The look on my face must have revealed my aching soul. Maybe it was the numerous trips to the pantry or the multiple freezer checks. We had plenty of food to survive on but nothing I really wanted or cared to eat. The truth was I needed to cook. I needed some fresh foods to cook with. Ultimately she relented.
“You can go to the store and shop with the old people. You will wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You will not wander up and down the aisles like you usually do. You will not shower before going. When you come back you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away. Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting. The plastic bags will not be recycled. They will go into the garbage. You will then go into the laundry room where you will strip down and put your clothes into the washing machine. Then and only then you go to our bathroom to decontaminate.”
Senior Time at the grocery store is 7-8:00 AM. There were not many shoppers. The customers were all wearing masks, some had both masks and gloves on. But most of the employees were not wearing any masks or gloves. We know the mask wearing thing is more about not spreading virus if you’re infected and less effective for personal protection (though the latest scientific guidance is that masks do offer some level of personal protection). So is setting a specific time for a high risk group to shop at the same time and NOT have employees wear masks smart? It would take just one infected worker and s(he) could take out a number of the oldies. Just a thought. But everyone in the store respected each other’s space and kept their appropriate physical distance.
We began sheltering in place behavior one week before our state formally declared a shutdown. Minus two days in Owasso, Oklahoma (the trip was taken with the expectation a lock down would be ordered) we have been home for a month. Welcome to The Pandemic Greater Depression. At our home we are fortunate to both have jobs. Many, many others are not as fortunate and the road ahead will be hard. Despite the fact we have a roof over our heads and food on the table the new era Depression mentality has set in. I call the new mindset Forced Frugality. The grocery store trip was interesting. Some of the supply chain issues are resolved and the shelves look better. Still no paper products and some of the shortages (like frozen pizza) are just plain strange. There were arrows on the floor in an attempt to direct traffic. I learned that some people don’t know how to follow arrows. And despite clear instructions not to wander the aisles I pretty much went down every aisle because you never know what you’re going to find (or not find). I found this:
$0.59 for organic dark red kidney beans and $0.84 for organic corn!
Today’s lunch side was a simple corn and bean salad. Here it is.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1 celery rib, tiny dice
- 1/4 cup red onion, tiny dice
- garlic powder
- pinch or two dried basil
- a splash of fresh lemon juice
- 1 can organic dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can organic corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 to 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder and basil in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Adjust your seasonings. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Add your vegetables and beans. Stir and mix thoroughly.
- Add a splash of fresh lemon juice.
- Serve as a side dish or over some fresh greens. This size recipe makes around four servings.
Sugar is only needed to counteract the acidity in the dressing. You might not need nor want any sugar at all. I wanted to put some red bell pepper into this dish but there were none to be found at the store.
Here’s a list of pantry items. Hopefully you have many if not all on hand as we shelter in place.
Pandemic Pantry Items – Updated 04.18.20
- Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans. Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Brown and white sugar
- Dried oregano, basil, and parsley
- Onion and garlic powders
- Bay leaves
- Parmesan cheese
- Dried pastas
- Dried beans such as brown and green lentils, pinto, black, adzuki, mayocabo, yellow and green split peas, black eye peas and cranberry
- Canned beans such as garbanzos, black, black eye peas, pinto, great northern, navy
- Broth, vegetable, beef, chicken
- Rice – multiple varieties like basmati, brown, Texmati, arborio and plain long grain white
- Flour tortillas and corn tortillas
Stay safe, stay well, stay home.
And if you do venture out of the house wear a mask.