The Cast of Characters & Quick Guide to the Story

Sunday, July 31, 2011

On the Lam

Over half my body is as red as a tomato, my feet are killing me and I can't seem to wash the sand out of my hair, but Boy, What a day.

After a late night of carousing ("I think this is the latest I've ever been out with the Marlin crew," said Bly as we sauntered back to the boat at around 2:30 am), we woke early as breakfast was put out by... not me!

Harrison, Buttons, Eve, Bly and I got take-out breakfasts from the only place open in Frankfort, a little place called the Crescent Bakery, and walked to the beach where we sat in the shade and prepared for our Big Day Off.

Me, Bly, Harrison, Buttons and Eve with Glen Lake and 
a massive sand dune behind us.
Then we wound our way up through the country roads around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to a little-known hiking spot called Pyramid Point. The dune there made a steep decline into the lake from at least 150 feet. We sat and took in the view. It was awesome.

We stocked up at a market in Glen Arbor then hiked a good long ways out over the dunes to a beach where we played in the waves and sprawled out on the sand for hours. It was good to be together again.

Sunday's Menu
Egg and bacon pannini

smoked fish pate, hummus, and spinach dip; garlic bread, kalamata olive sour dough and an artichoke foccaccia; string cheese and 5 Layer Bars
Ice cream: mine was two scoops, one of key lime pie and the other some sort of Eskimo mash with coconut ice cream, pieces of coconut and brownies

Harrison with my hipstamic lens.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Steak, salad, pasta and bread in (but out of) the pot.
I haven't written since we left Marquette. It's that end mentality setting in. And a laziness. We arrived in Frankfort on Thursday at noon. Yesterday we celebrated the ship's 10th birthday. And today is Saturday and Bly is coming to the boat any minute!

After he left us in Marblehead, he hightailed it out west to have adventures moving a roving fly fishing camp around Wyoming. He just got back to his hometown in Michigan and - just in time to meet up with us. We've been talking about sneaking over the dunes and camping there tonight, but the forecast is full of rain and thunderstorms.

Heirloom tomato salad.

It feels great to be back in west Michigan. The scenery here is spectacular - dramatic 200-foot dunes spilling into crystal clear water. This morning I ran out to the lighthouse and back. It made me want to move here. If it weren't for the fact that winter exists and will be coming back with a vengeance.
Today is also Cap's last day as Captain. Yesterday Captain Smiley arrived. We met him for the first time back in Newport, when he hosted a barbecue for us, and now he's in command of our fair ship. It's odd, that she's leaving. I've always seen her as The Captain of the Marlin. She's the one I came to work for. The one I interviewed with. The one who said she would go out with the crew, and was discovering her management style. I've always been proud to say she was our captain.

But as has happened with everyone who's about to leave, Cap has been chomping at the bit. She's been especially grumpy for the last 48 hours. And I totally get it. With less than a month left on my contract, I've got one foot out the door. I have no idea what I'm doing next, but by golly, world, bring it.

PS about P1
I mentioned we have a volunteer with us that is staying though to Chicago. I decided to give him a name: J-bird. He's a good eater.

J-bird's Bibimbap.
Saturday's Menu
Blueberry muffins
Pasta with pesto
Salad of sauteed zucchini, heirloom tomatoes from the farmers' market, garlic and red wine vinegar
Chuck steak slow-cooked in the oven in an old marinade I had in the fridge
Bibimbap, for the second night in a row:
Carrots sauteed in sesame oil with sesame seeds and a dash of salt
Onions sauteed in rice wine vinegar, a dash of salt and red pepper flakes
Zucchini sauteed with very little oil and a dash of salt
Beef short ribs slow-cooked in this marinade I will try to upload a link for
Sauce made out of a cup of rice vinegar, a cup of brown sugar, and siracha to taste

Friday, July 29, 2011

From a Distance

Neb and Deutsch prepare for their day off.
This was kind-of a crazy day: breakfast on the table at 7:30, at which point I headed out for a half hour run before muster. Got back, super sweaty, and figured I'd clean the stove while I was dirty and shower afterwards. The shower never happened. By the time I knew it, I was baking bread and couldn't leave. Lunch was scheduled for 1 pm with dinner at 5, which makes for a very tight turn-around. I actually laid down in my bunk and set my alarm for a ten minute nap around 4 pm and ... I slept!

