Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost

Greek pizza.

“Welcome to another day in paradise,” said Cap at this morning’s muster. The crew guffawed at the irony, though it did start off as a bright sunny day.

Then just after lunch Cap announced we were canceling the sail. The entrance to Bay Harbor is narrow and, as he says, threatens rocky death on both sides. In 25 knot winds, our boat would have a difficult time escaping that rocky death. So Cap gave himself and the crew the rest of the day off. I tried to move dinner to 8 pm, so I could have the day free, but Cap replied, “This is not a democracy. I said dinner would be at 5 pm, and therefore it will be at 5 pm.”

So I of course had to keep pounding out the chow. As luck would have it, the rain poured down for hours, making a trip to Petoskey impossible anyway.

It was a good day for chow-pounding. I was really in the groove. Maybe it had something to do with the email my friend Iz sent along last night. It said, “This must be the show you auditioned for!” The link took me to Zagat’s website, which read:

“Around the World in 80 Plates takes culinary competition to the next level. Up-and-coming chefs will travel to various countries testing their skills in some of the greatest and most challenging restaurants around the globe. In each episode, the contestants will travel to a different international city where they will learn the local customs, cultures and cuisines as they participate in a gauntlet of culinary challenges all while being at the mercy of the demanding restaurant owners. Ultimately, they will face-off in a kitchen takeover where they will not just recreate, but reinvent the menus for these world-renowned restaurants.”

I ran around the boat reading it to people. Then panic and excitement set in and continued charging through my veins as I tried to go to sleep. What if they pick me? All I could think about today is how I better start practicing my brunoise.

Bread salad.

A New On-the-job Challenge
Ol’ Dies’ is currently out of commission because of a problem with her regulator. Eve’s ordered a new one, but it might not arrive until the new cook takes over. So I’ve been cooking on the hotplate and in the convection oven. Then wouldn’t ya know it? Just as I finished cooking the spinach for lunch, the hotplate died. It’s died before. Last time Eve resurrected it, she said it was a safety hazard and that we should buy a new one. That was ages ago. So by dinner I was down to one appliance: the oven.

Tomorrow I’ll go and buy a new one so Rebecca, the new cook has a solid set-up when she gets here. She’s supposed to arrive on the 26th. All I know about her is that she’s “salty, but a good cook,” and that, according to Captain Smiley, she’s been cooking on tall ships since before he was… I’ve planned out my meals for the rest of the week, and I’m planning to go out the way I came in – with Thai food.

Ah, to be alone
After dinner tonight I headed off on that walk toward Petoskey. I kept thinking about a post that my friend Jessica made on Facebook recently about how she was dreading a day in London by herself. How funny it is for me to be in the exact opposite situation. To be alone… I crave it so much. I feel so fortunate when I think back to my first boat, the Neverland, and how I shared the sleeping compartment with another person. What luxury I have had here on the Marlin. Even though I’m surrounded by people most of the time, I have a curtain I can close; a little private bunk of my own.

If they choose me for this show, I’ll be right back in close quarters again. Thank goodness for walking trails.

Sunday’s Menu
Breakfast
Carrot-date-coconut-walnut muffins
Strawberry-coconut-pineapple-banana-maple-vanilla smoothies
Lunch
Greek pizza: toppings on Phylo dough – one with mozzarella, sautéed spinach and garlic, thinly sliced tomatoes and feta cheese, and one with mozzarella, artichokes, roasted red bell peppers, and parmesan cheese
I also put out some rye bread and leftover meat for sandwiches
Dinner
Pork loin that had been marinating in balsamic, sugar, basil, lemon rind and pepper
Bread salad (panzanella) with artichokes, kalamata olives (a real splurge), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and basil
Eggplant broiled and then topped with parmesan cheese
Dessert
Baklava with the leftover Phylo dough