Saturday, November 22, 2008

Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope!

We just finished up a big trip with the bosses and it seams that despite my best intentions to write more, blogging comes only with a sacrifice of sleep – and I require at least 3 hours of beauty rest a night… The trip went smoothly as we worked through the bumps of a newly launched boat – figuring out service, provisioning, etc. No major hiccups and I provisioned well, not having to grocery shop for 14 days – a feat, considering I was providing breakfast, lunch, snacks, horsedeouvres and dinner for 12 to 18 people a day, everyday!

We celebrated the election and our departure with Kobe sliders and apple pie as we slipped out of the harbor in San Diego on election night. I said goodbye to Whole Foods, organic meat, gourmet food stores and all the gorgeous produce that I probably won’t be seeing again for a very, very long time. I shed a tear mid-way on our passage as I reached the last of my baby arugula and tiny, purple oak leaf lettuces. I know what the future holds for me as we work our way towards the equator – spotty iceberg lettuce, romaine if I’m lucky. I blew a kiss to my micro-herbs as I delicately drizzled them over a plate, goodbye micro-herbs, I won’t be seeing you for a few years, that’s for sure. Golden pea sprouts, purple shiso, pencil thin asparagus – no more. Organic apples, farewell. Artisinal cheeses and breads – goodbye my friends. fresh mozzerella, organic milk and eggs – well, we’ll see what the future has in store.

I’d stocked the walk-in, literally, to the hilt. There was hardly room to breath, crates stacked from floor to ceiling – all of which lasted an astonishingly short two weeks (God, food goes quickly around this joint…). The bilge is bulging with a supply of organic flours, jams and jellies, cereal, baking supplies, canned goods, grains, pasta and beans, cooking oil, gourmet olive oil and vinegars, and so on. The freezers are crammed with Kobe beef, organic pork, and lamb and game meats. The crew knows now that I will beat them within an inch of their lives if they should help themselves to anything without consulting me first. Provisioning in Mexico is not like the Caribbean – and the Caribbean can be a challenge – but at least there, there are provisioners to help you out. I have yet to find one provisioner here that can supply goods directly to the yacht. One restaurant supplier in La Paz may be able to help me out with some imported meats and produce and I can have orders shipped down to Mexico from San Diego – but nothing is firm. What is promised, what I request and what I receive are often very different and the grocery stores thus far have been less than inspiring. Grocery shopping every few days, with guests aboard, is totally impractical; especially considering the quantity that I require to feed everyone - and the locations we’ll be in – where there may be absolutely nothing available! And as for specialty goods, somehow, I don’t think I’ll be finding an Asian grocery store here. Does Mexico have a China Town?

For the next few months it will be cactus paddles and coconuts, tomatillos and chilies and plantains – which I thoroughly enjoy. But it’s the salad greens that I will miss the most. Lush, fresh, salad greens. It seams the more tropical the climate, the harder it is to find good produce… I’ve requested to have a greenhouse built on the yacht, but the captain isn’t willing to give up one of the tenders to make room on the toy deck, and he says it will block his view if we put it on the foredeck. Dang.

An agriculture inspector came aboard the other day and mentioned something about confiscating all my beef because apparently the United States has an issue with mad cow disease. News to me! But the thought of having my provisions confiscated did send my heart rate up. But, I remembered my Jedi training and put it to good use:

"this isn't the beef you're looking for"

I said in a calm voice, and with a wave of my hand, the inspector departed and a major catastrophe was averted. I’ll have to use The Force more often. That was cool…

Well, I’m off for a little while now, back to the States to cook up a couple of birds for Thanksgiving and a little dinner in Chicago. Ok, ok, 20 courses with Grant Achatz and Thomas Keller at Alinea! Do I have the best bosses in the whole entire world, or what?! Mrs, X – YOU ARE THE BEST! I am your dedicated and humble servant forever and ever and ever and ever. I am dancing around my cabin as I write this. I’ll definitely be blogging about that meal! Ooh, the boats rocking, I’d better calm down…

Bye for now…


Kate said...

ohhhh, my mouth is still watering from the foods that I only heard you cooked while my folks were on board. I swear, my mother has been walking around saying "she is the best. cook. ever." every day:) Can't wait to see you and share in a glass of wine (or two) over Thanksgiving...and have fun with your 20-courser, Justin took me there for my birthday two years ago-- quite the experience!

wanderingblonde said...

Long time since we've had a blog entry from you. Hope all is well. Happy New Year! Careful not to burn yourself out. Really hope you are OK. I know that sometimes the very best jobs ARE the very hardest of all. From everything you've said it sounded like this job was perfect, but no "job" is ever perfect, a job can never be. It is a "Job."

But then again, life is never perfect, regardless of whether we are talking about a job or our family and friends. It is all work in a way and no matter what we do it will never be, or turn out exactly as we want it to.

All we can do is our best and try to start each day with a good attitude. If the worst happens, we pick ourselves up and carry on.

Just remember people will always like people who feed them!


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