The Show Must Go…
… (Dinner’s) On!
When winter storms leave people stranded at home, and home-delivery ceases to be an option, are people prepared to feed themselves? If major roads close and any travel is ill-advised, grocery store and restaurant visits aren’t options. The only go-tos for meals become your own kitchen and possibly from your neighbors.
I recently faced a forced home-stay situation. Not as dire as the snowed-in residents of Buffalo, but with my car out of commission for a full week and the looming threat of the bill for its successful release, food choices became more limited. Also, before I lost my wheels, I had invited guests to dinner. Since I hadn’t seen these people in way too long, canceling was not an option I was willing to consider.
Though it was the coldest temps of the year in Spokane, at least the stores were open and accessible. However, that ominous car repair bill made for frugal menu planning. Still, I didn’t want to serve a threadbare dinner to my friends.
That week I was home-bound, I became acutely aware of the value of my stores, above and beyond grocery stores, the larder of food in my own home. Gardening, direct purchasing of local meats, drying and canning and freezing foods in season all meant I had more than enough options… already paid in full.
Typically, I grow, can, dry, freeze, and buy foods direct because I value healthy ingredients that taste their best. It’s also important to me to support local producers who make available the food I can’t grow or raise. And then there’s the creative part of deciding what to make with all the produce and proteins… salsa, chutney, fresh salad, pickles, tomato sauces, burgers, soups, etc. Processing food takes some work, but it’s fun. Fun to share as gifts, fun to trade with people for their creations and as I came to value even more, fun to have on hand for times that feel a little tighter.
For this dinner, my freezer provided a Lazy R Ranch chuck roast and red tomatoes. The pantry had onions, garlic and coriander seed from this year’s garden. And in a heap on the kitchen counter sat tomatoes that ran out of time to ripen outside. With those and a few ingredients from the cupboards, we shared a delicious dinner of slow cooked adobo-chile & coffee flavored roast over mashed potatoes, fried green tomatoes on the side, dessert and wine from our generous guests, and great conversation. For a few hours, I felt so rich.