No one has a concept of the toll the Coronavirus will take on our national and local economies. The forecast is somewhere between terrible to apoplectic. We’re almost certainly headed into a recession, while others are talking about 1929.
Working from home has forced some levels of savings. I’m not driving to and from work each day, which means the gas in my Honda Pilot’s 19.5-gallon is going to last longer. My morning Starbucks run is on hiatus, which is another $5 a day. There’s no trips to Buried Acorn or Now & Later or any other alcohol dispensing facility in the near future. Gymnastics and other activities are canceled for the oldest, and all of those spring birthday parties she may or may not have been invited to are on the shelf.
I think of this because, as many of you know, I work for a nonprofit. In times like these, people are generous with their time, talent and treasure. This area raised millions of dollars after Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf states, even when gas prices crept near $5 a gallon. But, while they give until they can’t give anymore to relief efforts, organizations like mine take it in the wallet.
We also don’t know the fate of the economy. Free money from the government aside (and I have plenty of questions about that bit of socialism), people need to come out of this ready to spend money. Except, people are going to be cautious about big purchases like cars, houses, and electronics. It’s the nature of how people go about things, but all of our economic indicators are built on big tech, big auto and the housing industry.
And we haven’t even talked about what’s going to happen to small businesses like the restaurants, breweries and bars we all frequent.
I survived the downturn and charitable relief movement in Post-Katrina America, as well as the Great Recession of 2008. I’m cautiously cautious about my fortunes in 2020.
I’m not going to lie. This is some scary shit if you sit around and think about it too long. So, let’s not do that. Let’s talk about beans!
Beans are a staple pantry food. At any time, we have about a half-dozen canned varieties in the house. Not green or wax, but cannellini, navy, kidney and black beans. Goya’s blue label cans are cheap and high quality, which hits two marks with me. Beans are taking a hit these days in Coronamerica, as the nutters stock up on everything out of survivalist fear like they were preparing for Y2K. And, if canned are a tough find, buy a bag and soak them overnight.
These are our favorite bean recipes from the golden days of Al Dente:
Pasta e Fagioli
An Italian-American classic ruined by the Olive Garden. It requires pasta, but use ditalini or wagon wheels. You can start this and let it stay warm all day, changing the smell in your dwelling from remote work desperation to delicious.
Sausage and White Beans
Hearty, filling and while it makes sense to use Italian sausage, you could probably get away with a decent pork sausage here in its place.
Brothy, Garlicky Beans
It might not keep coronavirus away, but it’s instant vampire protection. And, it’s meatless.
Greens & Beans
A Paventi family favorite that is (mostly) meatless, filling, scaleable and freezable.
Chickpea Stew with Saffron Yogurt & Garlic
I recognize that saffron isn’t cheap, but substitute safflower instead (it’s American-grown saffron). All of this should be easy to find in your local grocery store. And, it’s meatless.