26 October 2019~~ Day Fifteen

Woo hoo!  Today was Five Star Cooking Show Day.  Last night two aprons were delivered to our cabin, neatly tied with a ribbon.  Though there are frequent cooking demonstrations, this one was only for those with Five Star Mariner Status.  It’s not nearly as much fun as it was when we could actually help with the cooking, but it’s a nice perk.  Up until a couple of years ago, “celebrity chefs” were on board to present classes and do private classes for a fee.  The fee included an apron.  We were given recipe cards at every program.  At the public classes, samples were served to the audience.  After the private classes, we went into the Pinnacle Grill and were served the same items we had just prepared, although the food was prepared in the kitchen.

Since  Orlando Ashford became President of Holland America Line gradual changes have been made.  We no long have celebrity chefs, and they’ve nearly eliminated providing recipe cards.  Instead the classes are presented by someone from “America’s Test Kitchen.”  I’ve watched episodes of their television show, probably, since it started in 2001.  On the ship, the program starts with a video from their Boston, Massachusetts set with hosts, Julia Collin Davison or Bridget Lancaster.  The chef then proceeds to prepare several recipes.  At least we can download the recipes to try them at home.  They also share tips, via video, about gadgets.  Today’s program was “Beyond Pasta,” and provided some great tips for making gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings.)  I might even try this one at home!  

The afternoon program by Joseph Kess, was on “Mapping the Unknown Pacific.”  Hearing these lectures on multiple cruises does help the info sink in a bit more.  This cruise is called, “The South Pacific Crossing.”  Hawaii, considered part of Polynesia, is north of the equator, so it’s not part of the South Pacific.  

Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia refer to three distinct sub-regions of the Pacific region (Oceania) which have been divided based on their cultural significance. These three regions consist of a vast number of islands and are home to a variety of people.  Polynesia is home to a large number of people coming from different cultural backgrounds.  In Polynesia, a number of languages are spoken as well.  Polynesia includes many islands such as the Hawaiian Islands, Easter Island, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Samoan Islands, Marquesas Islands, Niue Island, Tonga, etc. Did you know the name Polynesia denotes many islands in Greek?
Melanesia includes New Guinea, Maluku Islands, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Santa Cruz Islands, and Norfolk Island.  The word ‘mela’ in Greek denotes black and refers to the complexion of the people in the islands.

Micronesia consists of a large number of small islands and is home to many indigenous people.  Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, the Marianas, Caroline Islands are some of the islands of Micronesia.  They are north of the equator.   Micronesia in Greek denotes small islands.
How early settlers found their way, guided by the stars to these distant islands is truly amazing.  It makes me wonder how many perished during their attempts.  And, how early explorers were able to map the islands, before satellite imagery, and advanced navigation techniques is equally amazing.  

As we chatted with new friends, Tim and Lynn, at Happy Hour we discovered we shared another common friend.  It was someone she had dated in high school and I worked with forty years ago.  His sister is a good friend of mine, so we snapped a photo to send to her.

For the evening program, Ace Mc Dermott was billed as a “mentalist.”  He WAS very entertaining.  (Click on his name for a clip of another performance by him.)  However, the woman sitting near us, with her bare feet on the seat was not.  Her behavior reinforces what we learned on our first cruise . . . many people leave their brain on the dock.  

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