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Guests can pause, listen and share

By Staff | Mar 26, 2010

It happened in the wood paneled, three-deck high, art deco Britannia Restaurant on the Queen Mary 2. Who would have thought while descending the panache of the sweeping staircase, into the dining room this would be a main point of conversation? It was repeated on deck as the sun knitted that golden streak between those dark, bloated blue clouds. It also happened in the cozy confines of the brilliant library. Who would have thought it could happen while enjoying a Voya seaweed treatment in the Canyon Ranch Spa?

Like the welcoming and consoling buds of spring, is anything more appealing than the new recipe you can’t wait to try? By now you know that the Queen Mary 2 is an elegant, purebred ocean liner and taking a transatlantic crossing will embrace your soul as your journey unfolds in wondrous ways. At the core of this journey is the art of conversation, facets of relaxation, and an endless channel of communication about foods of our world.

For yours truly, the grand voyage did produce many keen conversations. Each day I would awake refreshed and with the anticipation of learning something new and fascinating about this luxury ocean liner. The 170-year-old tradition of the Cunard line can certainly capture your interest. While the world’s largest jigsaw has 45,000 pieces, the hull alone of the Queen Mary 2 is made up of six times that number! Her length at 1,132 feet surpasses the Eiffel Tower. Comfort comes with the muscle of her engines, rake of prow and her lean, yet dapper lines that allow her to navigate waves of an Atlantic gale. She is truly an engineering marvel.

It is, however, the conversation about recipes that the assorted passengers themselves have served that still mingle in my mind. Flanking their recipes were sides being served about their country, their family, and how the enjoyment of food can bring together many aspects. I often jotted many mental notes. It was, however, the hands that actually penned these recipes that I now consider to be the fine accoutrements of this inclusive crossing.

Here are three recipes from the several I gathered while crossing the North Atlantic. They are all uniquely different – just like the passengers. Each one has a different kind of nourishment that will eminently reward your taste buds.

Scotch oatcakes

This is a unique recipe from a lovely lady named Blue from Nova Scotia. We chatted several times in the library, where her companion, a pencil, rested behind her ear. Serve them with a bit of butter and honey. If your family has approached you about making something different in the kitchen, give them a surprise with these.

Place 4 cups of oatmeal into a bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon soda and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir in 6 tablespoons melted shortening and about 1 cup of hot water, or enough to make a firm dough. Roll out very thinly on a board which has been sprinkled well with oatmeal. Cut into large circle about 9 or 10 inches. Next you cut these circles into pie wedges and bake on a hot griddle until the edges curl. Flip over and bake briefly on the other side.

You may also bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Eggplant steak

I met Mimi at our dining room table. She lived in Oyster Bay, New York. She was all of 70 and still loved swimming and dancing thus explaining her youthful waistline. We conferred recipes and conversations about food several times. Shortly before we arrived in England, she presented me with this favorite recipe from her kitchen. She had been out strolling on deck when she noticed me relaxing in one of the genuinely beautiful teak deck chairs. She opened her purse and presented it to me with these words, “I have a whole new take on North Dakota after meeting you, and now you will have a new take on eggplant. Enjoy!”

First of all, eggplant is beautiful. You know our Creator had a eye for color with the deep purple skin of eggplant. At home, we raised eggplant in our garden and usually placed it under the broiler with a bit of butter and finely chopped celery on top. This is colorful and so very tasty. Folks who have shied away from eggplant will have a conversion – plus being healthy – after trying this recipe.

On a broiler pan arrange: 6 slices of eggplant cut 1 inch thick, 3 tomatoes which have been halved, and a few small sausages or a small ring of sausage and mushrooms caps. (You know-the little mushrooms you have walked past for years in the produce department.)

Mix together cup bread cubes, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Sprinkle this mixture over the eggplant and tomatoes which have each been arranged in rows. Dot the mushrooms with butter and broil all of this about 3 to 4 inches away from heat source. Keep near until you hear the sausages are done and the vegetables are brown and tender. I often prefer to add the bread crumb mixture the very last few minutes of cooking as this prevents it from getting too brown. Serve all of this very hot and with a bit of parsley butter sauce.

Megthalota

Each day high tea is served in the elegant Queen Room aboard the Queen Mary 2. It is a much anticipated tradition for transatlantic travelers. Arranged around the edges of this formal room are clusters of settees and matching chairs upholstered in fine brocades. They are as inviting as cozy cottages along the lakeshore. Travelers move with a quiet rustle as they glide to their French provincial quarters. A luminous golden harp is swished by the fingers of the musician creating tasteful tranquil compositions. At this very moment, you know something very special is going to wrap itself around you. As the stage doors opened, a procession of men and women dressed in navy and white with gold braiding began to gracefully twist between the assemblies of tea admirers. Silver trays that are divinely robust with tea sandwiches, scones and cookies rest with ease in their white-gloved hands. To watch tea being poured is a concert in itself. Presented were cucumber sandwiches laced with a bit of rose water. Utterly mesmerizing! Maurice, who was seated to my left said, “When you want to spellbound your guests, use a bit of rose water.”

A few days later his wife, wearing a ravishing shawl with clusters of peridot hydrangeas presented me with this recipe. Their home is in Greece, and she shared with me about how her family often used rose water. I have not researched this recipe. I only know that it is great to make, and I present it to you as she wrote it.

Mix together 1 1/2 cups sugar and 2 pounds of almonds, blanched and finely chopped. Beat 4 large egg whites with a pinch of salt until frothy. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and continue to beat until very stiff, but not dry. Fold in the almonds and sugar and add 2 tablespoons of rose water. Drop the batter by the teaspoon on a buttered and floured baking sheet. These need to be baked in a slow oven-300 degrees for about 20 minutes. Like meringue, these are best made on a dry day. I have also used orange water and this works equally as well as rose.

Repnow is a

Rugby resident.

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