At 5 PM Saturday, March 21, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8, aka the Stay at Home order, took effect. Here’s a daily-ish journal of how Reader staff, our friends, family—and our pets—are spending our time.
Day 45: May 4
What we’re reading:
What we’re listening to:
- Dead soprano Montserrat Caballe onWFMT on Demand, “Arias and Songs with Larry Johnson,” April 25.
What we’re watching:
What we’re cooking:
- Accidental stew (A perfectly OK meal, even if it was supposed to be pot roast.)
It’s easy! Here’s all you need to serve 6 to 8 trapped people:
- 3+ pound chuck roast and sharp knife: So, grocery store’s off-limits because of coronavirus? Delivery brings one great hunk of meat? No problem: just cut the cow into something more manageable, say, 2-inch squares, being very careful not to butcher yourself. (If frozen, best to thaw first.) Then wash hands for 20 seconds and pretend that never happened.
- Potatoes: Peel and slice one small-to-medium spud for each serving. (So boring, can be done while watching coronavirus updates on television.)
- Celery, onion, and carrots, as much as you like, all sliced, and some garlic, chopped.
- A couple tablespoons of flour, and an eighth or more of a pound of butter (or, cooking oil, but really it’s not the same, so don’t blame me).
- One big, deep frying pan with a tight cover. Lots of garlic salt.
- Beef bouillon? Sounds like a good idea, but I didn’t have any, so not sure.
Now, just five simple steps:
- On the stove top, melt half of the butter in a pan, then drop cow chunks in and lightly brown on all sides.
- Add onion, garlic, and ½ to ¾ cup water. Turn heat down to simmer, cover, and go watch a movie or do something else for at least two hours. (Are you a worrier? Then OK to take a peek halfway through to see if water’s gone and your kitchen’s about to burn up. If yes, add more water.)
- Add potatoes, vegetables, and garlic salt. Simmer, covered, for another 45 minutes or so, until it smells delicious and potatoes are softish when forked.
- Melt remaining butter (microwave is good for this; get more butter if necessary), and mix with flour in a tiny bowl until blended, then add to pan and stir like crazy until all that watery liquid congeals into something that’ll pass for gravy. Voila! You’re done!
- Serve right from the stove. If edible, whew!