As Hurricane Sandy nears landfall, trapping us and the employees of our favorite takeout places inside our apartments, an unfamiliar and collective domestic mania is starting to set in. Judging from the Twitter and Instagram one-upsmanship, everyone we know is either shopping or cooking or baking. Who waited in the longest line outside a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods yesterday? Who made the best-looking pot of hurricane chili with their boyfriend? Who found the best deal on hurricane wine? “I’m just playing housewife today,” one Cut editor admitted. Even the D.J.’s on Hot 97 this morning warned listeners that today is a “main chick” day. (With trains and tunnels shutting down and winds revving up, you wouldn’t want to get trapped, overnight, with your phone’s battery draining, at the house of your “side chick.”) Herewith, the four hurricane diets of the suddenly domestic main chicks of the Cut.
For many, a weather emergency mandate to stock up on nonperishable food items conjures thoughts of canned tuna, beans, and fruit cocktail. The nonperishable gourmand favors anchovies and artichoke hearts, and may be responsible for the run on organic, unsweetened dried mango at the Park Slope Food Co-op yesterday. She believes Americans are too uptight about refrigeration and Pont l’Eveque is best served at room temperature, anyway. Asked to furnish a Sandy shopping list, one such Cut editor said, “Red wine, because it doesn’t need refrigeration. And nor does our stockpile of annoyingly artisanal cheese and salumi.”
Best exemplified by Ruth Reichl, who spent the pre-Sandy hours roasting her own ham and baking her own bread, there is a certain kind of waste-not-want-not domestic goddess who springs into action in an emergency. Thanks to a combination of Fresh Direct deliveries and a local farm share, she doesn’t need to brave the lines at Key Food in order to whip up three or four tasty, makes-great-leftovers meals. The Cut has one of these in its midst. Her Sandy stockpile: “Two packages of gluten-free pasta (have lots of non-perishable veggies I can add from my CSA), I have three servings of homemade shepherds pie leftover, frozen in individual servings. I made four spiced apple walnut turnovers in advance, have eaten one. Polished off two servings of homemade frozen soup (hot Italian sausage with rainbow chard, collards, great northern beans, some onion, garlic, chicken stock), split that with on-again-off-again boyfriend last night.”
The only Hurricane Sandy eating plan believed to yield weight loss is based on the principles of minimal disaster preparedness and minimal deviance from one’s daily routine. Here’s how one Cut writer described her Hurricane Sandy food plan: “Basically I went on Twitter and saw Café Grumpy under my apartment was closed. Usually I don’t go there because I call it “Café Rip-off,” but I was willing to go because I needed caffeine. So then I had to make my own fucking coffee and that’s really all I’ll accomplish today.” If you happen to know someone following this diet in your building or neighborhood, kindly stop by with a bag of trail mix and a bottle of water.
For the rest of us, Hurricane Sandy, like many national, televised events, is an excuse to eat all our favorite junk foods. They’re nonperishable (responsible), owing to all the chemical ingredients. And they’re available at your local bodega or deli, which does not have nearly as long lines as the grocery store (suckers). We stocked up on citrus, greens, canned soup, and peanut butter, but so far we’ve only inhaled the comfort snacks we bought to distract us during the worst part of the storm. (Still hours away. Stay safe, everyone!) One Cut staffer enumerates: “Bagel chips (half gone), pita chips, gummy bears (gone), sour patch kids (almost gone), pears, grapefruit, kale, goat cheese, peanut butter, canned tuna, apple cider, whiskey, and five bottles of wine (one opened last night).”