Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

On Sunday afternoon, the air was pregnant with a looming gloom.  The kind of 'calm before a storm' feel that precedes a snowstorm.  We were all at first skeptical, considering that we had stocked up for last year's Hurricane Irene which then proved anti-climatic.  It had taken me months to clear up the cans of food and I still had a large bottle of water in storage.

Looking at the grey, silent sky, I decided that it was probably a good idea to stock up again just in case.  My daughter and I loaded up on Spam luncheon meat, pasta sauce and Heinz baked beans.  We used the opportunity to explore the varieties of Campbell's Soup but then stuck with the old favorites - the Andy Warhol icons of Cream of Tomato, Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Noodle.  By the time we got to the water, there were only Fiji Water and Evian.  I felt guilty about purchasing Fiji. How could I show off with the Fiji bottles that probably took up so much carbon footprint, contributed to global warming which now resulted in this impending flood?  The movie could prove right!   So I stuck with Evian, thinking that if I did not use those bottles, the red labels would fit quite nicely for my Election Party next week.

Monday, we invited friends for a play date.  We began a party and a marathon bake fest in my perverse attempt to use all my large appliances all at once.  How selfish of me, now considering I have friends who have no electricity downtown and have to migrate uptown for accommodation.  So we baked butterscotch oatmeal cookies (recipe from the Nestle Tollbooth packaging), brownies (from 'How to Cook Everything'), tarte tatin using leftover frozen puff pastry and the green apples we picked three weekends ago.  There was quite a sense of productivity as I 'cleaned up' my pantry and threw out bottle after bottle for recycling.  We had dinner with our play date family and they quivered as the chandelier swung in our swaying building.

By Tuesday, I re-assessed our inventory and realized that I might not make it past Thursday.  A few restaurants were open and people, exploring the streets with pent up energy, filled the pubs and restaurants and gyms.  Only two cashiers came in by cab to man the checkout at The Food Emporium.  All the usual Ben and Jerry's ice cream varieties were out.  No one was at the deli counter.  At Whole Foods, the checkout line was as long as the perimeter of my apartment.  I had tried to buy a whole chicken to make chicken rice.  The whole birds were gone.  I guess everyone had the same idea of roasting chicken - a warm homey comfort in the midst of a stormy night.  I got the last three pounds of ground beef and a little old lady stood beside me whispering "Please leave some for me.  It will last me through the night."  No burger buns, no lettuce, tomatoes, white onions, strawberries.  Suddenly, you realize everyone eats the same thing!  It all seemed so apocalyptic.  Then you reflect that this Thanksgiving will be very special, for the bounty we take for granted and the lives largely unscathed despite the floods and power outage.

And yes, I do intend to use up my Spam luncheon meat.  In times like these, the trusty luncheon meat goes a long way - fried rice, ramen, sandwich filling, porridge.....Stay safe.

Luncheon Meat Sandwich Filling
1. Remove luncheon meat from the can and cut into square slices about 1/2 inch thick.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan.  When the oil is glistening, add the slices of luncheon meat.  Pan fry until each side is slightly crispy along the edges.
3. Beat 2 eggs and pour the mixture over the luncheon meat and fry until cooked.
4. Transfer to a plate and serve with white bread.

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