Food, news, and a rant

Snowflakes wander to the ground this morning and put us in mind of another April Fools Day, when two feet of snow fell. We couldn’t open the front door. It seemed a grand joke from Nature.

Who feels like joking now?

What will people discover isn’t so necessary when this is all over? D’s biology class resumes this week, but online. No lab. Surely hands-on science won’t fall by the wayside, but maybe all those corporate, in-person meetings?

The snow must be over, for the skylight is a blue rectangle.

Problem: a very bland fish chowder. I’m considering a remoulade to add flavor. NOTE: Jars of roasted red peppers make fabulous quarantine food, especially when fresh vegetables run low.

My next grocery delivery isn’t for another ten days and I’m almost out of onions and celery! Lettuce for two salads left, maybe. I must wage my war of emptying-the-fridge and relying-on-the-pantry in silence, otherwise K might take it upon himself to grocery shop.

I really don’t want him to go to the grocery store. I know people are making different decisions about this, but avoiding the store is a way to avoid worry.

Put another two ways: I really want my husband to live; I really don’t feel like dying.

Leave it to my friend DT to get to the heart of any matter, even if harsh truths are involved. ESPECIALLY if harsh truths are involved.

“What’s so bad about dying,” she asks in a recent phone call. “Why are we so afraid of it?” After a pause, in which perhaps she thinks about the recent arrival of another granddaughter, DT adds, “But, I have so many reasons to want to live.”

Another friend’s brother is on a ventilator. In Florida (no comment — rant comes later). She’s remarkably sanguine about it. She’s married to a doctor, which makes me wonder if the medical perspective is generally less hyped-up with avoidance strategies. My brother’s going grocery shopping, that’s for sure. His partner is being exposed in a Los Angeles ER and coming home. What’s grocery shopping compared with that?

My roasted pepper remoulade will feature garlic, salt, and olive oil. Can you picture the pretty red swirl in the creamy soup? Plus a sprinkling of chives from the pot out by the garage.

A plane passes. Earlier, an ambulance. Hong Kong’s numbers rise again. Talk of asymptomatic carriers who never get sick. K quips, “I’ll bet China doesn’t want to call Hong Kong theirs NOW.”

We see clip after clip of ER doctors describing war zones, their eyes wide with sadness. We see field hospitals being erected in Central Park and in various arena around the country. And still, the Partisan Dicks of some Red States stand their ground in a vicious display of macho-trumpism (oh, sorry. Is macho-trumpism redundant?) How can their decisions be allowed to govern when their toxic allegiance will literally kill people?

It’s no metaphor when Nancy Pelosi says trump has blood on his hands. The Boston Globe says it, too. Blood AND sputum.

Among other things, trump demands that we re-invent language, for surely “callous disregard for human life” and “lack of empathy” don’t quite capture his epic willingness to let people die.

We are still running the heat. I look forward to a short-sleeves day.

I’ll keep you posted on how the food challenge goes, as the vegetable bins empty and the onion bowl reveals only a littering of rust-colored, papery skins. The challenge appeals to me — something about my farming ancestors? A potato-blighted, starving past, perhaps. But seriously, this is a fight I’m equipped to fight. For so many, I lack all skill, all stamina.

A friend once said to me, “In a barter economy, you’d be a queen.”

It was a compliment, I know, but at the time also stood as an indictment about how I just couldn’t manage to make money or survive in the corridors of business.

28 thoughts on “Food, news, and a rant

  1. Deborah Lacativa

    Colin just left for the store and I texted him ROASTED RED PEPPERS IN A JAR. Lord only knows what he’ll bring home. He interprets grocery lists in a creative way. The baked potatoes came out great! As soon as the ground unfreezes you should plant a couple of hills. They grow like weeds and make pretty flowers.

    1. deemallon Post author

      One year I filled a garbage bin with dirt and planted it up with potatoes. Ought to again — you’re right. I’m looking forward to our baked potatoes tonight. Topped with chili, like you recommended. Yummmmm

      1. Marti

        Years ago when we lived in Sacramento, CA, (the 1970’s) there was a little fast food place called The Potato Pit. They only served baked potatoes but you could have your potato with many, many toppings. My favorite topping had sauteed onions, green peppers and hamburger then shredded cheddar cheese on top and sour cream with chives. It was called The Alice B Toklas potato! Over the years when I’ve made this, we always call these our “Alice” potatoes. I’ve made this with Italian sausage and peppers and instead of cheddar cheese have topped it with crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola. I’ve even used cottage cheese when I didn’t have sour cream or Greek yogurt and topped the cottage cheese with steamed veggies…Chili is absolutely delish as is a bit of chopped roast beef and gravy. If you have a potato, you have a meal. Now that we live here in New Mexico, we sometimes use chopped Hatch chiles instead of green peppers.

