Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back to normal after the Halloween Snowstorm

Bacon, egg, and cheese grilled sandwich

Eighteen minutes.

That's how long it took me to make this amazing sandwich. Just for kicks, I checked the clock before starting. While I was making this sandwich, a variation of which I've eaten almost every morning for months, and so a task I have broken down into the most efficient series of steps, I also put on a pot of chicken stock, and started a batch of yogurt in the crock pot.

We had a crazy weekend: a snowstorm struck Saturday afternoon, before Halloween. The snow fell quickly, and because of the relatively warm weather was very heavy and wet. It fell all night, dropping about a foot of snow. It's so early in the season for a snowstorm, that most of the leaves were still on the trees. Heavy snow and ice bent the trees, in some cases to the ground, and in others, breaking boughs. I saw a few relatively small trees in people's yards, where two laden boughs crashed on either side of the trunk, which was split down the middle. Branches and trees came down across roads, and brought down power lines. The night of the storm, we heard transformers going off like shotgun blasts, then actual fireworks. Then the power started going out.

I'm eating the sandwich while I compose this post and enjoy the cable internet connection. We lost our power in the evening on Saturday, and got it back, finally, on Monday. All weekend, we read our email and surfed on our Android phones. We have a glorified car battery with a handle that Kevin bought for our honeymoon camping trip last year, and it's proven handy through the power outage, allowing us to keep our phones charged. We had miraculous hot water but no heat, due to weak link of an electric thermostat on our gas heat. Comcast has just restored sweet, sweet internet service this morning.

I talked to my local friends to make sure they were all right, and we even hosted friends for dinner on Saturday night. Last night, despite local officials "postponing" Halloween (as if you can do that), we got one group of trick-or-treaters, and were ready for them, too. All in all, I'd say that while we would not be the first wave caught in a zombie apocalypse, we should not become complacent. We were lucky as well as somewhat well-prepared. We have a quarter of a beef in the freezer, and if the power outage had threatened to run longer, we might have tried to buy a generator. When the power came back on, we checked it out and everything was still solid. Food that was in the refrigerator was mostly eaten over the weekend or has come through all right.

Today I can stock up from the Northampton Tuesday Market on greens and eggs. I checked for farmers' markets running on Mondays, but they're all so far from here that I've muddled through on what products I can get at the local supermarket. They remained the only open business in town, as far as I know, through the power outage, selling only shelf-stable items and running their registers on generator power. Once the power was restored, they were selling cold things again. A friend warned us that another local supermarket, upon reopening, was selling meat that felt warm to him; he reported it but his complaint seemed to fall on apathetic ears. Caveat emptor.

I posted in the summer about how to make a grilled sandwich, but I neglected to mention the importance of warming the fillings before you begin. In fact, the way to make a good grilled sandwich is to build it from the inside out. This applies to omelets, as well. Fry bacon, warm sausage, sauté potatoes, warm greens or any other fillings, then cook the eggs. Then, if you're making a sandwich, assemble it and grill it.

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