The Big Quarantine – Tuesday, April 21, 2020
The Day In Sharing: I’m pretty happy to be getting back to basics (for me) and sharing food with friends around town today. Of course at this point in confinement I would love nothing more than to sit around a table with friends and share a meal, but doling out food is nearly as good for my soul.
Even though I live alone, it is my preference to cook with an eye toward sharing. I love bringing food to work or giving it to neighbors and friends because sharing food is a sign that the positive human spirit is alive and to be celebrated. That’s a lot of pressure for a batch of brownies!
In fact, I had a job once where I stopped bring food in to share because I couldn’t possibly give a gift of food to one of my co-workers. Instead of a communal plate of food that he could get to, I gave out food only to people who I wanted to have it. I’m not saying I’m proud of my petty behavior. I’m saying my food sharing comes out of a place of love and mean people can’t eat my scones…so there!
Anyway, I offered to share some soup and bread today and a few people said yes. It’s a scary time to share food so it’s a leap of faith for all of us. I think it’s going to be okay. I’ve been dropping food off at my Mom’s for weeks.
Additionally, as you can see in the picture below, I’ve done the groundwork for food giving. I have saved empty containers like a Depression-Era-Grandma. I’m as close to winning the pandemic as I can get!
The Day in Cowboy Bean Soup: Frijoles Charros means Cowboy Beans. It is a traditional Mexican dish of stewed pinto beans and bacon. Chilies and tomatoes are typical add-ins. My version is like a thick soup, or loose stew, depending on who I’m talking to. In yesterday’s edition of this here blog, I was taking a ridiculously long time to gather my ingredients. (Mostly I kept stopping and doing something else.) It’s actually not a time-consuming recipe. The beans should be soaked the night before though.
I also made corn bread because that’s what goes with beans. I started with skillet corn bread, which I liked, but I wanted some fluffier corn bread, too. Since I knew I was sharing and I knew I had all the time in the world, I went ahead and made it. I’ve got corn bread for days.
I could definitely have been a cook on a wagon train. Did you know a lot of trail cooks were nicknamed “Beans”? Well now you do.
The Day in Beans (and Cornbread) and Music: Beans are a ripe, if you will, target for musical endeavors. I’ve picked out a couple classics. First, there is the most famous bean song of all, Beans (The Magical Fruit) – linked here to a British version because everything sounds classier with a British accent. More recently, Weezer let it rip (ha) with the stellar pop song Pork and Beans. And, of course, Louis Jordan and Tympany Five left nothing to the culinary imagination singing about the joy of Beans and Cornbread. P.S. If you don’t know Louis Jordan, that’s super upbeat rabbit hole of tunes to jump into.
The Day in Grocery Shopping: As the weeks roll on and all of us start getting a handle on how to behave in the midst of virulent virus, the grocery stores are settling down. Customers are understanding how to move. The shelves seem more stocked, though not completely normal. Granted, I wasn’t doing a survey. I just wanted to get the hell out of there, which is also the new way to shop. The cleaning aisle is still decimated, as were the Ramen noodle shelves. People are funny.
At the cash register, the cashier asked how I was doing. I gave my standard, enthusiastic answer, “Awesome. Thank you. And you?” To say she was taken aback was an understatement. She stopped ringing and turned to the bagger and said, “I asked the last lady how she was doing and she said ‘surviving.’ This lady [and she motioned to me] just said she was amazing.”
Feeling I had to explain myself, I said something along the lines of I’ve got to remain positive for me. I know things are awful. I’m not stupid. And I added something I put on Facebook earlier in the day: I’m looking forward. The path isn’t clear, but it is there. She, and the bagger, and me all agreed and we’re all headed there.