Daily Doses of Cowabunga

Perhaps my most constant, daily reminders of Cowabunga pop out at me as I go about my daily routines in my kitchen while cooking and putting things away. Guests in our home often remark how some of our unique space-saving cupboards, as customized by Michel, remind them of configurations for an RV or a boat. I guess that is for good reason, given that Cowabunga served as an inspiration! Indeed, I never was much of one for clutter, and living on a boat proved very conducive to honing such a trait. Things could not be strewn about when under sail. Weather conditions could change instantly, and every object must, and did, have a place. Nautical interiors are often ingeniously crafted to hold items in their place, and create holding spaces where none would ordinarily be. When renovating our house, both Michel and I had kept these principles in mind, and many a cupboard is disguised, or holds more than it appears it could at first glance.

Cowabunga is never far from my heart as I go about some of my cooking. I have a treasured recipe book that reads almost like a diary or a journal. I remember to this day buying this blank slate early on in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, emblazoned with the title "Receitas" in Portuguese on the cover. Since then, I have filled it, handwritten, with recipes gleaned from our route from other sailors, friends on land, and most often headlined by jewels from my dear French mother-in-law's perfected craft of cuisine. Most recipes are annotated with their origin and sometimes the occasion. Thirty years on now, the binding is worn and many of the pages are falling out, but it is my most steadfast tool. I really do remember people, places, and events—just about every day—from whence came these recipes, as I cook.

Although today I cannot see Cowabunga out my kitchen window as I did for several years when she rested on a cement pad at the bottom of our property, her messages pop up, ever present around us every day—like bobbing bottles reaching the shore.