I was beat.

Now I sit here typing, newly showered. I am in the half-sun, half-shade of the library getting free wi-fi, so I'm typing on a real keyboard for once.

What luxury.

I got kicked off the sail this afternoon, which enabled me to walk down to the beach for the first time. I can't believe I waited so long to get down to the water here. It's stunning. As I was sitting there I saw the boat coming in, and I ran down the beach (with laptop in tow) to cheer her arrival. Overhearing the people around me as they talked about her, I corrected them and proudly gave them accurate information. There's something about seeing her from a distance, from the outside, as others see her... Sometimes you forget you're living and working on a thing of  beauty.
Sandwiches for lunch. 

As her carronades went off, I hollered, "Is that all you got?" Later, Harrison told me he heard me, and had seen me running down the beach.

"I'd know that run anywhere," he said. Which made me rather self-conscious about my running... erm.. style.

Our new captain arrived today, Captain Smiley. I met him back in Newport, and so far I think I'm going to love him as a captain, though I will miss having a woman at the top. I always thought that was bad-ass.

Bibimbap became a crew favorite tonight.

Friday's Menu
Coffee cake
Sandwiches on homemade wheat bread
The community band was playing when I walked 
back from the showers.

Kids on the swings at sunset.
Walk along the beach.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Boat Birthday

I made a birthday cake (the ship's real name has been photo-
shopped out) - clearly showing that my skills do not lie 
in applying icing through a hole in a plastic baggie.
Last night, we waited for hours as the two Manitou islands of Sleeping Bear got very very slowly closer. I was so excited. I've camped at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore many a time, but had never gotten this close to the islands off the coast.  As the legend goes, the Momma bear and her two cubs tried to swim across the lake, but the cubs didn't make it. So the Momma Bear waits on land, immortalized as the park's highest dune, and the cubs are still stranded out in the water, as islands.

I went to bed before we got to the islands and awoke this morning to thick fog. We may have been close to the islands, but who could tell?

Something about the whole day felt off. In my nap time between breakfast and lunch, I dreamt
Harrison pours the bubbly for the toast.
I was on a bigger boat and was super stressed about getting lunch out. The galley was in this strange configuration so that people were always walking through and I was stressed and couldn't find anything. Our current first mate, Seth #2, was in the dream. He sent a crew member to make him his own meal and she kept getting in my way and finally I went to Seth #2 and asked him what was wrong and he said something like, "All you ever make is chicken and I want some real meat. And you never make dessert." I was flabbergasted. (In real life, he says how great my food is after every meal.) I replied that he didn't have to worry because I was anyway out of chicken and that I did try to make dessert every night we were in transit.

We arrived in Frankfort to a sizable crowd, especially given the fact that we had no established contact in the town - and the fact that it's a pretty small place.

Not long after we arrived in Frankfort, we got a visit from the Coast Guard. This is not unusual. What is unusual is that they made us run through a man overboard drill... just as we'd sat down to lunch!

Oven-roasted vegetables: turnips, onions, green bell 
peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes.

Happy Birthday, Marlin!
Before dinner, we had a birthday toast to the Marlin and Seth #2 poured some champagne over the side in an offering to Neptune, as is customary.

Then we ate steaks, with chuck steak  that I'd marinated for days. In my mind, even that didn't make those steaks rewarding. Just not a good cut. Though a grill may have helped.

Captain Flash bought ice cream and I put out the cake.

Eggplant with mozzerella, basil and sauteed garlic.

