Egg Salad, Cuban Beans, a Book for Right Now

Hi everyone, I hope your weekend was ok. Highlights from mine: I changed all the sheets on our beds; had Zoom cocktails with some friends and Andy’s brother’s family; and my newly permitted 16-year-old, who was only driving in the train station parking lot a week ago, drove us 12 miles across the county to visit my parents and sister’s family. We waved to them on their doorsteps from our rolled-down car windows. It was only a few minutes but it got us out of the house on a long, rainy Sunday. Here is today’s Pantry, Project, Purpose, aka three things you might want to check out today…

Project: Cuban-Style Beans

I wrote about this recipe in February, a lifetime ago — it’s from Sam Sifton’s book See You on Sunday, all about the transformative power of gathering with friends and family at the end of a weekend over good food. You can’t imagine how much I look forward to the day we can pack the dining room table with friends and family again, but for now I’ll count my blessings that on a rainy Sunday, this pork-and-bean deliciousness made the house smell warm and amazing, and the four of us got to eat it together heading into week 3 of quarantine. (And also that Andy found a smoked ham hock at Stop & Shop!) Note: We have about a zillion pounds of beans (canned and dried) in our pantry right now, and yet no black ones, so wound up subbing in some small Rancho Gordo Blancas. It was hardly a sacrifice. Check out the recipe here.

Pantry: Egg Salad on Finn Crisps

A bunch of you have been asking for easy lunch ideas now that your kitchens feel like short-order family diners. Presenting: Classic Egg Salad.

I’m going to assume you don’t need a recipe, but if you want some guidance, just look at the bowl above! That’s 5 hard-boiled eggs (recipe below) chopped up and mixed with 2 dollops mayo, generous squeeze of spicy brown mustard, and some pickled onions (recipe also below). S & P of course. Mix it all together and spread on Finn Crisp crackers topped with more pickled onions. It makes about 10-12 egg-salad topped crisps.

Hard-boiled eggs: Add eggs to a medium pot of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water starts boiling, remove pot from heat, cover, and set timer for 10 minutes. Remove into an bowl of ice water.

Pickled onions: In a small pot, set over high heat, bring the following to a boil: 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 cups water; add a large sliced red onion and lower heat to simmer for about 5 minutes; remove from heat and let cool. Store in pickling liquid for a day or two.

Purpose: Read This is Chance

I read This is Chance (AmazonIndiebound), by Jon Mooallem in early February, when I was on my way home from Seattle visiting college friends, long before the virus registered as a threat. It’s about the 1964 earthquake in Anchorage — the most powerful in American history — and how a radio reporter named Genie Chance found her way onto the airwaves and became the voice that pulled a decimated city back together. But reading through it again, it’s incredible how many passages from the story resonate with what were are all going through now. Andy edited the book and this week shared one of those passages on his instagram:

“What is safety, anyway? Genie seemed to be conceding how randomly our lives are jostled and spun around, that nothing is fixed, that even the ground we stand on is in motion. Underneath us, there is only instability. Beyond us, there’s only chance. But she’d also recognized a way of surviving such a world. It was what Genie had created in Anchorage that weekend by talking on the radio, and what she planned to stay focused on now: not an antidote to that unpredictability, exactly, but at least a strategy for withstanding it, for wringing meaning from a life we know to be unsteady and provisional. The best she and her family could do was to hold on to one another. Our force for counteracting chaos is connection.” 

This is Chance (Amazon, Indiebound) is not escapist reading if that’s what you’re looking for in a book right now, but it does feel like something of a roadmap for finding hope when your world — the world — has been turned upside down. I hope you find it as beautiful as I did.

Stay safe, stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

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I initially read that as your 16 year old was newly permitted to join in on the Zoom cocktail hour!

Mom of Boys

We are starting week four of the quarantine, no school routine. Things I thought were certainties have become luxuries. Food? Milk? Luxuries. Productive paid work? Luxury. My San Pellegrino water? Uber luxury. Things I thought were luxuries have become the everyday. Time with the kids? Endless. Time to work out and to cook and read? Endless.

This weekend the boys made cookies from start to finish and only one finger was burned in the process. I made gyros from a Bon Appetit recipe because I discovered ground lamb in our deep freezer. And we watched The Great Escape with the kids, which was fun, but also sad.

Thanks for your Monday morning read Jenny!


Oh, wow! I’m soaking some Rancho Gordo beans right now! They are little red ones that i’ll serve with rice because….meatless Monday.

I just started “the Splendid and the Vile,” by Erik Larson. It chronicles Winston Churchill during the London blitz. Not escapist, but it was on my list and i’m big fan of Larson’s other works (Dead Wake, Devil in the White City).

This week, i’m going to forego cocktails until Thursday. #lifegoals! and finish Tiger King. Cheers!


I just wanted to express gratitude for your daily updates. My kids and I have had fun working on the projects and baking. It’s not that we couldn’t have done that on our own…but letting someone else make the suggestion for the day somehow makes it so much easier! Many thanks, and stay well!

Emma Gillette

So there was a sandwich place in DC in the early aughts that I really loved – maybe it was called High Noon? – and they put sun-dried tomatoes in their egg salad, which was just heresy to my midwestern ears. But it’s actually amazing, and I have done it ever since: eggs, a bit of mayo, some red onion that I’ve soaked a bit in water to cut the tang, and a judicious amount of diced sun-dried tomatoes. We’re having it tonight, with arugula on wheat toast, thanks to you, and them. Stay safe everyone.


I’ve been following DALS for a few years, thank you Jenny for your thoughtful writing and open heart. This Project, Pantry, Purpose series is my favorite. I have a 6.5yo, a 3.5yo and a 7mo old. Today we took a rainy walk around the neighborhood to snip some branches of swollen buds from various spring blooming trees; they’ll pop soon here at home and brighten our day. We snipped extra to walk over to grandma and grandpa. A local bakery is selling cookie decorating kits available for curbside pickup, which didn’t disappoint. We’ve also been making soap like crazy, a timely craft if ever there was one. Delivering soap with handmade tags (Be safe, be helpful, be kind) to our neighbors and family has been our sweetest ritual this week. We had a kit kicking around, but I bet an abundance of DIY recipes/tutorials can be found on the Internet.

Nicole Brenner

Excited to read this book. I grew up in Anchorage living a mile from Earthquake Park. This is a story that deserved to be told. Thank you!


I’m so glad you all are OK. Thank you for the daily writing. One of those food organizations (cooksillustrated?) Did a hard boiled egg test. They found that steaming for 12 minutes was the best way. I’ve been doing that ever since. (Sometimes only 10 or 11 because I like a little bit of dark gold in the middle of my yolk). Bring the pot of water to boiling with the steamer on top but no eggs in it, once it’s steaming, add the eggs. Ice water a bath as usual after the 12 minutes. I prefer the texture of the eggs, they come out of their shell more easily, and the whole process is faster because there is less water to boil. Thanks again for the writing. It makes my day better.

Sana Ali

I love these posts. They’re like a hot cup of coffee, ie. so comforting. It reminds me of blogging from “the past” that doesn’t really happen anymore. Thank you for taking the time to write and share recipes. Stay well.