        1. deemallon Post author

          Oh yum. What an array of possibilities. Tonight we have chili (a really good batch), sour cream, shredded cheddar and chives.

      2. limitlesscollage

        I did that too – so many years ago in Boston. Maybe it’s the gild of fond memories but I’m positive I had a better yield from that venture than the times I’ve grown them in wire towers in the field here!

  2. snicklefritzin43

    Dee, I look forward to reading your words, hearing your story of personal separation from the world, an so appreciating your open honesty. I did my first online grocery shopping and will do a drive by pickup on Friday. Those skills of making something tasty with whatever is in the fridge, freezer and cupboards from my early years of working and family, today serve me well as your experiences do. The soup addition sounds delish.
    Snow here, light but sticking. Some letters to write to friends who don’t use the computer, some poems to attend to – it is national poetry month – and then some blessed studio time. When I am able to fully immerse myself in the creativity and turn off the news there is some peace and I find joy.
    Thanks for sharing your world with me.💖💖

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thank you so much Kristan. I’d forgotten that it was National Poetry Month. So thanks for that reminder. Glad you are finding solace in the studio. I have to say I feel very lucky to have spent years making stuff here in the house on my own. There is no difficulty about what to do, how to fill my days. There seems to be for some.

  3. Saskia van Herwaarden

    your rants are highly entertaining, I love and embrace them
    like you I’m worthless at making money, I don’t know why it just doesn’t interest me; although I do realise it’s important if you don’t have it when you need it; big business ‘reorganization’ drove me to a burn-out, I get truly pissed about the sugar-coating BS jargon….well hey there’s my little rant (don’t get me started on superfluous sign-posting)
    the weird world we now live in has made me even more grateful we live in the countryside and we live in the Netherlands, with a decent, capable prime minister and government
    I limit my news intake, so as not to worry too much
    sending love your way, keep you life’s stories coming Dee xx

    1. deemallon Post author

      The Netherlands is a very civilized place. I think of it, along with Canada, as a place I might rather be.

  4. Joanne

    I have my little root vegetable bag. Onions (wish I could share with you!!), two kinds of potatoes- baking and round yellow ones for soup, sweet potatoes. So, I also have four jars of neglected roasted red peppers in the pantry. I might need to try another of your recipes!!!!! Grocery– here in 1.2 million people in entire state- is virtually empty when we visit. Parking lot often looks full. Always surprised to see few people inside. New Yorkers trying to rent summer cottages and bring their cooties to Maine. Locals might blockade the highway into Maine (one). I read Trump’s words out loud at breakfast. Try it. So weird to actually say the words.

    1. deemallon Post author

      I’ve never tried reading trumps words out loud. Did you get dumber as you went? You might not want to try this remoulade. It looked like a cat puked in the chowder.

  5. ravenandsparrow

    I, too, am entertained and buoyed by your rants since they so charmingly articulate what I am thinking. It is comforting to feel that I am not alone. Your adventures in isolation are also familiar. I am facing a grocery run in the next couple of day (also out of celery and onions among other things) which makes me nervous. Roasted red peppers, huh?

  6. Nancy

    Dee, I love when you rant! J. does our shopping, early in the senior hours. My cooking skills and interest has fallen so far off the map by this time, does make this time not so fun. Oh well.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Food is a ballast for me. I hope you have something that serves as that for you. Music, perhaps?

  7. Nanette

    I did my first home delivery order yesterday……how nice to send off an email list, and then have the most cheerful, happy-to-help, anything else-you-need young woman, deliver it. And we’re fortunate here to be able to drive out of town in any direction and find a farmer’s roadside stall, and buy anything from sweet bananas to pineapples and red peppers…..mostly spray free too. I enjoy your rants too, and your pithy observations, and with your reader’s comments, I get a good picture of life over there.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Nice to hear about your food delivery experience! I’ve tripled my tips since this started.