As we sat around the table talking, I shared this email I'd received from my sister this morning with the crew. Apparently, my little nephew, E., has been missing me.

My sister, L., writes:
Our conversations have been going something like this.
"I wanna go see C.C.'s boat."
"I'm sorry, E., but C.C. and her boat are far away"
"Can we drive there?"
"Not today"
"Sorry, but no."
We have had this conversation many times.

Then today we were reading Where the Wild Things Are, and Max got into his boat.
"Like CC's boat?"
"Yes, it's a sail boat, just like C.C.'s boat."
"Is he going to see her?"
"Max is using his imagination, he's pretending to go see the Wild Things, would you like to use our imagination and go see C.C.?"
So we took a sailboat through the jungle and the ocean in his bedroom to see you on your boat:)

Then on the page where Max gets back in his boat and goes back home, Max is in the boat with the moon and the stars overhead.
E. said "C.C. goes night-night in her boat?"
"Yes, do you remember sitting in her bed on the boat?"
Birthday steak.
"Yeah, and she sleeps there, and the moon and the stars are UP IN THE SKY." The last words were spoken with some excitement. :)

Thursday's Menu
I can't remember
I can't remember
Steak, marinated overnight in this recipe. It didn't blow me away.
Eggplant, mozzerella cheese, basil, red wine vinegar and sauteed garlic
Oven-roasted vegetables
Birthday cake: chocolate mayonnaise cake with brown sugar frosting (and store-bought vanilla on top; plus chocolate made by mixing cocoa powder into the vanilla)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Familiar Waters

We cleared the Mackinac Bridge just 
after breakfast.
We curved around the Upper Peninsula and into Lake Michigan today. I got a last glimpse of the Argo up ahead, clearing the Mackinac Bridge a mile or so ahead of us.

For dinner I made wet burritos, something I first recall eating when I was in college in Michigan. The big hit was the sauce, which Eve cleverly identified all the flavors in. And it was super simple to make: one can of diced tomatoes; one can of tomato paste; a few tablespoons soy sauce; a few tablespoons worchestshire sauce; and a few tablespoons ancho chili powder. The idea of course, how the burro gets to be wet, is that you pour the sauce all over the exterior. I stepped out on deck to make a phone call after putting dinner on the table and came back to find that they'd eaten everything - and no one had made a wet burrito. But they loved it. Go figure.

Salsa for taco dinner.
It was a full day in the galley because we're planning a birthday party for the ship tomorrow. So as soon as I finished making chocolate-oatmeal muffins for the midnight meals, I had to bake a cake. Fortunately, the waters have been calm and the engine is off - so the cake baked evenly. I went with the chocolate mayonnaise cake from the Joy of Cooking, not realizing that I had once again chosen a non-Cap friendly food. She doesn't like chocolate cake.

I haven't planned this week's meals, so tomorrow is still up in the air. Not my usual style, but that's how it panned out this time. Our schedule has been packed lately. We arrive in a port and aren't there for too long, but work constantly while we are.
A special snack of Michigan summer 
sausage and Wisconsin smoked 
mozzerella string cheese.

Home Port
I listened to an interview today on online radio with a band called Tennis. The band is a married couple that met in college and then went sailing together. The interviewer asks them at one point: "So what's better, leaving port or returning?" Before they answered, I had time to come to my own conclusion, and their answer rang true: coming home is better. I hadn't thought about this before, but I had made this note recently: "If we are always arriving, we are also always leaving. What a life."

There is a certain excitement with each new adventure, each casting off of lines means that something new lies ahead. But it also means missing all the things you just experienced. It means not fully exploring that town, that beach, those restaurants. Not really knowing anyone. Not really.
Midnight snack: chocolate chip oatmeal muffins.
To arrive is always better. Especially if you're coming home. I walk out to the lakeshore, and I feel it in my bones: I belong here. Maybe not always, maybe not for long. But now, in this moment, and perhaps any time I come back, this place will feel as familiar as a favorite shirt, as tactile and soothing as clean sheets.

