CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Making do amid this, or any, crisis

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Making do

You don’t know how good you have it until it’s different.

While I’m always up to a challenge, I don’t expect the whole world to have to go it along with me. If I ever made a joke that most American pantries have enough to feed a family for weeks on end, I didn’t want to have to prove it.

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We’re together, alone for a stretch and we’re giving it our all. Some food writers are craving comfort food. I’m in a “making do” mode.

After Harvey flooding, when a house guest noted we were down to eating leaves out of the yard, I corrected her that we were harvesting fresh herbs I’d planted on purpose.

It’s always been the advice to rotate pantry goods each hurricane season, but it sounds like many of us haven’t been doing so.

And grocery runs for self-quarantine times have focused on potato chips. It’s time to get creative, and I’m still praying the lights stay on and we always have safe water.

I’m looking at fresh food first, then to what’s frozen, then the cans. Here’s what we’ve been creative with at our house:

  • Tortilla pizzas with cheese, tomato sauce and toasted pecans. It happened and they’d have passed the taste test under any circumstances.
  • Relish with a fresh Serrano pepper that was waaaayyyy hot; avocado mayo to calm that down, crunchy jicama (the last of the first one I’d ever bought), green onions and oregano from the garden and waaaayyyy tart cranberries that my niece convinced me were easy to cook with sugar for Thanksgiving. Umm, those cranberries were still in the freezer, but not forgotten.
  • Eggs cooked in seasoned oil and topped with home-grown oregano
  • The last of the radishes, sliced and substituted for crackers with cheese.

That comfort food angle does have its appeal and marketers are on the job to make sure I have experienced the following:

A crumb of comfort

New York is famous for slices of pizza, but I didn’t know that crumb cake was a thing over there.

Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake Company is shipping comfort food to your door in classic form as well as blueberry, salted caramel and gluten-free. Cakes are made in the USA with natural ingredients and are preservative free.

Forget coffee break. I didn’t mind that some of my crumbles mixed in with an over-easy egg for breakfast. We all need to start our days best as we can now!

You’ve got to give them extra credit for flavors of the month: Danny Boy for March was a chocolate stout cake with Irish cream topping. See what they did there?

Just the Cheese: One of my home “accidents” is already a thing and now it’s a winning thing. That time a glob of cheese came out like a crunchy disc in my skillet resulted in a heavenly bite I’m always trying to recreate at home.

Just the Cheese is an actual product made from 100% Wisconsin cheese baked into mini bars and bites, and has been for sale. It is now the first-place winner in the Natural Snacks category of the prestigious World Championship Cheese contest. That’s the “preeminent cheese authority in the world,” proud Just the Cheese makers tell us.

My sample of jalapeno cheese, low-carb bites were oven baked to caramelize the texture. Wisconsin Cheddar is another of their popular flavors for on-the-go snacking. Tip: I served these for breakfast as an egg side dish. It was Just the Cheese … and the egg.

Absolutely Gluten Free Potato Crisps are hyperbolic paraboloids that come in a canister, so we’re familiar with that concept. The new deal is that this no-artificial ingredient brand is guilt-free for our gluten-intolerant snacking partners in Culinary Thrill Seeking.

Sometimes you’ve got to have that stand-by salty crunch, and these crisps are ready to please.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who knows food is still a big topic no matter what’s going on in the world. Reach her at