I once went down a man-made slide on a tropical island, a lover’s paradise. I was wearing a bikini, and when I picked myself up off the ground, after the hard slip down a water slide, I emerged with both: a sand wedge and a very sandy box. Today, with Hurricane Sandy, I’m anticipating other surprises, hopefully none to do with my box.
This rental home in which we reside runs on electricity. The heating is electric. The TELEPHONES are electric. Hot water, electric. Stove and oven, electric. This morning, while we still have power, we’re cooking the contents of our lives. Add insult to an anticipated lack of electricity, I am on a diet. Paleo, caveman, primal blueprint. No grains, no legumes, no sugar, no dairy. Know what I eat? Meat. Protein. Lots of vegetables, berries and a few nuts. Mostly stuff that’s delicious when it’s cooked with fire. Canned goods, not so good. A week without electricity, I can’t imagine it would happen. Truly, my imagination won’t allow the thought. My imagination doesn’t wander off to death and injuries. Instead I think of what I’m missing, imagining Manhattan, when I was single, the Blackout of 2003, when life seemed whimsical.
As a Girl Scout leader, I actually know how to bake a black forest cake in a cardboard box, outside in the woods. I can do it. I can build a fire with a bag of Frito chips. But can I do any of this during a wind storm? This remains to be seen. In the interim, this girl’s got herself some wine, magazines, and lots of cookbooks. I have children home with me, schools closed today and yes, already for tomorrow, Tuesday. I’ve received emails about filling my bathtub with water. I can’t see why. “Clean it with Clorox” then use it for flushing the toilet and for drinking, if necessary.” The day I drink out of a bathtub, gin had better be involved.
I do have a car and a gym membership. What more does a girl really need? I would like to know this… what are all the sushi restaurants doing to prepare for power outages. If they are without a generator, won’t they give up the sushi to local guests? I would like to be on this invite list. I think blackouts, when you’re somewhere safe after evacuations, can be wonderful bonding experiences.
I believe our memories bloom during these times, that because of the peculiarity of the situation, we’re more apt to recall the details. When Hurricane Gloria hit, when I was still living with my parents as a girl, I remember going out into the eye of the storm with my father, his arm around my shoulder as we took in the damage, squinting in the sunlight. We drove around the neighborhood, traffic lights still down, until we came upon a restaurant with neon lights, still aglow. We ordered bags of Jack In The Box, the only time in our lives we’ve ever eaten there, then and still. I hope to make the same memories with my beans.
Already they have buried treasures around the house and have begun to craft maps for me. Hide and seek, sardines, monopoly, books upon books. I can’t help but play this game of “IF.” If I could be stranded anywhere right now, where would be the most fun place to be stuck without electricity?
Inside a department store? A library. FAO Schwartz? My answer: a Michelin starred hotel restaurant, where my room is only 2 doors away, still working with keys, not electronic key cards, where the restaurant and hotel is filled with interesting guests and company, where the wine list is lauded and the prepped food is that of the gods. Good food, great company, warm and safe, with wine women and someone who plays the guitar.
Two of my dearest friends in Manhattan have evacuated their homes, off in the safety of hotels. Friends in Red Hook Brooklyn have fled. In light of such a light dreamy cooking memory drinking post, I too hope everyone keeps safe and warm, keeping their loved ones tucked away in their cozy care.