By morning, these were the remains of 
the peanut butter and chocolate bars.
Wednesday's Menu
Biscuits and gravy made with the bits and broth from leftover barbecue
Pasta with sausage and broccoli
Wet burritos
Chocolate chip oatmeal muffins - I will post the recipe soon because I really figured out how to get them almost as moist as a cupcake but nutritious at the same time. I took one back aft once I'd taken a bite out of it. "I'm C.nCook and I endorse these muffins," I said to Deutsch.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Halfway to Frankfort

I had a rough time of it last night. I was woken up at 3:45 am because the stove had gone out, and I couldn't go back to sleep.

Soba noodle salad.

Eve's tempeh sandwich and couscous.
Wednesday's Menu
Cardamom and date bread pudding
Sandwiches and salads
Thai red curry and leftover salad
Chocolate peanut butter bars
Thai red curry.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Life is an Open Book Missing Pages

We left Marquette for Frankfort late this morning and have spent most of the day motoring along the shore of Northern Michigan. I was in the Upper Peninsula once, years ago, on a backpacking trip with my friend Jill. We hiked through the Porcupine Mountains - a trail that's actually on our chart. It was lovely. But we never made it to a place called Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Well, today I saw it from the best possible view. Okay, maybe from a kayak would be even better. But it was cool.

We have two passengers on this trip, P1 is a guy and P2 is a gal. They aren't a couple. So far they are both seem really cool. P1 is actually staying with us as a volunteer all the way to Chicago... so maybe I should give him a name. I'll have to think on it.

This morning Strauss woke me up at 7:25 for a 7:30 breakfast. Thank goodness he is an early riser and doesn't drink! I had forgotten to set my alarm last night and drank way too many Manhattans. (The crew each has a version of my antics.)

Cocco for Coconut
Not only was I unprepared for breakfast, I never made a meal plan for the week, so today I was just winging it. As dinner loomed ever nearer and I still felt hungover and unable to decide what to cook, I asked Cap.

"Coconut chicken," she said. And I made it. Word on the street is, she took seconds.

I burnt myself as I was pulling dinner out of the oven. I touched the heating element on the convection oven when it was around 450 degrees. I've burnt myself a number of times on this job, many times on the open oven door and on the chimney for the diesel stove. This time it's a little burn, but it's charred. I was thinking about it and realized that I don't talk about my wounds on the blog. I cut myself pretty badly early on and never mentioned it. That made me think about how my brain sorts out blog-worthy material from the dregs. What can I not talk about?

After dinner I told P1 and Eve and Buttons one of my most mortifying moments. I laughed so hard I was crying. Buttons said her gut hurt. I wondered if I should have divulged it to a complete stranger (P1), but it seemed appropriate. Buttons had just admitted to cleaning the toilet bowls with her bare hands until she realized we had gloves (!). Well, I've just outed Buttons, but there's no way in hell I'm going to retell my most mortifying moment.

Missing Faces
Buttons; and Harrison looking like Indiana Jones in his hat.
Yesterday I broke my camera. I got to go sailing on the sweetest little schooner that does mostly daysails in Marquette. It was so much fun to be on a small boat again. I helped raise sails, sheet in after a tack, and then lower and flake them. But on one of the tacks my camera, unsecured, flew from one side of the cockpit to the other, and the LCD screen stopped working. It's strange to take pictures and not be able to see them. And I can't take video at all. I would've had my little backup camera, but I loaned it to Rigby and he took it with him when he left. I don't know how I'm going to make that film for the chef show audition now.

Buttons said today that she's in touch with Rigby and that he's already hightailed it out of Ohio and is on a fishing boat in Alaska. I kinda knew that Ohio gas station attendant job was going to drive him crazy. I played the album this morning that he really liked by an artist called Lissie, and sent happy thoughts his way. Wherever you are, Rigby, if you're reading this, know that we miss you. Neb especially.

