Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Round of thanks: "thank you for this perfect day"

My friend Linda Kohler posted this gratitude song on her facebook page today, which reminded me of a story. I recall being seasick on my first ocean voyage as a cook one December just before Christmas on the Pacific Ocean. We left the flat and calm Columbia River through the bar to the stormy open ocean. We were delivering a cruise ship for our winter cruises in Baja Mexico. The ship was flat bottomed and light as it was empty of passengers. This meant that our ship crashed with loud BAM, shiver, and shake with the sound of of tied down gear clinking and clanging to the steel hull after every swell.The winds raged up to 80 mph in gusts and the ocean swell was significant. I recall spending a lot of time in my bunk and crawling to the kitchen to prepare meals. I was literally holding on to everything I could to stabilize myself during a trip to the galley while in this nauseous dream state. I was amazed that anyone was eating anything other than saltines and seltzer! but I did my duty, minimum duty of opening cans of clam chowder, then proceeded to burn it. I was stirring in a large pot on the stove and couldn't even tell it was burned as I wasn't tasting anything. When you scorch the bottom of a soup, you taste it throughout. The crew that had stormy motion tolerance made themselves sandwiches! I had the window open for fresh air and the sea spray from the huge waves would blow in. I sang that song while the thrashing of the huge waves rocked me. I loved the recording I had of little children singing it in a round. It comforted me. Returning to flat land, it took a couple days to get my land legs back and I dreamed in motion. Repeated trips eventually resulted in better sea legs and better cooking too! Here is the song!

"Thank you for this perfect day; Truth and Love point out the way" Calm and exalted each morning I pray; Thank you for this perfect day." (Morning Round - Madora Kibbe)

Posting clam chowder, fish chowder, corn chowder, smoked salmon chowder, would be in order. Does anyone want to post their favorite? I made an exquisite scallop/Jerusalem artichoke soup one holiday {that I didn't invent} and it was terrific.


Rebecca Bush said...

It's a challenge enough for me to feel "grounded" on solid land-- I can't imagine how you managed to adapt to living and cooking (!) on a sea going vessel. What is your favorite chowder recipe?
Thanks for the song-- I don't know it but I bet I could find it online. :)

isobel said...

My favorite chowder is oyster chowder and it's the easiest. Whole milk, oysters and a touch of cream and chives. Oh and some diced potato.

I enjoy making corn chowder as it tastes so substantial and good for you. Ingredients vary. Salmon chowder is usually so rich. Not my favorite. Clam chowder is great. I like lots of chewy clam bits and not too many potatoes. I try to cut the potatoes small so that they arn't too much to eat. I have made it with a flour and butter roux, and with cream, and with mashed potato or potato flour. I usually start with some roux and then finish it off with potato flour, adding a few tablespoons of cream at the last minute to make it smooth. Some chopped parsley, and chives. Some use celery. I have used fenel before. It was interesting and good but not so ytraditional.