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bread-steamingAs part of my low-maintenance prepper campaign, I’ve been thinking about ways we could cook if a major earthquake led to a loss of electricity. We’ve got a burn barrel and a Weber outside, and if the gas were still on we could manually light the stovetop (but not the oven).

We’ve got tons of staples on hand and could likely outlast a major emergency, even if all our shiftless relatives showed up to camp at the house with a fireplace insert and loads of flour and beans. One thing we couldn’t do easily? Bread.

Thus I’ve been researching recipes like stovetop corn pone, tortillas and other relatively simple staffs of life. When I recently got a copy of “The Kitchen Stories Cookbook: Comfort Cookin’ Made Fascinating and Easy,” my eyes fell upon a recipe for Boston brown bread.

The result is literally steaming in the photograph. (DF snapped the picture shortly after the first pieces were cut.) It was the perfect antidote to a cold winter night when paired with a thick soup made from boiling-bag broth, a pint of home-canned turkey, and whatever vegetables we had on hand.

My theory is that fresh bread, or even fresh tortillas, can make an ordinary meal – or an emergency one – seem much nicer than it actually is.

 


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Warmth and plenty.

thOh, the breakfast we just had. Perfectly cooked bacon, done in the oven. Sliced tomatoes. The last of the homemade rolls from the freezer, toasted and served with a choice of three homemade (not by us) jams. Tea and coffee aplenty

Scrambled eggs for me and for DF, eggs done “the way Jesus had his.” (See Matthew 11:30 for the punny explanation.) A dish of yogurt with rhubarb compote, both – you guessed it – homemade. The only reason we didn’t add in some of those Del Monte red grapefruit sections was that we forgot they were in the fridge.

The fireplace insert was churning out BTUs, its flames resurrected from the previous evening’s fire that had entertained us and also dried two racks of laundry. While I slept in DF had folded that laundry and put away the racks.

This lazy Saturday morning was seasoned perfectly by gusts of snow blown against the kitchen windows. Not new snow, but slabs of old snow and hand-sized chunks of frost blown off the roof and the neighbor’s giant larch tree. My breakfast sat more snugly and smugly each time snow scoured the panes: It’s out there and I’m in here, enjoying warmth and a leisurely breakfast.

All of which reminded me of a line from Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth.”

 



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santa_planeWhen you fly on a buddy pass you travel standby. Using a pass during the holiday season is a total crapshoot – or, in airline parlance, “not recommended.”

But I when I decided to visit my daughter for the holidays, I believed the traditional wisdom about flying on Dec. 24.

“Folks will already be where they want to be,” I kept hearing. “Plenty of room on the planes on Christmas Eve.”

Apparently a whole lot of people missed that memo.

 


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thIt was 8 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, and I got my usual chuckle thinking of Halloween in Anchorage. We generally see a parade of Disney princess, zombie and superhero costumes obscured by winter garb.

Nothing like the sight of an Ariel or Rapunzel wearing a down coat and moon boots.

Last year, long before “Suicide Squad” hit the theaters, one of my great-nephews dressed as Harley Quinn. His makeup was great, his hair was stiffened in pigtails – and his homemade costume, thankfully, had long underwear as its base. It was plenty cold last Oct. 31, too.

Apparently we might see some election-themed trick-or-treaters this year. An e-mail from the Savers group of thrift stores noted that the presidential election has affected costume sales. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump accessories are flying off the shelves.

 


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thHow’d you spend your weekend? I got to be on local radio, where I talked about “Your Playbook For Tough Times” and acted in an on-air skit.

“The Big Alaska Show” is an every-Saturday event on KFQD-AM. It’s a mix of interviews and (alleged) comedy bits, some of which hit and some of which miss. The hosts, Steve Stripling and Mike Ford, cheerfully describe it as “the longest-running error-riddled radio program in Alaska.

And I did my part to help that along. Wouldn’t you?

 


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