Monday's Menu
I made scrambled eggs and toasted English muffins and got them on the table only about 5 minutes late!
Soba noodle salad with peanut sauce, snow peas, green onions, green bell pepper and cucumber
Leftover agradolce with goat cheese
Sauteed squash salad
Leftover meats
Coconut chicken
Vegetables sauteed with pineapple and garlic
Sweet potatoes candied in lime juice and brown sugar
Rice Krispie treats

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Who Are You People?

On Sunday we fly a flag called the Sunday Jack. 
Just why is a mystery to me.
Sometime yesterday Sea Cookery ticked past it's ten-thousandth hit. Who are you people? Who is that person in Singapore? Do I know you?

Sometimes I think I'll throw in the towel and stop writing, just because it takes so much time and energy. Last night, a few posts behind because of our transit from Duluth, I sat down after making dessert and was up until 2:30 am uploading photos and jotting down menus.

But then I remember when Harrison came back from his hiatus and said he was bringing me a message from his friends and family to blog more regularly. But surely 100 of Harrison's friends aren't checking this each day...?
A view of the Argo firing on the Marlin, from onboard the Coaster II.

"You know why you don't stop," the Nomad said on the phone today. And he's partly right - writers, they say, can't not write. But I have gone through long periods of my life without it. And perhaps they are deserts. As my favorite writer says, if she could do life over again, she'd capture it all like a giant plankton net. She also wisely said that if you're a writer, your job is "to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair."

So, number 10,095, join me as I struggle another day to keep this desk flying, this ship afloat.

Day Off
I am sprawled out on a lawn across from the boat engaged in my favorite day-of pastime, falling asleep in the sun. I went privisiong this morning - it's almost like time off. And today my ride was patient, amused. So I stopped to peruse the local meats and cheeses. I bought strange odds and ends like chow mien noodles and rice paper wrappers. I bought sweets for the crew like Oreos and peanut m&m's for the transit. Tonigt two guests will join us for the passage to Frankfort, MI.

This old elevated rail line for dumping ore 
into boats looms over Marquette's harbor. 
Did I mention that from here on, I've been to every port on our calendar? No more foreign lands to explore. Though that's not quite true, since I will be seeing it all with different eyes. Having gone to college in west Michigan, I know the area pretty well. I've slept in the dunes along the lakeshore, jumped naked in Lake Michigan's waves at midnight, walked miles of her beaches, and eaten at restaurants along the promenades and piers at almost every seaside town from here to Chicago. I even wrote an essay in college about my love for Lake Michigan, about her history, the droves of shipwrecks beneath the surface, the changing fish populations, and the power of water. Did you know that when the first settlers were guided into the lakes by Native Americans, they told of how they could not put their hands in the water without touching fish? Records show the continual and dramatic drop in fish populations with the arrival of the refrigerated train car.

I could go on with small facts. But there are those who know much more than I - Cap and Seth #2 are virtual treasure troves of information on the subject. All I really know is that I have loved that lake fiercely since I first saw her in the early nineties. After my divorce in 1998, I felt the first signs of healing when my sister and I, after driving a 24-foot truck across the country, arrived on her shores south of Saugatuck. For some reason, the lake reminded me that I would feel whole again one day. And so now... Now I'm going home.

Sunday's Menu
An americano at the doughnut shop
And a peanut bar at the market when I suddenly ran out of energy
A doughnut from that box

Niko, captain of the Coaster II, a schooner that
does daysails and charters in Marquette. They invited me
to come along.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

If I Had A Boat

Sunset over Marquette Harbor.
"Hey, I thought you might want to know that there's a Farmers' Market and it looks to be buzzing."

