Captain’s Log, April 20, 2020

Not Keith at Costco

Costco began offering early hours a few days a week to seniors. I took advantage. Given the news I had heard about thinning food supply chains, especially pork, I thought I would beef up on All-American proteins (also known as beef) earlier than my monthly norm. The Costco beef supply was ample. But, the only pork I found was baby back ribs and rack of pork. Rack of pork is usually a holiday item for Costco, so I was happy to find it. Next to baby back ribs, rack of pork is my favorite pork cut. With the recipe I found a few years ago, it is a family favorite.

Added bonus, I scored TP, paper towels and Kleenex. We should be good to go with those supplies for three months. And no, I did not hoard.

I made an executive chef and chief procurement officer decision and upgraded our steak choices to include New Yorks, Filets and Prime Sirloin. If any of these become last suppers, at least I will have eaten well.

I am fantasizing filets with a mushroom (shitake or morel), brandy garlic sauce, creamy mushroom (cremini) and spicy pecan wild rice, and steamed broccoli with butter and truffle salt, washed down with a bottle of Petite Sirah, while singing “Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be, will be.” Doris Day, I will see your Que Sera and raise you a glass of my Sirah.

A week ago, my home county reported only 8 new virus cases. No one was high-fiving — had to be an outlier — and it was. The next day the case count jumped back up to 87, the third highest daily total to date.

A favorite Facebook posting for this past week appears to be a quote by best-selling author, David Sedaris in The New Yorker:

“To put this in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually parks it beside my seat. ‘Can I interest you in the Chicken?’ She asks. ‘Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?’ To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.”

Tax Day came and went. Return deadlines have been extended both by my state and the IRS. I will do them soonish because I usually get a state refund. I may wait until July 15th to file federal taxes since I usually own a couple thousand. Might as well keep it as long as I can. These days are taxing enough.

Psst — don’t tell my daughter but I went foraging for food again with my son. Traditionally I make a weekly run that includes Trader Joes. Noting the lines outside lately, I decided to pass this past month. Today, I caved and stood in line — 20 minutes. My son thought this was akin to waiting for a dial tone since he is a devoted attendee of ComicCon in San Diego. I have a good number of Trader Joes’ products I like, such as their butter, pancetta and haricot verts. I decided I needed to train my son on foodstuffs I buy at Trader Joes. We finished off the list at Vons and I was able to show him even more dos and don’ts. I think he is sufficiently trained.

I recently baked Clafoutis, using blueberries instead of the traditional cherries, a Julia Childs recipe. YUM!

I made bacon-bourbon butter and honey pecan butter. These are so good I may just eat them by the spoonful. My arteries are making anticipatory lockdown sounds.

My wife, the one with many more words each day than moi, even if you count my writing, was anxious to talk with a good friend she had not spoken with for days. The friend finally returned her call. I think my wife talked nonstop for 30 minutes, pacing in our living room (which is our household cellphone lot when I am making intrusive noises in the kitchen). I’m not sure her friend got in five sentences.

She is forgiven. She has been holed up with me for over a month.

I made the Double Chocolate Torte. The family vote came in. It now joins Triple Pecan Pie, Snickers Cheesecake, Chocolate Molten Lava Cake, and Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars in the Top Five Roman Orgy Dessert Menu.

More on the eagle’s nest — the Orange County Register featured them in a recent story, but for the sake of privacy and safety did not disclose their location. One of our neighbors told us they usually hang around for 12 weeks before the young’uns fly away. It has now been 13 weeks. He thought they were being lazy. I said they just probably were following the governor’s stay-at-home order. Whatever, they are a treat for our morning walks.

Finally, new glass frames — six weeks after ordering.

Our son foraged for food today, the first time on his own. I graded him a generous B+.

Our homeowners association asked us to take down the Christmas lights we put back up on our backyard fence. They said Christmas was over, thinking we had left them up since Christmas. We had not. We joined two other neighbors in putting back up a strand of lights, something to lighten the morale. We talked with the other rebels and we all agreed to tell the association to buzz off. (I would have used a different word, so my wife wrote the email.) One said he would start a petition of his neighbors. The other called it “viral lighting.” When stay-at-home is lifted, they will come down.

My childhood county, Cass County, in northcentral Indiana has had an explosion of infections this past week. The primary cause — a Tyson chicken processing plant, by far the largest employer in the county. They now have the highest percentage (based on population) of infection of any county in Indiana, at nearly 3%, I am certain there is, but I am not aware of any city or county higher in the United States.

This is a story duplicating itself throughout several states. These plants are incubators for the virus. And they all reacted too slowly. So, not only are more people infected in a community, but the plants are forced to shut down for some unknown time, thus interrupting the supply chain. This could get ugly.

My home county hit a new high today for single day infections — 124.

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