LOCATION: In our tiny house in Retama Village – in Mission, Texas
WEATHER: Hot. 95. Mostly sunny
We spent our morning preparing for this afternoon’s foray out into “Germville”. Our county has zoomed from one reported case of the virus 10 days ago to 80 today. We collected grocery lists from neighbors, and planned our route to minimize non-essential travel. I organized our apparel – face masks, latex gloves, sanitizing wipes, and scuba goggles….
First up, high on the essential list, was the liquor store! Gin for a neighbor and tequila for us in case we need an emergency/essential margarita one hot, sunny, boring day.
We thought it was ironic that the box we were given at the store is a Corona beer one! I have heard that Corona beer sales are way down. Go figure!
The second most essential stop was Home Depot. I stayed in the truck and watched customers and workers go back and forth to their vehicles, all in a different state of protective gear. The employees wore bandanas covering most of their faces. George bought a new showerhead – the rain drop kind – for his next project. Also some grout cleaning/sealing stuff that is sadly looming in my future.
Then, on to our local supermarket – HEB. HEB has a monopoly in the state of Texas. Unlike other states where we have lived, HEB is virtually the only supermarket option, other than Mexican meat markets, Latino stores, and Asian markets. HEB has actually handled this pandemic heroically, including paying their employees a premium during these times.
We had heard that the supermarket would be very busy, since it is the first week of the month, and consequently people have food stamps and social security checks with which to buy food. About half of the customers wore protective gear, including one lady wearing a welder’s shield. It actually wasn’t too bad, except they were out of many things. The produce and fresh meat/chicken/seafood areas were well-stocked and we put a lot of veg and fruit in our baskets (we had 2). However, the rice and beans shelves were totally empty, as were the pasta and bread sections. George wanted to buy yeast and flour to try baking bread, but that was sold out. Popcorn for our air-pop popper was on my list, but strangely it was sold out, too. We were able to get pretty much everything else we needed plus picked up items on our 2 neighbors’ lists successfully. George, in an unsupervised moment, picked up a 25-pound bag of chicken legs. Why? “Because they were cheap”, he responded.
Many shelves had signs up limiting the number of items one could buy. For example, 4 was the limit of rice packages. Since there was not any regular rice left, I picked up some small boxes of couscous, quinoa, bulgher, and long-grain rice mix. When I checked out, the computer considered all of these as rice, and didn’t allow any more than 4 for us. Not worth arguing about.
In the check-out lane, there were signs on the floor indicating where to stand while waiting in the line. The check–out guy was protected by a big plexi-glass barrier with one small hole into which we placed our credit card.
Normally, we pack our groceries in reusable bags, but to minimize the amount of germs going into the store and coming home with us, we used the store’s plastic bags. We now have enough to last us a year! We heard that some grocery stores are not allowing people to bring in their own bags. So much for recycling!
As soon as we returned home, I stripped, threw all my clothes in the laundry basket, and took a long, hot shower. Hopefully, I survived this travel through a war zone safely.
Then came the challenge of storing our purchases. The cupboard has never been fuller…. (Notice the word cupboard is singular)
I wrestled with the huge bag of chicken legs, separating the legs nto smaller plastic bags and stuffing them into the freezer. If anyone has recipes for chicken legs, please send my way!
DINNER: This was not on my original menu plan, but since George picked up hamburger and pork sausage, that is what became our dinner tonight. He mixed the beef and pork together, which gives the hamburgers a nicer texture and flavor, and grilled them on the charcoal grill. I dutifully packaged up the remaining meat (of course he bought the family pack as it was cheaper!) and froze the burgers in smaller portions. Side was potato salad.
PBS offered a special on Julia Child in the evening, so I was in heaven……