I looked at the clock. I was just putting pate for banh mi in the oven. I had bread dough rising on the counter. I still had to pickle some carrots, make the banh mi sauce, and get all the toppings out. In addition to baking the bread. But I always seemed to miss the Farmers Markets lately. So I grabbed Eve and we headed up the hill that leads from the harbor to the downtown area. 

It was indeed buzzing. We got green onions, lettuce, yellow squash and zucchini and cilantro. When she gave me the money, Cap asked if I couldn't bring back some berries, so we got blueberries and raspberries and cherries. We got nectarines, beets, sugar snap peas and parsnips. And we got an extra basket of raspberries for the Argo, since they'd missed out on the gift from the mayor of Bayfield. 

The Insides of the Argo
For the first time today, I climbed onboard the Argo. I was surprised at how wide her decks seemed in comparison to ours. From a distance, I always sized her up as a bit bigger than the Marlin, but she's much bigger. I wasn't even sure where to turn to find the galley. The engineer pointed the way. All I can say is, I was blown away. What a difference between Mammoth's cave of a galley and this open floorplan (soleplan?). The galley opens onto the dining area with a large "bar" in between, but the bar doubles as their freezer space, with cabinet doors on the counter. It felt so spacious. Huge in comparison to my little nook. 

I don't know my woods, and I naturally think boat=teak, and I'm probably wrong, but imagine a teak interior, shiny and polished, and you have the effect anyway. Their cook, Klaus, was frying chorizo on a propane stove. Note: propane. (Flame.) All Mammoth has to cook on is a wood stove. The Argo has a propane stove AND a diesel stove. If it weren't for all the obvious reasons why I wouldn't want to work there, I would totally want to cook in that galley.

Klaus said it was a little rough on the open sea, and I can imagine that. In my little space, it's hard to get tossed around much. (Though one time, when I was sitting down getting flour out from below my cabinet where the pots and pans are, I managed to slide, on my butt, from one side to the other. The grips on the sole are a joke. I guess they're probably ten years old.) And the Argo galley does lack a view out, which I find really helps combat seasickness and just makes me happy. Still, it was hard to imagine a more lovely place to cook. 

Tomorrow I have the day off. I plan to do my provisioning in the morning, then join in a sailing race. Then eat creme brulee. Or maybe have dinner on the boat. Alex is cooking dinner - without any help from me!

Saturday's Menu
Toasted English muffins
Eggs over easy
Banh mi sandwiches
Texas Brisket
Mashed Potatoes
Salad of fresh market greens, dried cranberries and asiago
Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yes, Michigan

Morning outside Marquette.
Sometime in the morning we arrived in the waters outside Marquette and just drifted, hove-to (our sails set to opposite tacks, therefor effectively stalling the boat). It was a stunning place to heave to. If I'm using too many adjectives lately like "lovely" and "gorgeous" and "stunning," it's because it is. The campaign ads aren't a lie. (Michigan is known for having dropped millions of dollars on its Yes, Michigan! campaign at a time when employment rates were skyrocketing, schools were closing, etc.) And despite the bad economy, if it weren't for the flies and the mosquitos and the nine months of winter, sure, I'd move here. In a heartbeat. 

Off in the distance, in the direction of Marquette, the Argo was anchored, both of us biding our time until the 6 PM arrival. Cap gave the sailors a chance to sleep until lunch, while I continued cooking, making brownies for later, and apple cinnamon granola (because Cap actually came in after breakfast and asked if we had any granola... and heck, I'd been meaning to make some...).

Jalepeno jack biscuits.
One for all, and all for one
Otherwise, today I decided that I was probably not ever going to please Cap, no matter how hard I tried. And as Neb once charmingly said, "If you cook to please only one of us, the rest of us would be bored to tears."

So I made Navajo tacos, knowing she hadn't tried my fry bread last time... but the rest of the crew went nuts over it. 

After lunch we had a man overboard drill, then the sailors sailed and sailed all afternoon until we made our arrival, alongside the Argo. Crowds of people lined the pier to welcome us. I love that when that happens. I just look out the window, and wish I'd been one of those kids when I was little. I wish I'd had a window into this world back then. 
Taco fixings.

