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 (Amazon, Indiebound), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.