“Plenty sit still. Hunger is a wanderer.” Zulu proverb
When the COVID apocalypse began, our kitchen was still well stocked from a mega-shop done on March 4. At that early date, shelves were full and it was possible to go places and buy things — lots of things. Fast forward a month and our cabinets still contain enough to keep everyone fed for maybe two weeks, but pickings are getting slimmer and are odder than I have ever experienced.
On my last grocery foray, I came back with an assortment of fresh produce that was devoured within a week, a couple of cartons of eggs and an odd mix of canned goods that included collard greens and sauerkraut. There were few frozen veggies to be found, no pasta other than ramen (which I bought), no potatoes and nothing but a couple day-old loaves of rye bread (which I also bought.)
Thankfully, I have enough flour and yeast to make bread. We have plenty of rice, quinoa, oats, beans, carrots, cabbage and a few pounds of Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and such like. There are a couple packages of oddly seasoned chicken in the freezer. There is dairy cheese and four or five slices of nut cheese in the fridge and a similar count of onions in the pantry.
Oddly, we have a large supply of jam, mustard, green olives, carrots and dried herbs of every kind. We also have a small collection of Peeps, foil-covered chocolate eggs, a box of gluten-free cake mix and some frosting in a tub. (Easter dinner will happen.)
As I said, we’re eating — sometimes quite well. But, as trips to the store become fewer and less fruitful — each meal becomes more like an episode of Chopped.
I could despair (or break down and haul everyone through a drive-thru, as I did for today’s lunch). But, there is a bit of excitement and challenge to cooking in such a time.
I’ve read about things such as “water soup” a heady broth of wild-harvested Mediterranean herbs served with bread. I figure if Italian women could pull off such a thing in tough times, I can, too. There are no wild herbs here, but there are dandelion leaves (great fried to oblivion alongside garlic and dressed with vinegar, oil and parmesan) and ramps (an Appalachian wild onion that does its part to maintain social distancing.)
Also, our pantry is on its own lockdown. Nothing is wasted. We’re making stock from scraps, breads that require few ingredients and are otherwise working everything we’ve got until it’s used up. It’s not a bad thing. Again, we’re still eating — sometimes quite well. We’re avoiding the grocery stores as much as we can and leaving bread for those who cannot yet bake it when we do go.
It is enough. It really is.
God is able, blog friends! Be well of mind, body and spirit!