Make a Masked Meal that Sucks

This recipe collection is a thought experiment.

What would a Thanksgiving meal look like if you never took off your mask?

There is “no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts to watch our distance, wash our hands and, most importantly, wear a mask.” Dr. Henry Walke, CDC COVID-19 Incident Manager

For Thanksgiving 2021, my family is going with the Zoom version. No masks are required with this plan!


A Masked Meal Would Look Like

Masks with flaps and liquified … everything. Below is a combination of suck-worthy recipes along with edible straw pairings.

Masks with Flaps

Eco-Friendly, Edible Straws

Make edible straws to match your meal course. Example: Beacon straw with soup, cookie straw for desserts or candy straw with Loaded Punch.

*Modification for the cookie straw (to serve with vegetable courses) – leave out sugar and vanilla.

Liquified Meal Recipes

Once your meal course is complete as the directions indicate, add the last step of throwing everything in a blender. Blend until it’s smooth enough to make it through a straw.

Photo Credit: Peggy Greene


Photo Credit: Peggy Greene

Beverages

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Candy or Cookie

Loaded Cranberry Citrus Punch

1/4 cup cranberry juice
Juice & zest of one lime or lemon
4 oz lt. rum
2 oz. vodka
1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups ice cubes (if using frozen cranberries) or 1 cup water (if using fresh cranberries)

Optional

1 tsp. white sugar, if you wish to rim your edible straw with it. (Dip straw tip into water, then into sugar.)


Hot Apple Cider Punch


Vegetables

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Cookie, without the sugar or vanilla

Baked Sweet Potato with Lemon Roux

Carrot Soup

Cucumbers and Cream

Leek and Potato Soup

Tangy Rosemary Butternut Squash Soup


Main Course – Meat & Veg Options

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Cookie, without the sugar or vanilla or Beacon

Any Culture Shredded Chicken Soup

Black Bean & Tomato Sauce – Rewilding Chili

Luscious Liquified Ham & Bean Soup. Photo Credit: Peggy Greene

Raw Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese

Sauteed Onions and Chia Seeds over Butternut Squash

Three-Meat Giant Meatball Soup


Desserts

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Cookie, Candy, or Chocolate with sprinkles

Kiwi Fruit Pie Modify this recipe by leaving out corn starch, cooked kiwis, and pie shell.

Pumpkin Pudding (don’t refrigerate, so it is straw suck-upable)

Rose Peach Soup or Pudding (don’t refrigerate so it stays liquid)

Get your blender motor running! If you have blender recipes you’d like to share, send it along with a creative straw photo (if you have one) and I’ll add them here (through November 30th, 2020).

Humor and Foreboding

A meal that sucks says it all. Twenty-twenty was a sucky year!

While it was entertaining to re-imagine how a traditional shared Thanksgiving meal might look during COVID times, I’m already cringing at the headlines that will begin around December 12th. For the COVID spread, the suffering caused by a medical system unable to care for the sick, and for the friends and family members who will be lost, my heart is constricting with sadness, and tissues are filling with tears.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip Dick, from Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire

References & Resources:

This is A Year to Do a Zoom Thanksgiving – Possible Medical System Overwhelm

NBC – Crowds Seen at O’Hare as Travelers Depart Chicago Ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday

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Social Distance Podcast – Katherine Wells podcaster for The Atlantic & James Hamblin Preventative Medicine Physician and journalist – How to Cancel Thanksgiving (Because You Should)

Risk Assessment Map, updated regularly, calculates the odds of encountering infectious people. Enter your group size and location.

Example: In Nevada County today, for a group of 10 there’s a 1 in 7 chance of an infectious person being part of my group. If I lived in South Dakota, there’s a 7 out of 10 chance of an infectious person being part of my group. (The safest way to think about group interactions is to assume everyone is infected, including yourself, even though people aren’t acting sick.)

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https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/

Bubble & Virus Exposure Visualization

Overlap sections show were exposure can occur that infect everyone in the large bubble.

Event Organizers have a Community Responsibility

Back in spring 2020, for a work function, I organized a gathering of ten people from four households. Once we’d gone beyond selecting the date and equipment needs, I realized COVID community responsibility was a factor that needed its own detailed plan.

As the hostess, it was my responsibility to keep everyone safe, informed, and ensure that we didn’t increase the community caseload.

Our activity was outside, with greater than six feet distance between families. Masks were on consistently, except for when we were drinking water, and we did not share food. Back then, active cases in my county were low. Hospital ICU bed capacity wasn’t a concern and we weren’t worried about sick people, exposed from our event, being unable to access emergency medical care three weeks in the future.