Since we don't reset our clocks until a transit is over, it was late indeed when we finally finished work on Friday evening, but both crews were out en masse at the local Irish pub. (I wore the shirt I got in Newport that says, "Everyone Loves an Irish Girl.") We drank beer. A girl from the Argo bought us a round of coffee liqueur shots. (For some reason I couldn't understand her when she introduced herself the first time and thought she said, "Firebreath," though I knew that just couldn't be it...) But mostly we just sat there, Eve, Harrison and I, looking like we were the most boring people in the place - totally exhausted, but making a good show of it. 

I knew 6 AM was going to hit me like a freight train.

Friday's Menu
Jalapeno Jack Biscuits 
Scrambled eggs with toasted cumin seed
Navajo tacos, ie., tacos on fry bread
Black beans
Leftover pulled pork, re-cooked in coke with cinnamon
And all the etceteras
Mu shoo pork (A for effort; B for results)

Our fair ship, hove to.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hold the Cheese, Please

Lunch with the wayward cheese corn muffin.
Today was one of those perfect transit days. Good sailing. Cool weather. It's hard to believe that it can be in the 60s on the boat, when somewhere on land it's 80 degrees plus. We were heading along at a decent clip, At some point in the mid-afternoon we had swells of up to 5 feet.

I could tell Cap was disappointed again at lunch. I thought hard about what to make: I made pork, because I know she likes it; mashed potatoes, plain and simple; debated about what kind of bread-like thing and landed on corn because she ate the hush puppies a few nights back. But no cigar. She didn't eat one because it had cheese in it. "What does she think this is a fuckin' Mexican burrito?" I overheard her say.

Sunset over Superior.

Night Watch
After I'd gone to bed, Deutsch saw my light on and called to me through my curtain.
"Come and see the northern lights off the stern," she said.
I put on a sweater and climbed on deck, but I was too late. Still, the sky was splattered with a thousand stars, and the lights far off on the horizon meant we were getting close to Marquette.

Thursday's Menu
Whole wheat buttermilk pancakes (I didn't use the same recipe as last time because I had no wheat germ; they were nowhere near as good)
Country style pork ribs cooked in barbecue sauce
Mashed potatoes
Cornbread muffins with cheddar cheese
Pasta salad
Cucumber salad
Pulled pork sandwiches
Salad with raspberries and avocado
Agradolce using carrots, beets, onions, currants and toasted pine nuts
Coconut macaroons from the Silver Palate cookbook... Quite easily the fastest dessert ever

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Well Do You Know Your Captain?

The mayor of Bayfield brought us a gift!
The boat started heaving to and fro just minutes after I put breakfast on the table. A squall had started up that was hitting us broadside and pushing us up against the pier. At Cap's command the crew rushed on deck and started securing chafe gear - which entails laying thick cloth over the lines and then securing it with seine twine. One wave in particular knocked us hard. The Argo, which was docked in front of us but with an even less ideal placement, was nowhere in sight when I finished the breakfast dishes. But we waited it out, and within an hour or two, the lake had calmed. 

After lunch Cap gave everyone two hours to go and explore the little town of Bayfield. I wasn't feeling so swell, and instead slept through our short furlough. 

Just before dinner we headed out again. This time we sailed off the dock with an audience to cheer us on, and bystanders helping us by throwing off our lines. It was pretty cool, not to use the motor. I wish I understood more about how Cap had thought it through, but I guess once I have my own little boat again I can play around. 
The dreaded pasta.

You Are What You Eat
I have a feeling Cap is oblivious to how hard I work to serve food I think she'll eat. Tonight I thought she might like pasta with sausage... she could pick out the cabbage. But she came in, took one look at the pasta with napa cabbage and sausage, and walked back up the companionway. A few minutes later I saw her coiling lines outside my galley window. 
"Isn't there anything I can make you?" I asked her. 
"Not if it involves pasta," she said.  

