get a belt to attach it to, then I would be one cool cook, prepared to slice through a mess of lines to save a fellow crew-mate from otherwise certain doom.
Bittman's banana bread in an 8x8, so you get more crust/crunch per square inch.

Bittman’s banana bread in an 8×8, so you
get more crust/crunch per square inch.

This time after dinner with each of the crew members has become increasingly important to me. While they are above-decks working together all day long, I’m isolated in my own world in the galley. I probably talk their ears off. But I also like hearing their take on the day – it makes me wonder what they would write about if they, too, kept blogs.

Thursday’s Menu
Breakfast
Biscuits and sausage gravy and eggs. Today I made biscuits the way I’ve perfected them – but I used Lily White flour, which I’d read that you can only find in the south. It uses only winter wheat and is therefore very light. They were hands-down my best biscuits ever. See recipe below.
Lunch
Build-your-own sandwiches, with yesterday’s salads and leftover mac-and-cheese. I think the only thing I added was a chipotle egg salad and a pot of orzo cooked in chicken broth and tossed with Asiago. The latter was something I was just really in the mood for on a day like today.
Afternoon snack
Yesterday I told the crew to eat the aging bananas in the hammock or I would turn them into banana bread. The cry went out and echoed against the bulkheads: “Don’t eat the bananas!” So today I made banana bread using Mr. Bittman’s fantastic recipe with only one variation: I reserved some coconut for the top and it got nice and toasty.
Dinner
Beef enchiladas, rice, and carrot salad
Dessert
Butterscotch brownies

Biscuits, from More with Less
Makes 8 extremely large biscuits, or a lot more small ones.
4 c. flour (White Lily if you can find it!)
6 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

Cut in:
1/2 c. shortening (I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I’ve been using Crisco)
Add:
1+1/2 c. milk (or buttermilk)(both can come from rehydrated sources without change to results that I can see)

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 20 times. Then fold it once in half and then again. DO NOT USE A ROLLING PIN. Use your hands to push it into a somewhat flat piece, 1/2 to 1 inch thick. Cut into circles or use biscuit cutter or an upside-down glass. DO NOT ROLL OR SHAPE INTO CIRCLES. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees. My oven bakes them in 10 minutes. Watch for when the tops start to brown and don’t let them bake much beyond that.

I cook a lot out of More with Less, and will eventually type up the Honey Wheat Bread recipe because it turns out perfect loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread.

Tucked away at our new, temporary dock.

Tucked away at our new, temporary dock.