Mostly about Cooking and Comfort

Mostly about Cooking and Comfort

Bella’s meal

Bella has been working on her cooking merit badge for scouts. On Tuesday she made chicken-lemon soup (avgolemono), which is one of her favorites. Also homemade biscuits and broccoli and a fruit plate.

Her biscuits she made after her morning schoolwork. She hardly needed me, except to explain again how to cut in the butter. They came out perfectly light and fluffy and very very good.

The soup came out perfectly too, very creamy, with soft chunks of chicken that weren’t overcooked. And perfectly flavored and salted. I was proud. Also, she has such a knack for setting up a plate.

Bella’s fruit plate.
Avgolemono soup, biscuit, broccoli, fruit

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On Friday she made broiled salmon and haddock with rice and peas and corn and a fruit plate.

Salmon with rice.

To get the fresh fish we had to venture out to the grocery store. I’d done my week’s shopping on Tuesday and it felt just like any other weekday at the market. I bought a little more than I might normally, making sure I have a few extra cans of tomatoes, tuna, pasta, flour and sugar, etc. But nothing crazy. Just restocking anything we use a lot that might be a little low.

But by Friday afternoon many of the schools around had announced closings. It was clearly not going to continue to be business as usual. And the store reflected that. It wasn’t crazy crazy. But the parking lot felt day-before-Thanksgiving full. All the shopping carts were in use. There was plenty of produce and the meat department looked well stocked. The bread aisle looked ravaged, the frozen vegetables too. There was plenty of fish, but the guy behind the counter said he expected to be cleared out by the end of the day. I’m sure most things were.

And that’s the weird thing because… it’s like the calm before a storm. But there is no storm. Only waiting and waiting.

Bella was intrigued to be witnessing the crowds and the crazy empty shelves firsthand.

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I’m really proud of her going all in on the cooking and not necessarily going with easy recipes. The soup required cutting up raw chicken and tempering the broth, techniques she’d never done before. She’d also never handled raw fish. But she’s realized that she can really cook and is getting excited by it.

She’s got one more meal to cook and she needs to plan meals for a two day camping trip. And we need to price the ingredients for the meals she’s cooked. We had to take pictures of all the steps, which I’m not sure we got all of them, but we did our best.

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Today I baked my favorite Lenten bread. It’s a hearty cranberry pecan bread, meant to be good for eating on fasting days. Which, to be honest, I haven’t actually done a bread fast, but if I did this would be the thing to eat. But still it feels Lenten to me. A hearty bread that’s slightly sweet but still not a dessert.

Cranberry-pecan loaves

I made four small loaves and it came out just right, nice crust on the outside, soft interior. I ate a few to many slices at dinner. They were just so good.

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We had rice bowls for dinner, one of our family’s favorite because everyone can make up their own combination of ingredients. The kids love building a bowl. And it’s a great way to get them to eat vegetables.

Rice bowl fixin’s
Rice bowl

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With the spring weather I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of a daily walk. Bribing myself with an audiobook when I go out, if one of the kids isn’t joining me. And you know, having a book to look forward to actually works. The walk itself isn’t quite enough, but a good book…

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This is shaping up to be the weirdest Lent ever. And Bella keeps exclaiming how weird it is to be living in a moment of history. Of course they are all moments, but… this could be her generation’s 9-11. The story they all tell. It’s a funny thing when you are confronted with the fact that you can identify something going on now that will one day be in the history books.

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This afternoon we jumped in partway through the livestream of a Mass said by our friend Father Roderick in the Netherlands. The Mass was in English, Latin, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, Italian…. a real multi-lingual feast. It was lovely to be able to pray with our friend (he’s even visited in our house and shared a meal with us, so the kids all know him) who was across the ocean. The kids knelt and made a spiritual communion and sang and prayed along. They were definitely intrigued by how many languages Father Roderick speaks.

Being able to make a spiritual communion along with a friend… that was a sweet consolation in this time of dryness. No Masses tomorrow. We shall have to watch another one online. But we know we are not alone in our distress. God himself will feed us and bring us comfort.

Strange ritual meant to ward off the plague?
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