Friday, July 29, 2011

The Wave

I count at least 12 different waterfalls from the view of my galley window, and the glacier capped mountains melt away in the summer sun of Iceland. My Anti-sea-sick wrist bands are cutting off a bit of circulation to my hands, which are busy chopping onions and carrots for the soup. My stance is wide and knees bent as I guide my body through coordination of riding the boats movements over the waves. From my cutting board, I can reach the stove, sink and trash can with just a slight abdominal twist to the right or left. The boat slows down as we enter a small cove, and the vibration from the engine shifts a bit to that of a lowering anchor. Steady in my process of crew and guests lunches while still getting comfortable in a foreign kitchen. Day 3 in Iceland and in a fully stocked kitchen (like fully, as in we have at least 3 supermarkets worth of items logged into nooks and crannies of this one boat). Adapting to yet another shift in my life- going from skin tight white summer dresses and Italian leather sandals to Icelandic cashmere boat uniforms and winter-lined wellies.

The galley door swings open, Sanders (the first mate) has a bucket which he swings onto my counter- "Hey gypsy! They have already caught 5 of these big guys.... Happy cleaning!" he says in his Dutch accent, flashing a big smile, and turns to leave the room. Looking down into the bucket are 2 HUGE fresh cod, still gasping and twitching for a drop in saltwater." Wait a minute there buddy!", I call as I drop my knife and grab a scarf to chase him out the door onto the back of the boat. One after the other, guests pull up cod from the cold ocean bellow, as if the fish were just begging to be lifted from the waters. With a swing of my chef-wand (....a promise to make the crew fish and chips, plus a secret portion of fresh blueberry ice cream) and a bat of the eyelashes, it is agreed that the fish will be cleaned by our local Icelandic representatives Ottur and Disa, and thankfully not by me. I return to my galley, walking slowly along the outside of the boat. Hands tucked in to the pockets of my apron. I allow myself to take a moment for a few deep breathes in, and out.
In and out.
The clean, cold air enters, and a fortifying and revitalizing sense of self settles in.......... I am in Iceland.... Iceland!! I am reminded that although my slow morning moments over strong coffee have been replaced with 20 hungry mouths to feed. And my yoga practice is now a thing of the past. I have found again my title as chef, and I have jumped on a wave (so to say) with intention to inspire others through the eyes of food, and to keep me out here in the world. Living the only way I know how to live.

~A Menu for Iceland~

Cod carpaccio with lemon oil and Icelandic arugula.
White bean and barley soup with kale and wild thyme.
 Fresh Ice cream made from the blueberries on Disa's farm.

The sun never sets here, but I must find time to sleep. Good night.


  1. an amazing sounding menu for an inspiring sounding trip! safe sailing & thinking of you as i eat pizza with zucchini ribbons, garlic scapes, mozzarella & fresh tomato and a bottle of local rose. miss you!

  2. I bet cod never tasted so good!Is icelandic arugula spicy? Or more hearty (from the cold)
    and sweet? And the blueberries? Are they happy?
    and sweet?
    I'm curious about flavors of food grown in different micro-climates.

  3. I'd love to pull up a chair at the table for that meal and rest my eyes upon that horizon. You are SO in your element in the kitchen Ash. We are following you around the northern seas until your return. To the Icelandic moon....

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  5. From India to Iceland -- in less than 1 year -- with Italia (and España & Morocco, but they do NOT begin with an "I", so less alliterative...) in between! Amazing life you've chosen, Ashley ... and I enjoy your blog tremendously. Is that a photo of the boat you're cruising on now? Woof. Not what I imagined from Facebook post. I'm only sorry that the North Sea (is it that sea? ... have to look at an atlas!) is kicking your equilibrium-butt so badly. Sea sickness is really not fun. Been there, but not for so many consecutive days .... I drool over the Iceland menu you posted, and wonder, too, about the flavor of Icelandic arugula. Feel better soon!