Monday, October 29, 2007

Wildfires and Comfort Food

What a week! It all started on Sunday, as I was making pizza dough in the kitchen.

I smelled smoke and knew that it wasn't coming from inside the house. I looked out of the kitchen window to see that smoke was fast obscuring the hills in the distance. Hubby and I spent a good couple of hours searching the internet and TV news before we found out about the wildfires being fanned by the Santa Ana winds.

As one of the fires approached our area early Monday morning, a mandatory evacuation order was issued. Bags were packed, as were photos, and important papers. Pizza dough was shoved into the freezer. The contents of the house were recorded to video. Hotel reservations were procured. I was banking on it taking a long time to get the hell out of Dodge, so I packed a cooler of sodas and water, and threw dried fruits and cashews into zippered bags.

We headed downtown and found solace in breakfast at St. Tropez Bakery. We drank mimosas, frantically sent e-mails, and made phone calls.

Once we checked into our hotel, we spent our time watching the local news on TV, surfing the net for additional nuggets of information, answering more e-mails, and making more phone calls. In the evenings, we treated ourselves to dinners out at Blue Point Coastal and Bondi. (After all, this was our 5th anniversary weekend.) In between all the dining and information-gathering was the cocktailing. It was something to do to kill time whilst taking our minds off of wondering about the state of our home. We got some stiff drinks and a very interesting view of smoky San Diego from the Top of the Hyatt.

We returned to a home covered with ash inside and out. We knew we had lots of cleaning ahead of us, but that seemed a good problem to have considering that many other families in our area were not so fortunate.

After our three-day evacuation stint, we tried to get back to our usual routine which includes me cooking dinner most nights of the week. I found myself choosing easy to make, comforting foods each night, such as pizza (with homemade sauce and the thawed dough from Wildfire Day 1), clams casino, and grilled Italian sausages with caramelized peppers and onions. (Actually, Hubby deserves the credit for the Italian sausage idea -- we had to eat something ballparkish while watching the Red Sox sweep the Rockies. YAY SOX!)

Tomorrow's dinner will be another comfort food -- red beans and rice. For all the scariness of hurricanes, I still long to be home. It's especially so when these wildfires start raging all around. What better to do then serve up a big pot of red beans?

My thoughts are with all those who were affected by these disastrous wildfires.

As Louis Armstrong would sign,

Red Beans and Ricely Yours

0 red beans:

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