This past weekend was my baking time for Irish soda bread, which I always make for St. Patrick's Day. So on Friday, I hit the grocery store for caraway seeds and buttermilk. I checked my flour cannister before I left on my shopping spree. I had enough to make my bread, but I would probably be scraping bottom. So I added flour to my shopping list.
When I got to the store, I was surprised to find that they were sold out of 5 lb. bags of King Arthur Flour. And of Gold Medal Flour.
Are people planning on doing a lot of baking while they're social distancing? I've never seen no flour other than mingy 1 lb. bags - 1 lb? why even bother - even before Christmas.
Friday afternoon, I was talking to my sister Kath. Almost the first words out of her mouth: "Star Market was out of flour!" Which is really too bad, as Kath had been planning on baking a double batch of her fantastic biscotti. She did order some flour directly from King Arthur in Vermont, so hopefully by Easter there'll be biscotti in our "Easter baskets."
It wasn't just flour that Roche Bros. wa out of.
While I was buzzing down the soup aisle, I noticed that they were pretty much out of Progresso soups. Plenty of Campbell's, by the way. Hmmm, hmmm good. Progresso soups are, in my humble soup-loving opinion, superior to Campbell's. And you can absolutely convince yourselves that a can of Progresso is a meal. Anyway, it was a good thing I wasn't looking for Progresso. I already have some Chickarina, Macaroni & Bean, and Italian Wedding in my larder, having prudently stocked up a week ago.
Although I was selfishly fine with the fact that there'd been a run on Progresso - I already had me mine - I was hoping that I'd be able to grab a bag or two of frozen peas. While I have plenty enough food to last a month, I'm used to having fresh veggies and fruits around, and those I might run out of. So I thought I'd grab some frozen peas, as peas are a veggie that freezes pretty well, and I figured I could throw them on pasta. Alas, there were no frozen peas, and nothing that was left appealed to me. (Ap - "pea" - led: get it?)
I'll look in again today or tomorrow. Hopefully the stocks will be replenished by then.
On the Friday evening news, they showed a lot of shelter-in-place shopping out in the 'burbs. Some stores were almost completely denuded. Wild!
What was interesting was when they showed what people were buying. One women's cart was loaded with toilet paper and Cheerio's.
Many people were stocking up on water. New England's water is actually pretty good. I drink a lot of water, but it's good old Boston tap that I store in the fridge in these cool wine bottles my sister Kath gave me. (Future guests be warned: the bottle with the yellow cap is the one I've been nown to guzzle out of when I come in from a summer-weather walk. I always wonder whether a neighbor glancing in through the windows of my green-house kitchen thinks that they're catching me drinking wine.)
So why are people stocking up on water? Do they think that COVID-19 is going to destroy the water supply? The taps won't turn on? The flow won't flow?
Back to my local grocer, one fellow near me in the checkout line was loading up on green jello. I'm guessing something to do with a St. Patrick's Day par-tay. Lime jello shots? Party on!
City shoppers don't tend to buy all that much. I limit my purchases to whatever fits in a backpack and two tote bags. Shoppers are walking home or getting on the subway. So you don't see anyone buying 10-packs of toilet papers, 6-rolls of Bounty. Just as much flour, Progresso soup, and frozen peas as they can carry.
One thing I know: I may go stir crazy, but I won't starve to death.