My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 23

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Explore cooking dishes that use what you have on hand.

Apr 23, 2020 at 7:41 AM. Everyone has their own individual ways of coping with the shelter-in-place rules we are living with. It took some experimenting, but we have settled into a routine of sorts here. We are fortunate to have Social Security checks. Our salaries have been eliminated until we see the proverbial light at tunnel’s end. We continue to work from home as we always have, another piece of good fortune for us. We also have some modest savings to carry us through the hard times.

Photo of turmeric, fresh knobby brown rhizome and orange powder by Simon A. Eugster.

One thing that my wife and I enjoy is our turmeric-ginger tea (really an infusion, but who cares?). We had no means to obtain this without venturing out into the infectious world or buying brands we have never heard of. I can imagine many other families suddenly missing something that only a physical trip to a store can provide. In the spirit of these difficult times, we chose the DIY approach. I checked the ingredients of our favorite brand and ordered bulk quantities of them along with 300 tea bags. Each morning, I fill up the tea bags. We experimented a bit with various amounts of turmeric, ginger, licorice, and orange rind (all powders or particulates).

We experimented a bit with various amounts of turmeric, ginger, licorice, and orange rind (all powders or particulates).

I was also frustrated by not being able to obtain our usual fruit-only jams. We had some old agar around, and I made some jams from frozen fruit and agar. The first attempt, although edible, was a disaster. I had ordered xanthan gum that finally arrived. Instructions for using it referred to adding “two pinches” of the powder. This turned out to be entirely unsatisfactory. Now, two cups of fruit combines with some lemon juice (frozen in a tray from last year), a tiny bit of agave syrup to enhance the flavor and a quarter teaspoon of xanthan gum powder.

Two cups of fruit combines with some lemon juice (frozen in a tray from last year), a tiny bit of agave syrup to enhance the flavor and a quarter teaspoon of xanthan gum powder.

My wife and I like making flatbread sandwiches. We prefer whole-grain breads and so use corn tortillas and whole-grain flatbreads. The former are easy enough to obtain, but the latter have proven really tough to find online. As I explained previously, I now make chapati bread. It is so easy that it is ridiculous. The major effort is in rolling them out very thin. One piece, about 10″ in diameter, has about 40 calories. They taste great if you like whole wheat. White flour products taste like library paste to my palate.

Photo of unleavened chapati flatbread by JVRKPRASAD.

The three examples above are unlikely to be useful to most people. After all how many of you drink turmeric-ginger tea (it tastes great!) or insist on fruit-only jams or love whole-wheat flatbreads? You are stuck at home. You have a bit more time. Why not use that extra time for DIY solutions to the problems you are facing. Explore cooking dishes that use what you have on hand.

I am going to make it back to the mountains tomorrow.

I am going to make it back to the mountains tomorrow. Finally!  Every planned trip seems to have been postponed for some reason or another. We are having a small 10’x10′ shed erected there that will have a number of purposes before we have our cabin built. We will keep our distance from the 2-person crew that will be constructing it from pre-fabricated parts.

As always, I must return to work. When in business for yourself, the work never ends. Be considerate of those on the front lines and those who have lost their jobs. Stay healthy!

One Response

  1. Will the shed serve as a temporary home? Habitable? You’re making progress.

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