Cooking for Armageddon

Reports of record snowfall — perhaps the worst since 1996, perhaps 1922, thus the worst I will have seen in my time in Washington, D.C. — have put our buttoned-up city into a tizzy. Snowmageddondc.com says it all. The groceries have been busy, and the nearby Trader Joe’s — always busy — last night was one big line snaking up and down the aisles and out the door. (It was a full loop inside the store on Wednesday, when I was there.) Locals, when facing a snow threat, buy bread, milk and toilet paper. (It begs the question: what do you make with that?) But this time other staples, including whole meat departments, are being cleared out.

Day Job, following the federal government’s lead, closed four hours early, and so we dutiful office-folk ambled home. What food, drink to buy? Or would we have to resort to cannibalism? Seems if you stuck to the smaller stores — even the drug store and convenience stores — you had and have much better luck.

I thought this was an opportunity to drag out the bread machine — even though at my neighborhood market still had bread and milk — so I went out for bread flour and dry milk (for the recipe I use). Oh, and a fifth of sweet vermouth for the Manhattans.

The day had taken its toll on the usually well-stocked shelves, and it was clear what people in my neighborhood would be eating over the next few days. Pots of beans, canned and homemade soup, tuna salad, macaroni and cheese, pasta with red sauce.

Some will bake. Gaps in the flour, but a five-pound sack for me. Packets
of cookie mix and chocolate chips gone. Muffins, perhaps, instead of the more esoteric loaf bread and buns remaining.

Coffee and white wine. Plenty of wine. Fresh cases pulled out, but all hands at the registers, so not on the shelves.

I think we’ll survive. Tuck yourselves in and ride it out.

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 45, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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