Culinary Cruising: Beer Instead of Wine

Marisol, the author of The Lady, the Chef and the Courtesan, a sensual, romantic novel that comes complete with recipes, has left landlocked Denver for a stint as a celebrity chef. She's sending daily missives from her temporary home: a cruise ship.

Somewhere near La Havre:

The day after tomorrow, we get to London, where I’ll take a United flight back to Denver. As I write my last entry, I ask myself if it was worth it to leave the comfort of my life in glorious Colorado for this -- what to call this....this....adventure?

Today, after nearly two weeks, it’s finally hit me -- the life of a celebrity and what it must be like for really, really famous people. It’s a nightmare. Odious, ridiculous, petty, insincere…what else? Let’s just say that I’m not a natural. Above all, I prize my privacy. And my freedom!

Everywhere I go on the ship, people ask for a recipe of this, a recipe of that. They make comments such as, “Did you know you could add port to chocolate mousse?” And ask questions like, “Can you make that sauce with beer, instead of wine?” “Can you make au gratin with cheddar cheese, instead of gruyere?”

After my last demo this morning, a moment from a class I took with Jacques Pepin years ago returns whole. Someone in the audience asked him if she could substitute milk for cream in a recipe. He looked at her in disgust and said, “Why bother?” in his very distinct French accent.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Susan Wood says over the intercom, “British officials will soon board the ship to inspect your passports . . .”

Tootheloo! -- Marisol