Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus: Gluten Free Vegan Pesto Pasta That Doesn't Taste Gluten Free Or Vegan
The shelves are bare — time to get creative!
If you've been to the grocery store lately, then you know. The shelves are bare and trying to put a damn meal together is positively maddening. You think you've got half a recipe set, and then the one major thing you need to make it work is gone. I mean, the store I went to yesterday was out of onions. Onions! How does anyone make anything without onions? Practically everything I make starts with a basic carrots-onions-celery soffrito! As if that weren't rough enough, we're renting a condo right now so I don't have access to the normal things that would be in a normal kitchen. Like any kind of seasonings or more than one sauce pan.
But, despite breaking down in tears at least twice yesterday, I am always up for a challenge. Many of my best recipes came from times when I was super broke or unable to go to the grocery store for some reason and had to make do with whatever was in my cabinet. I'm hanging with my parents for the month, so my dad asked me to make pasta with a pesto cream sauce, as that is one of his favorites and, conveniently, doesn't involve a ton of ingredients. Plus almost any other kind of pasta would require at least one onion. But alas! Not only did Publix not have onions, they also did not have normal heavy cream or normal pasta. Hell, they didn't even have any damned half-n-half. It was madness.
They did, however, have dairy-free heavy cream and gluten-free quinoa pasta. And so, despite being warned by many on Twitter that it wouldn't thicken and that it would be weird ... I made it work.
When life gives you social distancing, make social justice.
As more states and cities order shutdowns of gathering places like restaurants and bars to prevent the spread of coronavirus, restaurateurs are faced with a dilemma: What to do with all the perishables they have on hand? In New York City, Jason Wang decided last Friday to shut down all locations of his Xi'an Famous Foods chain of noodle restaurants, even before any order to close, because he just didn't want to risk any customers or staff spreading the virus. He was able to put a lot of meat into the deep freeze, but that left a lot of stuff that would go bad soon:
He had 25,000 lamb dumplings and 20,000 spinach dumplings that wouldn't freeze well. There were 35 boxes of cabbage weighing in at 100 pounds each. There was the spinach, the enoki mushrooms, and the cucumbers, not to mention 3,000 buns and 450 prepared salads.
Wand was able to arrange a pickup from the nonprofit City Harvest, which redistributes unneeded restaurant ingredients (no, not your half-eaten hot wings, don't be gross) to food pantries and soup kitchens across the NYC area. The organization has been coordinating similar efforts across the city, so it was slammed: It could send a truck, but had no volunteers to load it, so Wang and the driver (and, we assume, any available helpers from Wang's business) would need to load it up with produce. Which sure beats letting it all spoil.
Share us your #SocialDistancing hot tips, in the comments!
We were going to write you a whole thinky piece today about Social Distancing For 22-Year-Olds And Boomers, Who Appear To Equally Need Help On This, from your friendly neighborhood Gen-Xers at Wonkette. But it looks like the nation's governors are gonna help take care of that for everyone, by shutting down the damn bars. And yes, we hate that this is happening, and we hate that our gym closed today, and we would love nothing more than go to bars right now, but we also don't want to accidentally kill your Nana OR ours.
Point is, we're not writing that blog post today. But we figured maybe we can all crowdsource each other for however many weeks we end up having to do this, by sharing the foods we are making and the things we are watching and the music we're listening to, and also too other things, in case you're looking for ideas. And if you have your ideas to share, say them in the comments, which are temporarily open during the coronavirus crisis, as per CDC recommendations.
Seriously, this social distancing thing sucks, and it was about 7:30 PM Friday night when we sent our first text message saying, "Plagues are boring." But we, just like you, are committed to #KeepPlaguesBoring, so this is how we occupied our time this weekend:
We know him by his fruits. Very fresh ones!
Joe Coulombe, who founded Trader Joe's, died on Friday. He was 89. Perhaps he was a son of a bitch in his personal life; maybe he voted Republican and tossed cats. We can only know him by his fruits: founding a chain of stores meant to feed "overeducated, underpaid" creative and academic peoples; insisting his employees be extra nice; insisting they be well-paid.
And this is the story I thought of on Saturday when I was dicking around the Internet and saw he'd died. Maybe you've got one like it too: