La Luna

Coconut Shrimp and Broccoli with Macadamia nuts Recipe

“What do you mean you don’t see it? It’s right there!” Christina shouted through the phone. I was driving along the crunchy, iced-over roads. The cars in front of me rolled along slowly, a quiet steam pouring from their tailpipes into the crisp, blue morning. I frantically scanned the horizon. A gentle sloping hill covered with naked, wiry trees obscured my view to the North. To the West the road was littered with condos, houses, and the occasional strip mall. To the South was a river, topped by bridges, which were lit up like runway strips that sloped upwards. To the East was our towering city, the one we had just left behind.

We had parted ways in the elevator, briefcases in hand, freshly dressed in business attire. The phone call in the car was to continue a conversation which had been interrupted when a couple of residents two floors down, dressed in pajamas and winter coats, entered the elevator.

“Beautiful dog” Christina said, to the woman who was tethered to the small jacketed terrier.

“Thanks” the woman said, flashing an obligatory smile which caused her puffy, morning-eyes to squint closed. Her hair looked exhausted from what must have been an all night wrestling match with her pillow. The young man fidgeted with his pack of cigarettes, and brandished a ceramic mug of what smelled like hazelnut-flavored coffee. When the elevator reached the first floor, Christina left with the two of them. I continued on to the basement where I entered my chili car, and exited the parking garage.

By the time I had hit the first stop light, my phone began to vibrate.

I pushed the talk button. “Elevators are so awkward” I said to Christina immediately, skipping the part of the conversation where pleasantries are exchanged.

“I know” she replied, and we continued our conversation about this and that until..

“OH MY GOD” she said.

“What?” I replied.


“What? What?” I pleaded.

“It looks so REAL”

“What does, tell me!!” I was beginning to get agitated.

“It’s like I could touch it, right here”

I rolled my eyes. Clearly she had forgotten about me. “TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT” I demanded.

“THE MOOOOOON” she cooed. She sounded like she was in a trance. I was reminded about the long list of facebook posts from the night before.

check out the moon’,

beautiful sky‘, and

la luna‘ people had posted.

Some had just written flowery poetry, or quotes about nature and her majesty. People were checking in from all over the map to share their moon fever. I remembered that even my mother had taken a moment to mention the moon when she had called from New Jersey the night before.

“It’s just so incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it!!” Christina continued, she was more speaking to herself at this point, as clearly she had left the planet and was now in full orbit around what I imagined to be an orange globe of pure beauty.

“I WANT TO SEE IT, WHERE IS IT!!!” I shouted, as though it were somehow her fault that the drive between our home and my work required going straight through a valley.

“IT’S RIGHT THERE!!” She replied, equally frustrated with me. “WHY CAN’T YOU SEE IT??”

“I don’t see it!”

“What do you mean you don’t see it? It’s right there!!”

I started to laugh. I was reminded of this quote:

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo. You might say,

“the world outside is vast and intricate. There are wheat fields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom. At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding”

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

“There is no other world. I only know what I’ve experienced. You must be hallucinating.” -Rumi

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Who’s Ready?

Zucchini and Mushrooms with Grass-fed Beef Recipe

The closest grocery store is at least 16 nautical miles west of your current heading. The crew is a hungrier one than you had anticipated, and if you are not careful you will run out of perishables. Your mind is keen to the ripeness of every banana hanging from your netted basket, to the crispness of every pepper, to the smell of sweet potatoes buried in the galley storage bunks. You smell for them to give off the hint ammonia, signaling the slightest threat of turning the corner from food to foul. You simply can’t afford to lose them.

There are many approaches to successfully tackling the demands of cooking on a tall ship. Some people plan out each meal carefully, making up spreadsheets and shopping lists. The advantage to this is that you can, once in awhile, send the crew out to do the grocery shopping for you so that you can have the opportunity to explore when pulling into port. I never quite learned how to do this, opting instead for the death by fire method. Buy as much food as possible, and then become a psycho stalker of the food, visiting it many times each day to check on it. There are a few advantages to this approach. One is that you become an international grocery shopping expert, knowing the ins and outs of the markets; from the piggly wiggly to the Fulton street fish market, you know where to find the freshest foods. The second advantage is that you remain flexible as a cook. “What’s for dinner?” people ask (although they are technically forbidden from doing so since it has been known to drive cooks to a repetitive rocking type of insanity in the past). To this question I would respond “I have no idea” and most often, I meant it.

One skill that I picked up from cooking on the ships, and I continue to use to this day, is incorporating leftovers into new dishes. The key is to create simple meals the first day, and then allow the meals to get more complicated. Example: Day 1 chicken breasts topped with carmelized onions. Day 2 chicken burritos, Day 3 chicken salad (lunch), and sesame noodles with chicken stuffed egg rolls (dinner).

I was reminded of the ship as I put together tonight’s dinner. I didn’t plan it, I just came home from work, opened the fridge and asked the question “who’s ready?”. It seems crazy to talk to vegetables, which is okay because the important thing is not that you actually talk to them, the important thing is that you listen. Tonight the meal turned out to be pretty good, and satisfying. There is a recipe for everything that is in tonight’s recipe on this blog, and I have included links to them for convenience sake should you decide to make something similar to this meal.  ~Enjoy!

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The Paleo Palaeo Burger

Palaeo Burger Recipe

“What are you trying to be European or something?” Dave said, pointing and leaning back in his office chair to open my line of sight to his screen. I even have to look in order to know exactly what he was teasing me about. Continue reading The Paleo Palaeo Burger

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Finally Doing Some Research: the Palaeo Diet

Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom-Zucchini Tomato Sauce Recipe

“The information cascade, or what I think should be called ‘the misinformation cascade’ is when people see someone else doing something and then they do the same thing, even though it goes against their instincts. It’s what has caused us all to keep buying low-fat foods even though they don’t actually improve weight loss. Continue reading Finally Doing Some Research: the Palaeo Diet

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Story Time: A Curious Tale

Orange Pork with Roasted Root Mash Recipe

A little fiction to enjoy by the fireplace:

I hopped down the sidewalk, carefully stepping in spots where the snow had been dusted to the side and the sandy concrete promised firm footing. Having no certain direction, I felt the lure of the shop the instant I glimpsed it through my side eye. A bell sounded as I briskly swung open the smudged glass door. Continue reading Story Time: A Curious Tale

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Roasted Chicken For My Roots

Roasted Chicken, Bulbs, and Roots Recipe

A new idea is like a power bar and red-bull smoothie to my mother. It doesn’t matter if the idea ever turns into a project, or if the proposed project even involves her. It’s like her mind just keeps jumping from adventure to adventure. Continue reading Roasted Chicken For My Roots

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Dare to eat differently

Chip-free “Nachos” with Chili-Lime Chicken and Guacamole Recipe

I shuffled through the wet slush to the bus stop outside of the large brick classroom building on campus, following behind the backpacks of my classmates Drew and Norman. The three of us were the only representatives of the nutrition graduate program in a biostatistics class 100 strong, so we stuck together. Continue reading Dare to eat differently

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You are what you eat?

I braced myself as the ship tossed from side to side in the grips of the wake from a passing ship. The children were sprawled out and cross-legged all over the deck. They squinted up at me, there heavy heads were crooked back so far that they appeared to grow directly out of their shoulders. They resembled turtles pulling back into their shells. “Show no fear” I thought to myself. Continue reading You are what you eat?

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