One calm Sunday in April, the crew of the Riggin and the Timberwind moved our new pretty schooner up Penobscot Bay to her new home in Belfast, Maine. The day started calm and then picked up to a feisty 25 knots of breeze on the beam, but for a spring day in Maine, this is still a fairly low key day on the bay. As the sun was closing out the day, our crews celebrated their efforts. To top it all off, the Bangor Daily News was kind enough to highlight the Timberwind‘s new life.
Thank you, Belfast, for your welcoming ways
I traded swanky, landscaped, plated meals for the pine-studded coast liberally sprinkled with lichen-covered granite and a sea that is ever changing from a smokey charcoal to deep forest green. My kitchen (galley) is outside and instead of being enclosed by four greasy walls lined with pots, pans and stainless equipment, I have pine tables, a cast iron wood stove and the smell of wood smoke. My skin has the kiss of the sun, rather than the pasty white of someone who works indoors, even in the summer.
However, as a chef, there are a few things that occasionally ding my pride. I’m a big girl, also an enthusiastic, optimistic one, so the moment doesn’t last long. But I cook on a boat all summer long and there are a number of situations that take priority over the visual attractiveness of my culinary hard work. Sometimes my food doesn’t look perfect and it bothers me.
For example, the reason this salad has so many apples on it is not that Cassie, my assistant cook, got crazy with the apples, although this is not out of the question. No, the true reason is that salad greens unprotected, literally, blow away with the first step on deck. We feed the fish, not our guests.
I love the look of micro-greens. Do I ever use these delicate beauties? No. I would be the only one to see them. See the blowing away reference above.
Also, the nature of my galley and the space available on any boat dictates that I serve family style. I don’t have space to plate up 30 dinners in my galley. Which means that sometimes my food is served in the pan in which it was cooked. Again, there is a rustic simplicity, and dare I say beauty, to this look. But no, beauty is not the word. Practical, useful, convenient, expedient, safe, frugal. These are the words I would use to describe my pans, but I tell you, a girl who wants to look pretty does NOT want to use these words and neither does the girl, who is the chef, who wants her food to look pretty.
The menu for lunch on the day these photos were taken was:
Local Porcini and Broccoli Leaf Mac n Cheese, Roasted Veggie and Local Italian Sausage Mac n Cheese, Garlic Knots, Apple, Walnut, Raisin Garden Greens Salad, Dijon and Champagne Vinaigrette and an Apricot Orange Pound Cake
It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And then I look at these photos and I’m sad that they don’t do it justice. I remember this meal and I loved the Porcini and Broccoli Leaf Mac n Cheese… There was nothing left of this meal. But the look of it? The pans are … Hmm.
Ah well, at heart I am both creative, practical, artistic, and frugal. It turns out that my food on this beautiful boat we sail, meandering along the breathtaking Maine Coast, has the exact qualities of both me and of Maine. I’d rather be right where I am – in my outdoor kitchen, creating honest food that fits it’s place perfectly.
Just accepting what is
The curtains needed replacing. They’d served us well, done their 10-year duty in the galley and needed to be switched out. As I’m working on the switch, this is what happens on deck…
The actual race started out well and then drifted to a lumpy sea at the end, but man did we have fun. The entertainment began the night before with the small boat races.
There were two categories- rowing and sailing. Oh, and a prize for the crew members who made the biggest fools of themselves. Justin, Ella, Toni and Cassie got right into the spirit of things and dressed the part of pirates and… a moose?
In any event, Cassie and Toni, entered into the rowing race, had their oars pilfered at one point and were firing day old biscuits at competitors. Ella and Justin, the sailing contingent, resorted to using a bilge scoop to paddle the chamberlin failing enough wind and managed to both stay in their boat. Unlike Cassie and Toni who ended up attempting to swim and tow the peapod.
Once back on board, the night ended perfectly with a collective round of Mingulay Boat Song and we went to our bunks with the harmony of the music still reverberating in our chests.
So much laughter!
Hey Gang! Come join us for a taste of Maine, some good fun and a lobster or three!
Photo credit: Susan Land
Merry Christmas to us!
All summer long Jon and I could see the Schooner Timberwind from the deck of the Riggin. We would say to each other that someone should buy that boat. She’s so pretty. She deserves a new life. But when we said “someone” we were NOT meaning us.
However, life had other plans and within a short time after our season ended, we found ourselves on another schooner adventure as the owner of not one, but two Maine windjammers! We are the proud owners of the Schooner Timberwind.
There is still a lot to figure out, but we do know that she’ll be run as a daysailer from a Midcoast town by our former Mate, Lance Meadows. The rest is yet to be confirmed and we’ll look forward to sharing more, when we, ourselves, discover it!
Our fleet expands yet again
As a food writer and business owner I’m constantly challenged by what the next new idea is. It used to be that we were on the leading edge of things. We were one of the first 50 businesses in Maine to receive the Leadership in Hospitality award from the Department of Environmental Protection. Our “It’s All About the Food Cruises,” where 90% of our food came from within 100 miles of us, were the first of their kind in our area. Even composting and recycling on the boat — which trust me, took some effort to figure out — are places where we led the way.
But now that everyone and every business is “green” — or at least they say they are — where do we go from here to be a leader? Likewise, everyone is talking about how local they are. Now that we buy entire sides of local beef and pork, raise nearly half of our veggies in the garden and buy almost all the rest from a CSA, what’s next? Raising our own animals? On 0.6 acres of land? That’s “zero point six” acres, not 6 acres. Not likely. Perhaps we should have hens on the boat like they used to do on the ships that sailed around the world; from the beginning of the voyage those early sailors carried many of the animals that would become their sustenance.
Then my mind wanders to what prompted us to go green, local and sustainable to begin with. At the core, it was about providing a clean environment and healthy food for our family. In the end, the business received the benefit as well, but initially, all I wanted was to avoid hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, and chemicals in our food.
We began with the goal of healthy food for our family and in the process created a healthy food experience for our guests and for our schooner business. Do we relish being a leader? Definitely. And will we keep looking for the next new good things for our family…AND for our schooner? Absolutely. And, in the meantime, we can also bask in the enjoyment of what we’ve created. To love walking in the gardens early in the morning with a cup of coffee and deciding what is to be harvested for the next trip. To know that the bulk of what we are serving and eating is full of that which is good for us. And to enjoy the literal and figurative fruits of our creations.
I can be satisfied with that. Absolutely.
Remember the time when most of the people in this picture were NOT married? Johnny (red shirt) and Andy (kneeling by the kettle) are both married to wonderful women and live in New York City. Chris (blue shirt second from the left) is also in New York City. All are working and supporting themselves in smart, creative ways! Good work, guys. Capt and I are proud of you.