  8. Michelle Slater

    You are a treasure every time you post. Meanwhile, here in the epicenter of our Covid-19 disaster, I’m also cleaning out the last of the last food I shopped. I can go out for more, but have no energy today. I’m okay, surrounded by media to entertain and inform, but missing contact of course, especially to my twice weekly Zendo meditations in community. I managed to eek out a blog post today, but my heart wasn’t in it. An editor would point to all those ‘but’ connectives, but I’m not trying for prose. My prayer is that the internet and electric grid hold on. Without them, my isolation would be much harder. I do have plenty of candles, batteries and flashlights, as well as a battery powered radio and my camera (not a cell phone. Also my unattached to anything else land line will function even if the towers go down (started assuring all that right after 9.11). So onward…with love and gratitude for every comfort.

    1. deemallon Post author

      I sure hope the grid doesn’t go down. That would be another whole order of isolation, wouldn’t it? I’m tired today. No reason. I think it’s part of the new normal. I’m glad you’re safe and sound.

  9. Acey

    We had a badly dwindling produce cache until our second insta-cart shop arrived. We over-ordered for that shop as a result and so J’s been doing stir-fries for dinner and then I make-up a soup the next way for freezing and lunches. Auto correct keeps wanting to change it to coup. Laughing about it with the grim awareness my sense of humor’s growing more dark seemingly by the hour.
    The self-isolation within isolation that I organized is working very well. I am maintaining my usual home/domestic servicing schedule but in a greatly relaxed way. If everyone else is cool with filling the kitchen stuff with more and more boxes of things and random electronic devices then I can roll with it no problem.
    Have personally ‘adjusted’ in that I no longer *attempt* sleep before 2:30 a.m. Had thought to not-panic buy a nighty-nite tea blend from a favorite apothecary source so I drink that somewhere between 10 and 10:30. Am sitting at the dining room table reading Drawing As A Sacred Activity. pastel-highlighting things I’d hope to revisit when in a less liminal mindframe.

    I do my easiest gentlest yoga post sequence and alternate nostril breathing/meditation practice twice a day to keep my body from tensing up while my brain eats at itself in the effort of trying to make sense of just one thing I’ve heard from people who are more involved and thus in the deep weeds of medicine or special care facilities. I think of those poor people floating around on cruise ships and what a total nightmare it would have been if this had happened before we landed Naples back in ’75 and that entire boat (about a fifth of the size of today’s monstrosities) had been comparably stranded.

    It’s weird starting my brain-active/studio day around this time (11 a.m.) but not as weird as it was when I tried to force myself to stay “on schedule” on two and a half hours sleep. wtf does that mean right now. Schedule for what? and why?

    1. deemallon Post author

      Your adjustments seem sound and like they’re working. I am sitting in meditation again, something I haven’t done in quite some time. Raking is helping, as well as dreaming how to rectify a lawn-less backyard. I’m happy to say that I am once again able to read fiction. That was just not something I could do for about three weeks and I felt both bereft and powerless to change it. Sleep is a real thing anymore here. K wakes up many times a night. Three seems to be my magic hour. I either go back to sleep or I don’t. It’s best not to worry too much about it. Today, I’ll need a nap!

  10. Shasta

    Snow! The sun is shining here and it has been rainy. Good luck with being creative until your next food delivery. I use frozen things, including onions, as well as canned goods to be able to last longer between grocery runs.

    1. deemallon Post author

      I’ve never stocked frozen onions but so much has to change going forward. In the meantime I found a local vendor who is offering $30 boxes of local produce for pick up. We’ll drive into town tomorrow and see how that goes. Presumably, we’ll click open the trunk and hand them a check — minimal contact.

  11. Liz A

    We now shop by delivery and have to think two weeks ahead, hoping the stuff will be in stock (much of it won’t) … our Austin son-in-law is the designated shopper for their household of 5, but I try not to ask for more than I absolutely need … and last week, when I asked, the reply was a photo of a totally empty coffee shelving area … there was a five-week wait for Amazon orders, so I’ve sucked it up and got Prime and now orders take “only” five to ten days

    And I’m going on and on, here on your post … but (sigh) it’s all just too much, right?

    So hopefully I’ll “see you” over at Jude’s place … and maybe we can make something of it all


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