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 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.




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:

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:

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Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2019

14 thoughts on “It’s What’s For Dinner

  1. feelings of connectedness to the earth and our part in the chain of life and death. I love how the chicken was prayed over and blessed for providing the food that will feed you and help her small business. We are so fortunate to be able to have this experience. We are enjoying following your travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Patricia. This is an entirely new world of exotica for me. I grew up in the suburbs of South Florida. I’ve lived a life where all of my food was processed and came from the shelf of a grocery store (except fish). I love to experience new things with extraordinary people, and being a chowhound there is nothing I won’t put into my mouth.


  2. Jeffery you are living the dream of millions of people. God bless you friend. I follow you religiously and look forward to each installment. I hope we meet again in the future to catch up. Life has changed radically for me with the loss of Katy. Spending the summer fall in our home in Montana, but not the same with out my mate. Just Newt and I for now but getting by. Heading back to Vero for the 3000 mile drive home in a few weeks. Will hunt some ducks over Newt before we depart.
    Stay safe my friend and keep those posts coming!

    Jim O’C.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim, I cannot imagine your loss. Keep her memory close so that you can call on her when you need strength.
      And thank God for Newt! Dogs are not people but they come pretty close.
      Thank you for following Flying Fish.


    • Hayden, I think the reason for this entire sailing voyage is to grow out of my comfort zone. The locals thought it was quite humorous that I would want to watch the slaughter and preparation of my supper. I think for them seeing all of the food in Costco would blow their minds.
      I appreciate your comments.


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