Sunday, February 5, 2012

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

No, really, it was!

I left work on Friday night, and outside a ferocious storm was throwing lightning strikes across the sky and buckets of rain down to the ground.  It was fearsome and awe-inspiring.  It was also a challenge to my plans to ride my bike home at 6 PM.

My first thought was that this is Texas, and the storm may stop in five minutes.  I decided to wait it out, first by just staring into the sky, which was a welcome break from staring at my computer screen.  Then my shoulder got tired from holding my heavy bag, so I retreated inside to read my book while I continued to wait out the storm.

The storm, however, had enough ammunition to keep going…and going.  I decided that if I was going to get home that night, I’d have to give up my bike-riding plans and take the bus.  The rain let up a tiny bit, so I headed out to catch the bus, giving up my hair and dry clothes to the rain.  I made it home, wet but unharmed, and was flooded with gratitude for my little apartment, with its peace and quiet, a shelter from the rain which pounded the roof.  While waiting out the storm, I had started to fantasize about dinner.  Fried chickpea patties, seasoned with green onions and cumin, sounded tantalizing; I might even have the ingredients to make a yogurt-tahini sauce.  All of this was on my mind when a crash of thunder startled me so badly that I think my soul jumped out of my body.  Then the lights went dark.

Kitchen by Candlelight

And with the darkness came an end to my chickpea patty fantasy.  I have an electric stove, so no electricity means no cooking.  At that point, I was too hungry not to eat something, and with the storm raging outside, there was no way I was leaving my apartment.  It didn’t occur to me to order take-out (and I’m really too frugal for that sort of behavior anyway), so a kitchen raid for a picnic dinner would have to suffice.

In the freezer, I found some good pumpernickel bread, thinly sliced, which meant thawing time would be short.  In the fridge I found a handful of chickpeas, which I mashed with some yogurt, salt, and pepper into a sort of hummus.  I also found cheese and mustard, so I put together a sandwich of strong-tasting flavors: hummus, cheese, and mustard.  (I like potent flavors.)  I also had an open bottle of muscat wine, which seemed like a good antidote to my deflated dinner dreams.

Candlelit Dinner

I assembled and ate my dinner by candlelight, only to realize that I really, seriously needed more calories than a sandwich and a glass of wine (and some pretzels and peanut butter that I’d snarfed before dinner).  I ate the last of Sunday night’s kale salad.  Then I reached for the yogurt container again and made a bowl of chocolate yogurt, studded with dried cherries.  It hit the spot.

Eventually, the power came back on, went out again, and came on.  It was an exciting, exhausting evening, not at all what I had in mind for my Friday night.  But it got me thinking: what would you eat for dinner if the power went off suddenly and you had no access to a stove, oven, or microwave?  Would you find enough provisions to feed your hunger?  Or would you just eat pretzels and cheese, wash it down with wine, and call it dinner?  I have to say, I was rather pleased that even on a Friday night, when my supply of good leftovers is rather meager after a long week of work, I was able to make something for dinner.  Resourcefulness never fails to please me.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

I really love this post! It sounds like you ate better with no electricity than most people do on any given night - well done, lady!

If this happened to us, Nathan would probably whip out our camping stove. It has seen us through many a hurricane and days without electricity. :)

Rosiecat said...

Ah, yes! Nathan would totally save the day, and I bet he would take great pleasure in being ready for the storm. I don't even have a damn flashlight, just candles. (And it's ironic too, because Matt and I were just discussing his dad's flashlight collection.) I am not prepared for a disaster outside of having a well-stocked pantry.

Raquelita said...

My ability to eat a meal when the electricity goes out is really contingent on what sort of mood we were in when we wrote our list for groceries that week and what else is going. Some weeks all I would find are some crackers and cheese with peanut butter for dessert. Other times I might have olives, plenty of fruit, a leftover salad, homemade bread, etc.

Shannon said...

very resourceful!! love it. i definitely could scrounge together something, while stressing about when the power goes back so i don't lose everything else ;)

Rosiecat said...

It's feast or famine at your house, Raquelita! My kitchen tends toward the same state, particularly at the end of the work week.

Shannon, I imagine you would find all sorts of interesting and delicious options in your kitchen! But yes, I too worried about how long the power would be out. I have a ton of basic ingredients and condiments in the fridge.