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.