Wednesday, January 13, 2016


At about halfway through the non-stop eleven day feeding frenzy packaged as the Crystal Harmony Wine and Food Festival, a luxury cruise through the Panama Canal, our bodies had somehow adapted to, even expected now, multiple daily servings of butter, lobster, chocolate, caviar, ice cream, rich sauces, pastries, and so forth. Why on earth would you want to make room for the much too healthy fruit and vegetables? That could wait until after vacation. Now was the time for well-deserved self-indulgence. Besides, the thought of the effort required to chew through all of that raw fiber was just unbearable. You see, the well-trained staff, which attended to our every need, had by now hopelessly spoiled us. Even as you would reach out to fill your coffee cup on the more casual breakfast option, a buffet line, some swarthy young European would swoop in and say, “Please allow me. Regular or decaf? And don’t you look wonderful this morning.” Would they peel my banana or peel and slice an apple? Of course, but who had time with Salsa II in ten minutes.
So it should come as no surprise that as our ship anchored in a remote archipelago off of the Colombian coast, and as the natives approached in their dugout canoes, and began chanting “money, money, money,” we started tossing apples overboard! Nickels were the suggested token gift, but there was just, well, something that felt so good about sharing such a healthy, crispy treat with those impoverished citizens. Of course, as the guest wine lecturer, I had to be discreet. I didn’t dare toss over whole pineapples, or handfuls of Seahorse Mints, or those cute little bottles of shampoo, let alone apples. The guest chef, however, was not so discreet later, when he discovered that the ingredients to make his signature Tarte Tatin had literally been tossed overboard. I think his words were curses. I am not sure, because he was yelling in his native French. I would put money on it, though, at least a nickel.
The laughter, the day’s shared events, the surprise, and the love – all create an experience that nourishes both the body and the soul.
—The Crystal Cruises Cookbook

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