I knew she didn't eat bread. Or onions. Or bell peppers. Or cumin or coriander or cardamom. I am not sure, but I don't think she likes eggplant, cabbage, or anything pickled. On rare occasions I have seen her pick at a few lettuce leaves, but she rarely eats salad. She doesn't like Mexican food. Doesn't like chili. She is pretty insistent that Thai food is a hoax because when she was in Thailand all she ever ate was fried rice. 
But. She likes broccoli, and corn and peas. So sometimes I just take one of those things and cook it separately, plain, and put it on the table and she eats it. She also likes raw carrot sticks. 
But pasta??!?! I had no clue that she didn't like pasta. I could swear she'd eaten my bolognese before, but maybe she'd only ever eaten the sauce and I hadn't noticed.
Bean salad.

After four or five months with someone, you would think I would've picked up on all this. But I must say, I try not to watch her eat. I even try not to be in the salon when she comes down to dinner. 

My mother is great cook, but my sisters and I didn't always appreciate that fact growing up. The few times we came to dinner and said, "Ew," or screwed up our noses, we were either punished or admonished by my father. 

"Your mother worked hard to put this food on t he table," he'd say. "You don't have to eat it, but you have to try it, and you aren't allowed to make noises or faces."
I felt bad for my mom, but sometimes, I mean, meatloaf, really? With onions in it? 

But now I know how she felt. 

Focaccia bread was a huge hit - with the bread-eaters anyway.
Wednesday's Menu
Chilaquiles with chorizo
Sweet and sour chicken 
Sweet and sour shrimp
Strawberries from the mayor
Foccacia bread
White bean salad with tomatoes and basil
Pasta with napa cabbage sauteed in olive oil with Italian fennel sausage and grated asiago 
Blondies with chocolate chips in them

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On Superior Seas

Phad Thai.
We left Duluth in the morning, following the Argo out to Superior. Cap said that we wouldn't benefit from staying in Duluth another day and that it would be better for us to get underway and make headway toward Marquette, where we have a 6:00 PM arrival planned.

All afternoon the crew was involved in projects on deck. Seth #2 explained that "work parties" are an old tradition. I guiltily crept to my bunk and took a long nap. I thought the long, hot days in Duluth were exhausting - and I wasn't doing any of the sailing. Had I been in command, I probably would've stayed in port another day, to rest up.

Off the Chart
We pulled alongside behind the Argo in the small Wisconsin sailing port of Bayview sometime after dinner. This isn't a stop on our schedule, just a town Cap had been to before and liked. It seems cute and cozy from the dock, but with work parties scheduled for tomorrow, it seems unlikely we'll get to see much of it. I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Thai beef salad.
Tuesday's Menu
Leftover bagels, toasted, and scrambled eggs (I woke up tired with 25 minutes to make breakfast); I had the end of a yogurt container with granola and blueberries
Phad Thai with shrimp
Thai beef salad (sorta like this: ...but minus fish sauce, because I ran out, and including the cucumber and carrot rice vinegar salad from two nights ago).
Pineapple fried rice for Cap. While I was making lunch I realized I would have to make something else for her, since she doesn't like fish sauce. I got to thinking what avpain it was to cook several meals - one for the crew, one for Eve, and one for Cap. I started thinking I should throw in the towel on the whole gourmet meLs thong. But then, as we sat at the table after lunch, Deutsch said, "That was an awesome meal." Yeah, I thought, That's why I do it.
Barbecue chicken (using Joy of Cooking's barbecue sauce recipe, simmering the chicken in it until almost done then finishing them in the oven)
Hush puppies with cocktail sauce and horseradish honey
Pasta salad - a riff on one my mom made when we had our big day off at the lake. I had almost all of the ingredients except smoked Gouda.
Caramel corn