It’s What’s For Dinner

Chicken dinner plucking

Fresh ingredients: From free-range chicken to dinner table, an Indonesian reminder of where our food originates. © Jeffrey Cardenas

I often forget about the process necessary to bring food to my mouth. Tonight that process is in my face.

I have ordered grilled chicken from the blackboard menu at Nusantara, a tiny, thatched roof Indonesian eatery on the water at Gili Gede. Casual restaurants like this are common everywhere in Indonesia but two things make Nusantara stand apart.

It begins with the restaurant’s proprietor. Fitriah Rahmadany is a 25-year old who has just embarked on her first entrepreneurial enterprise. She was born here. She is bright, happy, and optimistic. “Some days we don’t have any customers,” she says with a smile. “But we are always ready for them.”

Chicken dinner hug.sm Chicken dinner Fitri

Fitraih is always ready because the ingredients for items on her menu are walking around in the restaurant. There is no sentimentality about preparing them for supper.

The process begins when a chicken is caught by the feet. A quiet prayer is said and the chicken’s head comes off with a swift cut of a knife. The body is dropped briefly into a pot of hot water which allows the feathers to be easily plucked. The organs are carefully removed and threaded onto a homemade bamboo skewer for later preparation. The whole chicken, feet included, is then lathered with a creamy coconut curry sauce. Ten minutes after the knife, the chicken is becoming food cooked over a fire of sweet-smelling coconut husks.

I am not being flippant about this process. It is a meaningful experience for me to watch an animal killed to feed me. The meal is delicious, but it is more than that. There is a life force that accompanies my grilled chicken supper tonight.

Chicken dinner.sm

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For upcoming passages when I have no cell or WiFi signal, I have activated a satellite tracking link that shows the daily position, current weather, and includes a few personal thoughts from the daily log of Flying Fish. I will not be able to respond to messages via satellite but I love the idea that you are sailing along with me. If you would like to follow the daily progress of Flying Fish into Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean via satellite you can click this link: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Flyingfish

Please subscribe at the bottom of this page so that you don’t miss a new update, and consider sharing this post with others who might enjoy following the voyage of Flying Fish.

To see where Flying Fish has sailed in the past year click here: https://cruisersat.net/track/Flying%20Fish

Instagram: FlyingFishSail

Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2019

The Eternal Life of Medusa

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Some species of jellyfish have evolved to allow perpetual regeneration–the secret of eternal life. © Jeffrey Cardenas

This exotic Indonesian bell jellyfish first made its presence known to me this morning as a splash of fire against the side of my neck. The microscopic nematocysts—spring-loaded darts of toxin—got my attention as I snorkeled over a coral wall near Pulau Gililayar. The pain was not as intense as that of a Portuguese man-o-war, and nothing like the box jellyfish that can and has been fatal to some swimmers.

Once the sting subsided I took a few moments to observe my antagonist, and then later read up on it.

According to Dr. Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a jellyfish researcher based in Tasmania, when some species of medusa die they sink to the ocean floor and, amazingly, their cells then regenerate into polyps. From these polyps a new jellyfish will emerge. This means that when certain jellyfish become weakened either by age or illness they can call up this incredible survival mechanism and transform into an entirely new being.

Jellyfish have evolved to learn the secret of eternal life.

“This was a real mind blower for all of us,” said Dr. Gershwin in a recent BBC interview. “It’s one of the most amazing discoveries of our time.”

I’ll take a little shot of pain anytime to learn about something as fascinating as the life, death, and rebirth of jellyfish.

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For upcoming passages when I have no cell or WiFi signal, I have activated a satellite tracking link that shows the daily position, current weather, and includes a few personal thoughts from the daily log of Flying Fish. I will not be able to respond to messages via satellite but I love the idea that you are sailing along with me. If you would like to follow the daily progress of Flying Fish into Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean via satellite you can click this link: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Flyingfish

Please subscribe at the bottom of this page so that you don’t miss a new update, and consider sharing this post with others who might enjoy following the voyage of Flying Fish.

To see where Flying Fish has sailed in the past year click here: https://cruisersat.net/track/Flying%20Fish

Instagram: FlyingFishSail

Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2019