The following section and the PDF you can print-out and fill-in for your event are what I created to reduce gathering risks. It includes contact tracing elements that are part of the John Hopkins Contact Tracing online course.

Minimize Social Awkwardness with a COVID Behavior Plan

Before people come together, outline a detailed movement and behavior plan. Send it to each household. Request a response so you, and everyone else can verify universal understanding and agreement.

Include a contingency for the unknown. If there’s a major change, if an attendee isn’t behaving as agreed, or something unexpected happens, create a word or hand signal anyone can use to pause the action.

Assess what needs to happen next, ask attendees if they are comfortable with the change. Make an easy, guilt-free out if someone becomes uncomfortable or feels unsafe.

SARS-CoV-2 Gathering Plan Outline PDF

The host or hostess should remain in contact with attendees, checking for symptoms for fourteen days after the gathering. If anyone becomes sick, the host or hostess should notify other bubble contacts of an exposure and make gathering information available to County Health Department contact tracers.

Rose Peach Pudding

This is a Ch’ing Dynasty (1636 – 1912) court recipe.

3 tblsp. Sugar

2 tblsp corn starch

1 cup water

1 tblsp. Butter

10 oz. Bag of frozen peaches (thawed) or ½ lb.. fresh, peeled, seeded and mashed

½ to 1 tsp. Rose water

In a pot, combine dry ingredients and water. Whisk while stirring and bringing to a boil.

Remove from heat thoroughly blend peaches into thick mixture. Add ½ tsp.  then taste. Stop there if you like the flavor. Incrementally add more until satisfied.

Serve warm or cold.

Background:

A Japanese Princess related by marriage to the imperial Chinese family compiled a collection of court recipes during a time of great sorrow and grief. (Death of a daughter and her husband and brother being held in China as political prisoners.) Peach Soup is one recipe from the collection in the book Court Dishes of China, Su Ching (Lucille Davis).

No-Bake Pumpkin Pudding

*Before starting, taste test pumpkin pie filling. If spices are too strong, use plain canned pumpkin and add your own cinnamon, ginger, and cloves at the end.

1 pint half and half

1/2 cup water + unflavored gelatine

1 can pumpkin pie filling

1/4 cup (or to taste) maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla

In ½ cup, room temperature, water add 2 tbsp unflavored gelatine. Stir with fork to break up clumps. Let sit till firm. (If not firm after a few minutes, add more gelatine and stir again.)  If it holds in place when held at a 90 degree angle, it’s firm enough.

In a pot, over medium heat, add half and half (whipping cream will also work). When it starts to bubble, add geletin, whisking constantly for about 1 minute.

Add pumpkin pie filling, continue whisking for another minute. Remove from heat, add vanilla and syrup. Pour through a strainer into small dessert cups.

Refrigerate over night.

Kiwi Pie

Photo Credit: Shirley Dickard

Kiwifruit Pie

Begin with a pie shell.

Filling:
1 pkg. 8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tblsp. orange juice
2 tblsp. cream
3 cups kiwifruit (sliced thin)
Layer this, a little difficult, but works out okay
Put in refrigerator to cool.
Glaze – add green coloring (optional)
3 cups sliced kiwis, mash.
2 tblsp. cornstarch in a little cool water
1 cup sugar
Mash kiwis, put in kettle to heat, it will make own juice.
After cooked a little, add sugar, cook a little more, add cornstarch
mix quickly
It will thicken.
Cool
Put over pie.
Cool
Serve with whipped cream

Guest Post by Shirley Dickard, Author of Heart Wood
“We made the kiwi pie to celebrate our daughter’s January 1st birthday. It was yummy and such an unusual dessert. It wasn’t too sweet, which suited everyone after a long Christmas holiday. **I used a gram-cracker crust, which gave it sort of a key-lime pie taste.” – Shirley Dickard

Photo Credit: Shirley Dickard

 

Stuffed Baked Apple (Individual)

Individual apple pies!

STEP ONE: Prepare Apple Stuffing

Simmer

1 bag of fresh cranberries with 

½ cup raisins

¼ cup chopped pecans (or other nuts)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

Cook until berries burst and most liquid is absorbed.

Add ¼ tsp cinnamon

And 5 crumbled gingersnap cookies & mix thoroughly (reserve enough cookies for the base of your apples)

STEP TWO: Prepare Apples

Place 5 gingersnap cookies in a baking pan.

