Stuff and Nonsense: April 2020


4.16.2020

Pandemic Groceries: Sardilli Produce & Dairy


Two Hartford-area wholesalers have begun selling boxes of produce, meat, and dairy to the public for contact-free curbside pickup and this is, frankly, a godsend for me. I don't enjoy grocery shopping at the best of times and now, constantly aware of other people's inability to properly social distance, it is one giant clusterfuck of anxiety and dread. I'd used Instacart a few times at the beginning of the pandemic and found the shoppers very efficient and professional, but the company treats them shabbily and, frankly, I don't want to be the reason someone becomes exposed to COVID-19. So, yes, when I heard wholesalers like Sardilli Produce and Dairy were offering curbside pickup, I signed right up.

Sardilli Produce and Dairy offers all fruit, all veg, mixed fruit and veg, dairy, and meat boxes. The contents of the boxes are listed on their website so, if you want, you can menu plan before you even get your box. The company seems on top of things and is quick to post when a box is no longer available or when the next opportunity to order for pickup will be.


When I arrived today to pick up my boxes (dairy and mixed), there were plenty of orange cones and (masked and gloved) staff to point me in the right direction. I pulled into the check-in area and, through my closed window, showed my order number to a (masked and gloved) staff member. Another (masked, gloved, and socially distanced) staff member put papers under a windshield wiper, denoting what I needed, and then I drove off to the trucks. There, more (masked, gloved, and socially distanced) staff loaded my trunk with boxes and I was on my way. The entire process was extremely efficient and fast, taking less than fifteen minutes.

It is safe to say I am hooked on this, having gone ahead and ordered a meat box for next week. If only Sardelli sold a bread, pasta, and rice box my pandemic life would be pretty okay. (Please don't tell me how I can make my own bread. I don't have an oven).


Lynn, you say, this is all very nice and informative, but what about the goods? Are they worth it? Yes, I say, yes. Everything is perfect, not a blemish or bruise to be found, and the dairy has best buy dates in May and beyond. Altogether there's enough stuff to feed as for two or three weeks and, aside from the iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes, the produce is all long-lasting stuff.

Here, have a list:

3 lbs Cara Cara Oranges
1 Bunch of Bananas
3 lbs Apples
1 package of Strawberries
1 head of Iceberg Lettuce
1 Package of Multi Color Cherry Tomatoes
2 lb Haricot Beans
3 lb Brussels Sprouts
2 lb Carrots
5 lb Sweet Potatoes
3 each Peppers (green, red & yellow)
1 Each Celery (bunch)
2 lb Onions
2 each Shallots
3 each Cippolini Onions

1 Half Gal 2% Milk (Mountain Dairy, CT)
1 Pint of ½ & ½ Cream (Mountain Dairy, CT)
2 Dozen Eggs Cage Free
1 Butter 1 lb Block (Cabot, VT)
1 Quart of Yogurt Fage Plain
1 52 oz Tropicana Orange Juice No Pulp
1 8 oz Block White Cheddar Cheese (Cabot, VT)
1 - 8 oz Shred Mozzarella (Cabot, VT)


From the boxes, I brought my dad a dozen eggs (plus a third of the brussels sprouts and green beans), because his local grocery store has been out of eggs for three weeks and, at nearly seventy, I don't want him shopping around when I (mostly healthy, probably) can fetch it for him.

4.10.2020

April Morning


It has been many years since I pulled an all-nighter, but last night we were up late, watching streaming things, and then I started listening to an audiobook while I did some work things, and the later it became, the more awake I was. At five, I decided it was simply too late/early to try to sleep so I fed the cat, took a shower, and left the house.

Neil's Donuts opens at six, you see. I know running out for donuts during a pandemic seems like the ultimate decadence ... and it probably is, but I make no apologies. Neil's doughnuts are the best doughnuts in Connecticut. I am going to do what I can to support them, because they are an institution and must not fail.


Also, Neil's Donuts (and its customers) is doing everything right. Staff were masked, gloved, and socially avoidant. Only five customers are allowed in the shop at a time and there are marks on the floor to tell you where to stand. The two customers ahead of me were properly socially avoidant and the entire purchase went smoothly, with nothing to tweak my anxieties.

Having acquired doughnuts, I stopped at Harbor Park for a slow walk along the riverfront. It was a beautiful, if chilly morning, and I had the entire park to myself. Of course, I took some photos. Then I went home, ate doughnuts, and did not go to bed.


The giant head is a concrete sculpture representing the Wangunk Indian Tribe, an indigenous people who lived along the banks of the Connecticut River in what is now central Connecticut, before the arrival of white people in the 1600s brought the epidemics, christianity, and violence which devastated so many of Connecticut's indigenous peoples.

4.06.2020

March 2020 Reads


The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
A fluffy, comfortingly predictable foodie romance. The descriptions of traditional Chinese cuisine and the community element in dining made me want to know more. Maggie and Sam's romance, delightfully free of melodrama and miscommunication, was a charming spin on friends-to-lovers.

Paladin's Grace by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) [kindle]
A charming, feel-good fantasy about a (literally) godless paladin and a perfumer who is anything but a damsel in distress. Lots of severed heads, reanimated corpses, and banter.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
A mixed-race single mother living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City accidentally encounters a Vietnamese American woman looking for a wife for her stubborn son and finds herself "trying him out" for the summer. Nuanced loved story that manages to deal with complex topics such as autism, immigration, and self-discovery in heartwarming, understanding way.