Avoiding Scurvy

In case you live under a rock–or in Hawaii and are blissfully unaware of other people’s weather conditions–you probably know that a good proportion of the United States has spent most of 2011 so far in blizzard conditions. New England, in particular, has been inundated with snow. The so-called blizzard which prevented me from visiting Brother-Dave and his family at the new year was nothing in comparison to what we’ve had since.

Last week, for example we had two days of snow in a row. Everybody knew they were coming, and that it was going to be a lot of snow, and we had already had a snowday or three under our belts, so by and large, all the places that were prone to shut down over weather did so pre-emptively. I was ready with two days’ worth of Work At Home, but what I had neglected to do was stock up on foodstuffs.

I actually did that before the first real storm, but we had already had three or four since then, and I hadn’t really replenished anything. I woke up that Tuesday morning realising that I was out of milk and that if I were to be stuck in the house for two days, I would be likely to drink lots of tea (not to mention my mandatory morning coffee), and that if I were going to be drinking lots of tea (and mandatory morning coffee), I would not sufficiently enjoy it if there were no milk to put in there.

After that I realised that I also had no vegetables.

Former-Roommate-Sarah’s parents have an organic farm, and I get a mini-share of vegetables from them. They drop it off at the church on Tuesdays and I take it home and have fresh organic veggies every week. The selection’s a little limited in the winter (they do import fruit and stuff from Florida), but still. It’s good for you. I’ve been getting these shares almost ever since I had cancer.

The problem, two Tuesdays ago, was that I had forgotten to take home my share the week before, and the blizzard had already started on the Tuesday in question, so even though the veggies would surely get dropped off, I was not going to get to them until after the blizzard was already over. Also, my parents and I had eaten up the frozen vegetables I had on hand, when they were here at Christmas. I started to think about scurvy.

As one does.

How long does it take to come down with scurvy? If I’m shut in my house for two days with nothing but bread and cheese and meat, I will be confirming my Northern European heritage, but . . . when will “suppurating wounds” start to develop? I decided that, before the snow got too bad, I had better do something about both the milk and the vegetable situation in the house.

Fortunately Kermit was already parked up near the street (because he couldn’t get in the garage–there was too much snow piled up), so I set out to the closest convenience store I could find. I’m not sure when it turned into a liquor store instead, but fortunately it had a cooler with milk tucked away into one corner. Unfortunately, there were no vegetables. Not even tinned ones. Unless you count B&M Baked Beans–which, for the purposes, I didn’t. Then I noticed, on the shelf below the milk, a bottle of cranberry juice. Well, I thought, it’s better than nothing I guess!

I picked up the milk and the juice, paid for them, and crept back home through the gradually increasing snow. Once I got back, I decided to see if I couldn’t get a little more creative about the presence of plant matter in my house. Besides the Christmas cactus, I mean. At first, before the cranberry juice, it looked like the only ingestible plant matter around was coffee, tea, and a bottle of wine. (“Oh,” said Brother-Dave on the phone, “So you’re all set then!”) But, as I poked around a little bit more, it turned out that I had a lot of some things. Primarily onions and turnips. Fortunately, no one was going to be around me for two whole days, besides Oscar, who doesn’t always smell that great himself. Onions, I could handle. Turnips? Are a little bit of a trial for me. (I can say this because Former-Roommate-Sarah admits the same thing herself.)

However, it turned out I also had some apples and some sweet potatoes, and a recipe for a turnip and sweet potato soup which called for all those things. I also found a falafel mix in my cupboard, so I could eat something besides turnip and sweet potato soup. I have no idea how long the box had been in that cupboard, nor do I suspect processed dessicated chickpeas really contain the nutrients necessary to combat scurvy but still, it had to be better than ham. And it still tasted pretty good. I also found some lettuce. It turned out that there really were enough vegetables around, more or less, to get through the two days of non-stop snow. Without scurvy.

Then on Saturday night we had an overnight fundraiser with 20 teenagers at Now Church, I came down with the flu, and have been Working At Home pretty much all week. So, I avoided one disease only to succumb to another. And this week? It barely even snowed.

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4 thoughts on “Avoiding Scurvy

  1. So glad you made it through the storm without getting scurvy. Sorry about the flu. Maybe stock up on Vitamin C next time, the pill form. I don’t think it will expire, but I’m not sure.

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