Yesterday an old and on-going frustration with CNN popped up again.. why is it that half the time when I click on a video link, it doesn’t load?
I have thought that this issue was mine alone – until this morning, talking with my brother who says it happens for him too. Grrrr – c’mon CNN – you must have the skill to fix this!

I was trying to view a link to a story on the launch of a schooner – that had been built in a barn for 33 years. My passion for sailing old wooden ships began in 2006, when I was the Chef for the oldest continuously operating merchant sailing vessel in the USA – the Schooner Stephen Taber out of Rockland, Maine.

The Taber, as her friends call her, is now about 140 years old and has never been un-intentionally grounded. Drawing five feet, she is extremely sea-worthy and is reputed to be the magic ship of the Maine Windjammer Fleet. Offering passengers four and six day cruises – she’s quite the blast to be with.

My time with Captain Noah Barnes as crew is one of the highlights of a culinary career. The experience was intimate, physical and steeeped in knowledge gain about old wooden ships, sailing, maritime culture and history, and.. how to make gourmet food with only a woodstove.

Cooking on a woodstove is so very different. There is no walking away from it and letting it be – you have to check the firebox every few minutes, constantly tweaking and adjusting and checking. Combine that with the motion of sailing blue waters – well, it can become challenging.

Pots and pans slide across the top, cakes bake with “waves” in their top, things burn and spill. Try slicing carrots or potatoes as the boat swings in all directions! And, when Chef gets the call from Captain – “Chef On DECK! – back the fore!” a hundred or more times a day – well…
But, food cooked on a woodstove tastes better! I can’t really explain it – the scent gets in and empowers the flavors of the food. There’s nothing like Venison Osso Bucco, Roast Duck with Cassoulet or Molasses Rum Raisin Cake made using a woodstove!

Oh – by the way – I won’t eat lobster anywhere else. When you sail into Stonington Harbor at noon, pick up lobsters (the grasshoppers of the sea) from the co-op plucked that morning, sail around the corner to a deserted island named “Wreck Island” and lobster bake on shore, sharing the experience with world travelers who are sitting on the beach cracking open lobster with rocks…. eating lobster anywhere else is just not the same.

I’ll let the Barnes Family pitch their experience to you by inviting you to check them out –