Pantry Packing (Plague, Day 36, April 8, 2020)

Yesterday was devoted to food. My reserves of tomatoes cans and artichokes jar were low. Dairy and fresh vegetables supplies were decimated. I started prepping in the first week of March, so I needed to do another big shop. (That was a humble brag, BTW. I saw this coming earlier than a lot of y’all.)

Meanwhile, local leaders urged us to avoid supermarkets for two weeks as we’re expected to hit our peak in New Jersey very soon. So, like sherpas on the Himalayas, we prepped for a foray into a pit of germs.

I don’t have a working sewing machine, so we fashioned our own facemarks. Mine was made from a cut up gym sock. Steve made his out of a manly blue bandana, safety pins, and my hair ties. I’ve since bought some on Etsy — the crafty website appears to be entirely devoted to adorable face masks now. The ones that I purchased (mint green kitten fabric) are out of stock, but there are plenty of alternatives.

After Steve’s morning meeting, we headed out at around 10. We figured that the workers would have had time to restock shelves by that time, but that the supplies wouldn’t be scooped up. I put together a shopping list, but it was more of a guideline. The plan was to fill up two shopping carts with as much as we thought could fit in the fridge.

We spent two hours out there. We hit two supermarkets, the post office, and pharmacy. When we got home, Steve ran back to the computer for work, so Jonah helped me unload the car.

It took almost all day to slowly put things in the right place. I divided the family sized meat packages into meal sized portions, labeled the freezer bags, and froze ’em. I planned out the next few days of meals. I started a secondary pantry in the basement.

Yes, some valuable real estate in the freezer is devoted to ice cream. I’ve been running various social media campaigns for my buddy who owns the local ice cream shop. She pays me in pints. Which is lovely. I need a friend who owns a liquor store.

Between cleaning off the back patio to prepare for dinners outside, making chimichurri sauce from herbs in the garden that never quite died over the winter, and making dinner, the entire day was devoted to our new lifestyle.

I’ll be back in a bit. I want to talk about schools and the unequal impact of this virus.

12 thoughts on “Pantry Packing (Plague, Day 36, April 8, 2020)

  1. Always enjoy pictures of your pantry prepping. There’s an awful lot of food being consumed there. And, I think you might actually be training for starting that baby food factory (or its equivalent) in Vermont (isn’t that what Dianne Keaton did)?

    I would say that I’m the one who has no useful skills in a pandemic, except that I am actually a biologist. Not the right kind, but if science got very needy, I would be able to help.


    1. bj said, “I would say that I’m the one who has no useful skills in a pandemic, except that I am actually a biologist. Not the right kind, but if science got very needy, I would be able to help.”

      If this were a zombie apocalypse series, I expect you could justify your presence at the compound!


  2. Laura said, “Yes, some valuable real estate in the freezer is devoted to ice cream.”

    One of my current regrets is that I have no space in the freezer for the two half gallons of ice cream that are the basic minimum for our family. We have at most one, and it goes really fast. In happier times, we have 2-3 cartons, plus 1-2 boxes of novelty ice cream (cones, etc.).


  3. Re-read the plague is coming on March 3rd. I find it enlightening to read what everyone was thinking a short month ago (including the Economist, whose Feb 22 issue I recently read), Cranberry deserves some credit — I wish I’d read through to the pulse oximeter, which I was made aware of less than 2 weeks ago. I wish I had one (though I was pretty well prepared otherwise).

    Also looked up the Nora Robert’s book. I’d forgotten how much I like her prolific output and her strong women characters and that her women and stories pass the Bechtel test and are actually friends and not rivals. Does she write her own books, or is she a team?.

    I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to read the books, but given that our electrical grid is not failing and we will not have magic as a solution, I might be able to.


    1. Re-reading that, I’m pleased to note that I now have crescent rolls in a tube. We’re still going to the store once a week only, but may go twice this week so we have food for a more traditional Easter dinner than we could do with what we have.


  4. MH said, “Re-reading that, I’m pleased to note that I now have crescent rolls in a tube.”

    I’m now buying dough-in-a-tube or you-bake-cookies just about every time I go to the store.

    It’s a nice thing for the kids to do.


  5. Your kitchen is probably the size of our master bedroom, maybe the size of our living room. You fridge is definitely at least 50% bigger than ours. But we are fortunate by local standards, with a very large common quadrangle yard, and forest nearby. It could always be worse.


    1. I used the wide angle lens on my iPhone for the grocery picture, but yes it’s not small. It’s a 50s split level — nothing remarkable — but it serves our purpose. When our friends from Spain visit, they’re always amazed. We have friends in Madrid with nine kids (Opus Dei) living in a three bedroom apartment. Half those kids are actually adults now, because nobody moves out in Spain until you’re married.


    2. I keep cautioning my husband about purchases of stuff that goes in the fridge and freezer, because we really don’t have the space. We have a lot more space for canned/boxed goods.


  6. We got a second fridge when we thought my husband’s brother was coming from NYC. As it is, we had an unused freezer (my son’s from a previous apartment) that was standing in the garage. So space-wise we are good. Cooking a lot lately.


  7. I have a probably irrational fear of losing fridge/freezer perishables in a power outage or accidental unplugging, so I’ve never wanted a second fridge or freezer. You could probably sell me on ONE really big fridge, though.

    (Sticks flashlight under face to read the next bit.)

    One of my friends lost a chest freezer full of breast milk when her husband unplugged it while unplugging everything in the garage before they left for a road trip.


  8. We love our second fridge which we have because there was one there originally when we bought the house. We use it for cold drinks, mostly (and, no, not a beer fridge because we don’t drink beer). The second freezer is not yet full of frozen food, so we can still try to stock the freezer. But, no one in the family wants to eat from the freezer consistently (even home cooked frozen food).

    Inspired by Laura’s food display, we made a make your own salad bar yesterday (well, mostly my college student did). It was good, but we need some more extras for it, things like bacon bits and croutons. The toasted almonds were good


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