Cut the center out of 5 apples

 

Place coreless apples on top of cookies.

STEP THREE: Stuff & Bake Apples

Take 5 tablespoons of cranberry stuffing, place in a separate bowl.

Add 2 or 3 eggs.

Mix thoroughly. Fill apple holes with stuffing.

Place a small slice of butter on top of the apple.

 

Cook at 350° for one hour

Remaining apple stuffing is a great addition to morning oatmeal or with yogurt or cottage cheese!

 

*If you tried this and liked it…AND concocted your own apple stuffing, please revisit to tell us about it.

Apple Pudding

Pudding with a bread-like density and texture.

Original recipe:

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts
6 tblsp. flour
salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
stir & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

 

Lisa’s blender adaptation:

3 small apples, chunked
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup nuts (cashew, almond, pistachio trail mix)
12 tbslp. flour
1 tsp. baking power
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
blend & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

Corn Fritters – Mary Schmidt Schwaller

mary

“I only eat Corn Fritters with butter and syrup – simple and delicious.” Mary Schmidt Schwaller, niece of Betty Wrysinski

This recipe for Corn Fritters came from the 1949 edition of Joy of Cooking. (My mom wrote it out by hand for me as part of a wedding shower gift.)

1 cup cooked green corn or canned corn.

Drain and mash with a potato masher.

Beat until light and add:

2 eggs

Add:

6 tblsp. flour

1/2 tsp. any baking powder

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Melt in a small skillet:

2 tblsp. butter

When it is very hot, add the batter by the tablespoonful. Permit the bottom of the cakes to brown, reverse them and brown the other side.

 

In the Joy of Cooking, the recipe begins with this story.  My mom used to read to me.

When I was a child, one of eight, my father frequently promised us a marvelous treat. He, being an amateur horticulturist and arborculturist, would tell us of a fritter tree he was going to plant on the banks of a small lake filled with molasses, maple syrup or honey, to be located in our back yard. When one of our children felt the urge for the most delectable repast, all we had to do was to shake the tree, the fritters would drop into the lake and we could fish them  out and  eat fritters to our hearts’ content.

My mother was a good cook and a good helpmate, so she developed the fritter that was to grow on and fall from the tree into the lake of molasses or maple syrup or honey, as the case might be. Mr. William N. Matthews.

Joy of Cooking, 1949 excerpt, reprinted with publisher permission.

 

Guest Post by Mary Schmidt Schwaller

bud-and-ginger

Adrian (Bud) and Virginia (Ginger) Windus Schmidt

While researching genealogy, I found Lisa’s Shared Tastes blog. It had pictures of my Aunt Betty as well as some of her recipes.  It was clear that she left her mark on her family. I wish I had known her.  We both entered apple pies in contests.  She won first place, I won second.

bud-and-ginger2

Adrian (Bud) and Virginia (Ginger) Schmidt on their wedding day. (Mary Schmidt Schwaller’s parents.)

There is a picture of a birthday celebration; the meal was pork roast and sauerkraut.  My dad Adrian, Betty’s younger brother, loved that meal.  He used to say, “If I die today, I will die a happy man,” after eating it.  This tradition lives on in Park Falls as this meal is served at most restaurants for “Sunday supper.”

We didn’t have much money so my parents had to be inventive when trying to create special treats.   I clearly remember Sunday evening Disney movies on the TV and the dining room table full of homemade deep fried potato chips and French fries.   The recipe would be as you would expect, fresh potatoes, boiling oil, and lots of salt.

I was asked to share a Wisconsin Schmidt recipe.  Every recipe I considered was already there from Grandma Betty.  Potato dumplings, casseroles, pork roast, etc.

Through the blog, I was able to connect with my California family.  I have gotten to know my cousin Mary and was lucky enough to meet my cousin Peggy in October, 2016.  It is odd how similar our lives have been even though we lived so far apart.

 

__________________

Lisa’s Notes about Names:

I asked my Aunt Mary (family historian) to help sort out the names for this post. Her response clarified why the confusion exists:

“Bud equals Adrian.  Betty equals Elisabeth.  Josie equals Joanne.  Stanley equals Gus.”

“I asked Uncle Bud (Adrian Schmidt) once if anyone was ever called by their given name.  He said the German community in Park Falls had nicknames for a lot of people.  Below is part of an article he wrote for 100 Years on the Flambeau, a local history book about the Price County area in upper Wisconsin.  Apparently nicknames were a tradition.”

uncle-bud-article

 

 

 

 

 

Group Cooking Challenge – Mock ‘Chopped’

Here’s how to organize a group cooking challenge in your kitchen. (Roughly based on the TV show ‘Chopped.’)

