As we motored to Northport, I made breakfast. What a place! This may be my favorite town yet. Later, when I went running, and started dreaming about buying a little fixer-upper near town and starting a seasonal business, I passed this amazing building. I stopped and asked a guy who looked local if it was a private residence. He told me a story about how the building was a restaurant, but the owners had built it partly on city property. When the city asked them to address the issue, the owners refused. They closed the restaurant and now do only the minimum to avoid city fines – they mow their lawn, replace windows, etc. “Mario Batali lives just down the street,” the man confided. “He offered to buy the place, but the owners turned him down. It’s quite the eyesore.” Well, it was not an eyesore in my mind. It was a super cool building. No wonder Mario Batali wanted to buy it. So do I!
Today I made more “table oil,” a mixture of olive oil, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, basil and oregano. I introduced table oil at a point when we were going through way too much butter. When I asked Buttons today if there was something I should make more of before I left, this was her request.
During the sail today I also made a maple/roasted ginger/sesame vinaigrette. I used to have a few salad dressings in the locker, but I’ve been lazy of late. I’ll make another honey mustard vinaigrette before I leave, since that’s pretty popular. And sweet chili sauce; they go through it about as fast as water.
But once these items are used up and this batch of crewmembers are gone, and the tall ship merry-go-round has come full circle, will there be anything left of me here?
What’s in a name?
The Nomad says I should leave a spoon somewhere on the boat, a totem. When I think about it, there may already be a few in place. Inside the gun cabinet someone once taped up a tinfoil heart. Maybe this is my totem. More importantly, I’ve named things – that cabinet is called the gun cabinet because it’s where I keep the popgun that the princess left for me. The passageway between the main salon and the galley is now called “The Pass,” a term I borrowed from working at Somewhere Restaurant in Manhattan – it was the place where we would put food out for the runners to take to the dining room. There’s also a drawer in the galley where I keep my pots, and you practically have to go into contortions to get into this space that’s beside the drawer and behind the stove, but it’s where the food processor and the waffle maker and the coffee grinder live; I call this area “The Deep.”
I suspect these names will live on without me. For a while anyway.
And for a while, my legacy will live on in the pantry and stores of the boat. The new cook will probably shake her head in befuddlement when she finds that great big container of red onions I pickled, or the five kinds of rice – brown, wild, jasmine, basmati and sushi. Or the can of braised seitan…and the giant bag of panko. Who knows, like the boxes of matza in the cupboard behind the fridge, some cook a year from now may look at that bag of panko and wonder how long it’s been there…
Today I said something to Eve like, “After we park the boat…” She looked at me with unabashed disbelief. “Uh-oh,” I said. “I’m already becoming a landlubber again.”
I wonder, how quickly will I lose my ties to the tall ship world? Will I go back to a “normal” life and get embroiled in the making of money to pay the rent and the car loan? Will I go back to eating out all the time and buying clothes and shoes to stock my closet? Or will I take some sense of this outsider life with me, back into society?
Will the aprons disappear deep into some linen closet and get pulled out one day, years from now, when I’m dead, and be given away to some second hand store? Or will I use them, my own portable totem to transport me back to my days on the water?
And what about my lost boys, my foc’s’le committee, will they remember me? Will they reminisce about my antics, the way I would talk to a Dutch Baby when it came out of the oven, or my stormy angry days? Will they talk of the cook who got an apron in every port? How will they talk of me?
Because the world of tall ships is so small, whatever they say will be passed on, until I, too, will have a little place in it somewhere. Perhaps my name will get lost in the passing on of stories. Maybe all that will be left is some talk of a couscous salad, the taste of apple compote, or the way the galley smelled when I was baking banana bread. I like that. That’s enough for me.
My favorite pancakes from More with Less. See recipe below.
Furnished by The Garage, a restaurant in town. I had a hamburger.
Also furnished by The Garage, but this time they brought it to the boat for a reception.
Wheat Germ Griddle Cakes
Beat together (I do it by hand, but the recipe says to do it on slow with an electric mixer or blender)
1 1/2 c. wheat germ
2 1/4 c. milk (I used 1 c. half and half; the rest was evaporated milk, in water)
6 T. salad oil (I used canola)
1 1/4 c. white flour
4 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. mace (I used nutmeg)
Bake on a hot griddle.