Apocalypse Chow

When you’ve got no time for anything but a quickie.

Months ago I promised to supply a super-easy, super-cheap Spartan recipe that kept me alive one lean student summer in New Mexico, when I was packed into a tiny barrio apartment with three other people. This recipe predates my veganism and even my vegetarianism, but was nevertheless my default dinner many nights out of economic necessity (when I wasn’t having ramen, that is). The cost is still only about a dollar per serving. Now seems like the ideal time to share it, seeing as I’ve been eating it for oh-is-it-time-for-lunch-again nearly every day for well over a week, and so far 2020 has been beset by fires, floods, a modern-day Plague, an economic depression, and threats of being swarmed by murder hornets — all while a long overdue civil rights revolution takes back the streets and the textbook definition of an antichrist fails to lead the so-called free world. (I hear collision with an asteroid is expected sometime this decade.)

Besides, in all honesty I’ve got nothing new to offer you, but I should post something. It’s been three weeks! (Sorry.) I’ve been attempting time- and labor-intensive dialogues while trying to physically show up (but socially distance) at least some of the time, and scrambling to compile data into reports that’ll hopefully keep contributing noncitizens from being returned to combat zones. (All the while feeling like I’m not doing enough!) Who’s got the cash for ingredients now, or the time and energy to shop and cook? I’ve got carpal tunnel already. It’s an exciting time to be alive, but not the best time to maintain a food blog.

This is definitely lo-fi activist/artist/student survival chow, meant to simmer in simplicity on your stove while you attend to other things. And it’s nutritious! The lentils are rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc; they’re a great source of plant-based protein and fiber and full of disease-fighting phytochemicals. Brown rice is a good source of folate, riboflavin, potassium and calcium. Both ingredients are sky-high in manganese, which helps the body heal. Salsas have vitamin C (tomato and lime) and other immune boosters like garlic. I wouldn’t eat it as my only food, but back then I often ate it for dinner every day (I ate free leftovers at the cafe where I worked, and had Cheerios for breakfast). I’d be willing to bet that a case of Pace picante sauce is a good food pantry/bunker food, it has a decent shelf life. Normally I try to avoid preservatives, but making my own just hasn’t been a priority lately!

I realize that this recipe isn’t very exciting, or sexy, but maybe you can role play some kind of Mad Max type scenario with leather and whatnot in the meantime, or pretend you’re the Whore of Babylon. Just because you lack time and funds doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. All austerity and no play makes for a very dull Armageddon. They don’t call it the Rapture for nothing.

Yield: 1 serving, adjust accordingly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 T salsa or picante sauce, or to taste
  • Sea salt and/or cumin to taste

Heat the lentils and rice to a boil in the water and then reduce the heat to simmer, adding the salsa. Cook partially covered until the lentils and rice are soft and the liquid is gone, about 40-45 minutes, then stir in any added cumin and salt. Back in the day, we’d sometimes top ours with Kraft grated Parmesan, but you’re welcome to use Nut Cheese Topping if you’ve got it.

(Yesterday I found some wild rice and red lentils in the back of my cupboard, which was admittedly getting somewhat bare, and I didn’t even need the salsa — the nutty flavor of the rice and the sweeter constitution of the lentils was enough with just a little salt and cumin.)

ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS: Locally I’m throwing some support to the work of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, whose staff and board partly consist of the formerly incarcerated, and who co-sponsored and pushed a sweeping police reform bill that just overwhelmingly passed in our state legislature. You probably already know about some of the national organizations addressing systemic racism and abuses of power against Black and nonwhite citizens, like Color of Change and of course Black Lives Matter, but I’ll bookmark a couple here anyway. If you’re interested in supporting undocumented immigrants and refugees at the border who are facing detainment and deportation, RAICES is doing awesome work … and they still need help!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Such a nice blog. Please check out my blog as well. I am a travel blogger from India.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Madame le P. says:

      Thanks for your kind comment. I haven’t had time to keep up my blog since June! My immigration work has become a full-time writing job. I did make some spring rolls I planned on posting about. Once upon a time I wanted to be a travel blogger! I miss travel these days.

      Like

      1. Same here. Bing stuck at home is taking a toll now. I hope your work gets over soon and you can get back to cooking. Stay safe. 🙂

        Like

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