My three kids and I have been enjoying sharing some great food stories over the last few weeks via messaging and talking on the phone. I've had to cancel trips to visit all of them due to the pandemic, which means I am not traveling to all kinds of great food destinations, including Chesapeake Bay at Norfolk, VA, the San Francisco Bay area, and Boise, ID. So, no oysters and blue crab for me this spring! No chic New American cuisine in Palo Alto, and sadly, no down home Basque comfort food in Boise.
But we have always been very connected through food, so for us, that discussion has just taken on a new form. A month ago, we started conspiring about how to get flour delivered so that our shared obsession for bread and cookie baking could go on. That evolved into talking about impacts to the food industry as both my daughter’s husbands manage restaurants and have been struggling in their careers for over a month. Here in Silverton, I think we are really lucky that our food system is still working pretty darn well. I compliment our store merchants whenever I get the chance and am delighted that I can still walk into one of our local food outlets and outdoor farmers market to get fresh produce, or have my whole grocery order packed up and delivered to the back seat of my truck! Several of our local restaurants have done an outstanding job converting to "carry out" business, which is remarkable and worthy of praise and patronage!
What my kids and I have had the most fun with though, is sharing food and cooking stories from our homes. We do a pretty much daily check in on what's cooking for the day. I am a "waste not, want not" kind of guy. That means that I am always trying to devise some creative way to use that last scant half cup of corn meal I have stashed in the back of the cupboard, to add to a banana bread or meatloaf! Or maybe fabricate some dumplings out of a cup or so of masa for the split pea soup I made with everything that was left in the refrigerator.
I am not joking about the dumplings I made out of the last bit of masa that I had in the back of the cupboard, and here's the photo to prove it! In Español these are called Chochoyotes. I recommend this recipe from Pati Jinich: https://patijinich.com/chochoyotes-corn-masa-dumplings/
I encourage you to share your food and your food stories with your family, your friends and your neighbors as a balm for your soul in these challenging times. Next to a big chunk of chocolate and planting a garden, it’s the best thing I’ve found to generate positive energy and stay connected with my loved ones both near and far!