I Eat A Portion

I’m no kind of cook. I can do basic hippie–stir fry tofu, make a watery vegetable soup. If I lived in a big city, I’m sure I’d eat takeout three times a day (leftover Thai for breakfast). So how is it that once or twice a month I find myself cooking hearty meals for a dozen people?
I have the pandemic to thank. Right at the start, I got worried about my neighborhood homeless shelter and gave them a call.
Years ago, I’d been on the board of the shelter. We were invited to spend an overnight there–and I did. I was writing up the experience, and a photographer from the local newspaper accompanied me. Lying in bunk beds, she–a beautiful and dynamic young woman–started fussing over her professional prospects. Should she continue? Make a change?
A homeless woman in the next bed said sleepily: dear, I think you have a lovely career.
That funny moment of connection has stayed with me.
My daughter cooked there as a teenager, with an interfaith group. And the cooks would stay for supper. Not during the pandemic, though. When I called I was told yes they needed meals, home cooked and delivered. The shelter had cut its numbers and was following pandemic protocols. It was eight residents and two staff.
I started cooking. I remembered food shouldn’t be too spicy, due to health issues. I imagined people would enjoy hearty familiar dishes–American and New Mexican. I asked and was told that the group liked salad.
Frankly I hate salad, so this was a challenge. Iceburg lettuce is pretty much the only thing I won’t eat (when we raised guinea pigs I wouldn’t serve it to them either.) But salad was asked for. I started in on tomatoes and cukes and fresh mozzarella cheese. Then started adding cooked spinach. Would sometimes give up and just buy bags of mixed greens.
Out of dim starving-student recesses of my mind I pulled elaborate baked bean casseroles with hot dogs, bacon, and onions. I modified a hippie dish–couscous–by adding lots of squash and chicken. I cooked pastas and stroganoffs and more. Served with a baguette or dinner rolls. Sometimes more cheese. Sometimes kid-baked cookies. I got good feedback on a white bean dish, so I rotate that it.
The cost is about $2.00 per person per dinner. I take a vegetarian portion out for my husband Rich. And I make a full portion for myself. We deliver it, and I come home and have it for supper.
Ostensibly I’m eating alone, but it feels like company.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Miriam Sagan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com). The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s