Goal: Create a social experience, experiment, learn something new, and have fun!

Mystery Items:

Each participant brings 3-5 strange, unusual, foreign, untried, or previously unknown food items.

At the beginning, the challenge master collects these, groups them, and distributes them evenly among the chefs.

‘Rule’ Guidelines:

We decided not to attempt timed rounds. (Too much pressure!)

As a group, open and taste all the ingredients.

Everything in the kitchen pantry, spice cupboards, and refrigerator / freezer is available for use. (Or clearly define off-limits areas.)

If someone is stumped about what to prepare, everyone helps to brainstorm until they have a direction.

At the conclusion, everyone shares the meal.

Judging (if desired) can be accomplished by an individual, with a panel, or as group.

 

Ideas for Group Kitchen Challenge Themes:

All organic

Appetizers

Breakfast foods

Egg based

Ethnic cooking

Foodie specialists

Foods of color – purple, orange, green, etc.

For people around the age of ten (scrambles, healthy snacks, smoothies)

For people over twenty-one (food and beverage / wine pairings)

Movie / game night foods

Pasta & toppings

Picnic fare

Salads

Soups – freezer container portioned for make-ahead meals

Vegetarian

Wraps

 

__________________

 

 

Kettle Corn

1 cup popcorn

1 cup sugar

1 cup coconut oil (with 2 tblsp. ghee)

Add oil to pan +  three unpopped popcorn kernels. Turn heat to medium.

Once the three kernels have popped, add all other ingredients to the pan.

Slide the pan around to mix sugar with the oil. Continue sliding the pan until finished.

Remove from heat right before the peak the popping.

popcorn-755303_1920

 

Very Berry Cordial

Verry Cordial1 tblsp. dried rose hips – crushed
10 oz. bag frozen blackberries – thawed
1 tblsp. dried gogi berries – crushed
4 tblsp. dried currants
6 oz. fresh raspberries
3 oz. fresh blueberries
1 large double sized basket of fresh strawberries
10 oz. fresh cherries

Wash fresh fruit.

Place all ingredients into a 1-gallon glass jar.

Cover fruit with brandy.

Let sit, in a cool, dark place for at least 1 month. (For this batch, I let the concoction sit for 2 months.)

Check it periodically and add more brandy as needed to keep the fruit submerged.

After the waiting period, pour the contents of the jar through a cheesecloth that is several layers thick. (I fold the cloth two or three times and secure it over a large measuring cup with a rubber-band. The goal is to strain out all of the solids.)

Carefully and gently squeeze the fruit within the cloth to get as much of the liquid out as possible.

Once you have the liquid strained, measure how much you have.  Divide that number in half. This is how much sweetener you will add…give or take.

I had a little over 8 cups of decanted liquid.

I added 5 cups of honey – but could have added one more cup if I wanted it just a little bit sweeter.  Taste test for sweetness levels.

The final step is to add 40 drops of food-grade lemon essential oil. Taste test for desired result.

 

Cordials made with fresh fruit should last for up to a year. The high alcohol content acts as a preserver.

Enjoy and Toast to your good health and happy taste buds!

 

A Missed Onesalzburg-708762_640

We happened upon the shop in Salzburg toward the end of the day.

“Look!” We said, seeing the silly crow figures in the window. It was the same artist who had several pieces hanging in the apartment where we were staying.

We entered and chatted with Michael Ferner for a while. After telling us a few background stories about his art, the conversation led to his newest project – partnering with a local brewer to create a drink that features one of his fanciful crows on the label.

We bought several tiny sample bottles and a few small pieces of his work.

Back at our apartment, we cracked open one of the bottles to sample it. It was like drinking a bite of pie! It burst with sweet, fruity flavors and was highlighted by hints of lemon.

The train that we had to catch the following day was scheduled to leave early – before the shops would open. Thinking fast, my travel partner jogged several blocks back to Michael’s shop to buy a much larger bottle of the special drink.

I regretted not doing the same. Especially later, when I found out how much overseas shipping charges were going to be!

Fortunately, I was able to turn to one of my favorite food preparation staples. The Herbal Kitchen, Kami McBride

By following Kami’s basic cordial preparation instructions and using the fruits that I thought would work, I was able to get very close to that delicious flavor that I remembered.

**The amount of honey and the addition of lemon essential oil at the end makes all the difference.

Best of all, there is still enough time to make another batch before Christmas!