Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Did the Earth Move for You?

One hundred years ago today, San Francisco suffered through that historic earthquake known around here as The Big One.
One year ago today, Cranky and I stocked the larder (the garage, that is) with emergency supplies, including canned vegetables, bottled water and packaged dry pasta. There’s a first-aid kit, some toilet paper — the kind of stuff that'll get you through an emergency for, oh, a week or so.
We're still spotty on our provisions. I don't know if we have a propane stove; we used to, but I think it's missing. I'm not sure if there's a can opener stashed with the cans, so if a major quake came along and crushed our kitchen, we'd have to get very resourceful to actually open the canned cling peaches in light syrup.
Then again, our garage would probably be crushed too, and we'd have to get very physical to actually eat the peaches.
If we weren't dead already.
Oh, it's all so difficult, this preparedness.
And to make it worse, you have to expect your stored supplies to approach their shelf-life dates every so often. Our stuff is supposed to be good for about two more years, but in honor of those who endured The Big One, we're sacrificing our usual culinary meticulousness today for a commemorative meal of San Andreas Seismic Stew.
This takes a little bravery. It's ugly, but it's rather tasty. If you're dining on emergency rations and the water supply is uncertain, you won't want to drain off the tinny water from any can you open. You'll want to consume it. If you can get your hands on some seasonings, so much the better (and we have absurd quantities of bottled salsa; in fact, I'm going to move a couple of them from the cupboard into the emergency larder in a minute).
OK: Take a can of Rosarita refried beans. Add a can of corn, juice and all. Stir together. Add copious dashes of bottled salsa. If you were clever and bought that Rotel on sale at Longs, now would be the time to add it. (But you might want to un-add some of that salsa.) Trust me, you're not going to need any extra salt.
Heat it, if you have the capability, and serve in your finest unbroken china.
Oh. Hell. Did anyone actually starve to death after the 1906 earthquake? Didn't think so.
Darling, fix me a martini. Shaken, not stirred.

11 comments:

Dagny said...

I love that you can put together what looks like a tasty meal from your emergency rations. I am bad. I have no emergency supplies, not even for the kittens. I should at least get stuff for the kittens.

mrs d said...

Damn you. I have Carole King stuck in my head now.

We're still waiting for the Big One up here. Rainier. San Juan plate shift.

One of these days I'll get back to that flu journal (which serves as a quake journal just as well, I think), and post the 20 bazillion links I found to emergency food prep info. Great stuff to be had out there. (Especially if you own a dutch oven!)

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: It was good! I'm still surprised. Oh, do get something for the kitties...

Mrs. D.: I have a device that removes unwanted songs from your brain. It's called Catster. Any time you find a song stuck in your head, think of "Moonshadow." You're welcome.
Dutch oven = good. Cooking eggs by cell phone = hoax.

Greg said...

One virtual martini for the lady.Will that be gin or vodka? Notice how they never mention booze in the emergency pantry. I got a plastic 1.5 liter of TJ's Vodka of the Gods. That sucker will bounce before it breaks. I'll be the most popular guy in the hood when the next big one hits.

mrs d said...

Catster. Bwaaahaaahaa.

I've heard about it. I heard it changed its name to Yusufster.

cranky said...

Greg: Ooh, thanks for the drink. Martinis are gin only, never vodka. Just the way it is.

Mrs. D.: Oh, I just snorted gin outta my nose. Good one.

Tea said...

I was at a "EastOver" party this week (that's matzo AND ham, in case you're wondering:-) where the hosts had a cute cottage in their back yard, with solar panels on top. I assumed it was somone's home office but was informed that it was the "emergency shed," with all their supplies, because in an earthquake their house will collapse on the garage. They were so prepared it made me look flaky, and I know I'm more prepared than most. But I hadn't thought to throw in some booze (multi-purpose: can be used to sterlize as well, and my whisperlight campstove can run on vodka if need be).

In high school my brother used to whip up a mighty good hot bean dip, made from a can of bean, a can of corn, some salsa from a jar, and cheddar cheese (though we did drain the corn). We called it bachelor dinner and ate it with chips. I still get a hankering for it every now and again (though now I add fresh chopped cilantro and tomato).

Glad you're feeling better! Isn't it great to see the sun?

kudzu said...

To tea: I'm wondering why your friends think their shed will not fall down? (Yes, I'm jealous of their stash.)

cranky: Scotch, anyone? Then no probs about what goes into a martini and you can drink it neat, no need to chill.

Tea said...

To Kudzu (with apologies to Cookiecrumb for hijacking her blog comments), they said that they used to store the supplies in the garage/basement but that would have the rubble of a two story house collapsed on top of it if/when the big one hits. The shed came in a build it yourself kit and might fall apart, but even if it does they can get to the gear easily and the generator will not be smashed to smithereens.

The only thing they have to worry about is what to do with all the friends who know how prepared they are and are planning on coming over when the crisis hits!

vanessa said...

reminds of backpacking food.

as an alum of the L.A. public school system, i distinctly remember being instructed to bring "earthquake kits" to elementary school. so we arrived with gallon ziploc bags stocked with handi-wipes, granola bars, juicy juice, you know the stuff to tide you over while your folks stumbled over the fallen skyscrapers to pick your ass up from school.

i still don't believe those flimsy desks would've saved me had the ceiling caved in. it could barely handle my notebook.

love the idea for the stew. apt for the occasion.

Dagny said...

Vanessa, they made you bring your own supplies? In Oakland, many of the schools are the local emergency centers and have huge lockers with supplies for whoever shows up. At the last school, I was part of the team that was responsible for turning off the gas and searches, if the need ever arose.