Hold on

Way back in 1978, when my family came to NYC to see the museums (not the sights, not Broadway, not the food) my stepfather was predicting a pandemic. He was even more frugal than he was apocalyptic, so we took the subway instead of cabs, and as we walked down the steps with all of the other thousands of people shoving their way through, he would call out,
“Don’t touch the railings. They are diseased. Everybody is sick!”

On a day like today, he could have finally taken a deep breath and said, “you see, I told you so”.

My mother was a member of the same team, but she didn’t have the same energy for in-depth lectures or research, so her panic was reserved more for personal devastation. If you went to the hospital because you were pregnant, you were at risk of death from the girl in the bed next to you. Who knew what she had? Or if we were downtown having a soda and a doughnut, and a firetruck drove by, it was on its way to our house. “You know”, she would say, “the house is built from wood and full of fabric.”

I never thought of there being an upside to growing up like that, but I recognize now that the upside is, you are at every moment, mentally prepared for anything, including, to do whatever it takes to make dinner. No matter what happened or was imminent, my mother made dinner. Always.

So in the midst of all of this confusion, I am cooking. I do the daily mother check of a child, and then I forage for food. At the moment, I look for stuff to make soups with. I figure if anything happens, I will have soup in the freezer. After washing your hands every six minutes, and keeping 2 feet away from everybody, making soup is imperative.

And hold on the railings. A pandemic does not prevent you from breaking your neck.

On my list for today:

Tomato garlic soup

Pea soup, using combination of dried and fresh peas and bouquet Garni

short rib soup with danish butter balls (so far I have only found shoulder meat, no bones or ribs; I may have to substitute chicken bones to get more flavor for lack of beef bone)

pasta fagioli with mushrooms

broccoli soup with garnish of mascarpone and croutons

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