|My gloved hand holding a soot-smeared paper towel.|
Before our “adventure sail” yesterday, the sky clouded over. As I stood at the stern, on fender duty, I could hear the National Weather Service on the radio say that for some areas of Georgia they were expecting “baseball-size hail.”
Unbelievably, we went out. We sailed. And a few dozen tourists got completely soaked while learning that yes, you can sail in a downpour.
I was drenched before I made it back into the galley – and that’s where the adventure continued. After wiping down the floors, I went back to making dinner. As often happens on a sail, the wind came down the smokestack and caused the galley to fill with sooty black smoke. I tried the usual: I checked the foil cover on the cabin top to make sure it was facing the wind. But I hadn’t considered that the down-draft from the sail today would come across the cabin top and straight down the exposed side of the smokestack.
Back in the galley, the smoke detector started going off. The air was billowing into a thick black fog. I covered my nose with my t-shirt. I decided to turn on the fan below the flame to counteract the air from above. This only made things worse, and even seemed to put the flame out. I opened the lid – and fortunately stood back – which caused the gases in the chamber to immediately reignited.
Eve came down to check on me. Just before she did, I turned the fan off, thinking that this was maybe not a good idea. She turned on the fan – creating the same effect as before – only this time, the explosion inside the chamber was so powerful that iron lid became momentarily airborne. Eve looked at me. She turned off the fan. Again: Kaboom!
Eve looked back at me again, terrified. “I’ve never seen it do this before. Can I turn it off?”
“Heck, yeah!” I said.
I made dinner using the convection oven and the hot plate. We were fine.
We moved to the other side of the river, and parked outside the Westin. Which means a few of us put on our bathing suits and hopped into their hot tub.
This morning it’s still raining. And I just spent four hours of my only day off of the week cleaning the chamber of the stove and restarting it; then I cleaned the soot from the galley, which has a way of seeping into every nook and cranny and can only be removed with bleach and paper towels.
Here's what a cook eats on her day off: I heated up some cheese grits and corned beef and doused the combination in North Carolina mustard-BBQ sauce. Yum.