Coping: Comfort Food, Asteroids, Puns

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we are set to get a thorough soaking over the next couple of days “up the hill” from the Houston hell hole.

When the weather turns bad, something I learned from living on a sailboat for more than a decade, is food never tastes so good as in stormy weather.

There’s something about being wet, cold, hungry and getting a good helping of hot “comfort food” that takes a piss-poor situation (or a piss-poured one) and turns it into an “that ain’t so bad” situation.

(Continues below)


It is too late for us to be offering advice on which Rocket Stove to buy – and besides, finding dry fuel can be a challenge.

But we have been fairly steadfast recommending that if you buy a gas BBQ that you get one with a side burner.

Elaine points out we didn’t use our side burner – ever.  But my workaround on that was to get a cast iron griddle to put on top of the regular gas BBQ.

You may wish to measure and make sure it will fit, but we have the Lodge LPGI3 Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle, 20-inch x 10.44-inch, Black and while it doesn’t get much use, I know that either Elaine or I could turn our bacon, eggs, hash browns,  and griddle toast should it come down to now power in the house.  Not cheap – figure $42’ish – but a good breakfast is the cornerstone.

Another prepping option – and I picked this up from my brother in law – a fair number of packets of instant flavored oatmeal.  A bit of Truvia, a splash and canned milk and we could pass on the heavier breakfast.

That will get us to noon.

Sandwiches are the universal fare here.  Keep a couple of those boneless (skinless, too, if you can find them) frozen turkey breasts in the freezer.  If the power goes, some brown and serve rolls and fresh-sliced hot turkey breast with a schmear of mayo will keep you going.  Especially with a one of those chicken “Cup-o-Noodles” packages per person.  Toss in a tablespoon of Smokehouse Almonds and chew with a handful of semi-sweet chocolate morsels and maybe a Constant Comment back of tea (chai tea works well too) and you’re set to work until late in the day.

Then comes dinner.  Bit family style one pot.

To feed a family?

Boil 2-3 gallons of water in a huge pot.  The kind you catch hell for buying when take-out is delivering, but a small canner size is ideal for this kind of emergency.

When you get the pot full of boiling water, toss in two pounds of noodles.  Anything handy.

We’ve used everything from flat Kosher egg noodles to our specially flown-in Rose Brand Chinese Egg Noodles from Rose Brand Products up in Seattle, to linguini, to thin or fat spaghetti, bow-ties, elbows…hell, anything pasta works.

Draining the noodles after they are slightly past done, add two cans of regular condensed cream of mushroom soup and two large cans of meat.  We like the organic canned chicken breast cans but about half the time we have tuna.  Albacore is good. Packed in water, not that oil stuff. Never tried diced Spam, but with a handful a frozen peas…who knows?

You will now season. (Season of the which?)

Our current palate is 8-12 shakes of Worcestershire sauce, a good teaspoon (heaped) of tarragon leaves ground fine, a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, and a heaping tablespoon or two, of a good mayonnaise.  I like Dukes, since the other brands don’t taste as rich and many have extra vinegar in their mayo (like a Miracle Whip) that just doesn’t work for me.  Three shakes for Cayenne for the brave.  Six shakes for Louisiana visitors.

Mash this around a fair bit.  Toss in some canned milk if too dry.  A handful of any grated cheese, if you have it.

Since this is an old fire-house special, it will feed two or three coast guard search and rescue workers (or rig workers), OR four hungry firemen, OR five policemen, OR six state patrolmen (or one supervisor, ahem), OR 12 ballerinas.

For dessert, something on the Barbie like sweet rolls topped with a can of apple, cherry, or peach pie filling.

Wash it all down with plenty of water, an aspirin or Tylenol from the unaccustomed workout, and remember, drinking a pint and a half of water will generally wake you up around dawn without an alarm clock.

If you need to be up earlier, drink more water.  Nature’s alarm clock. Native American’s didn’t need clocks or batteries.  Who’s the “advanced civilian” again?

Since these meals are fairly high in carbs, do the cleanup right away.  By the time the dishes are done, the carb – loading will kick in and you’ll be sleep walking for the last half hour.

You can adapt this to whatever’s handy.  In my various incarnations I’ve had everything from a simple red sauce (canned, diced tomatoes and some kind of meat) to store-bought spaghetti sauce (Newman’s Own, one Marinara and one Sockarooni sauce is pretty darn good) and whatever’s around for meat.  (Zeus the cat eyes me suspiciously…).

Say, that brings up a discussion of Urban Small Arms – which is what USA stands for, right?

The Art of Air Rifles

The other day while we were watching the front edge of Harvey coming down (Elaine and I were in the gravity loungers on the screen porch) I happened to have the 2-meter ham radio on and hooked up with a fellow whose initials were Toby.

As we got to chatting past weather and such, seems he and his wife were doing much the same thing we were – sitting out of the rain and watching it come down.

Except that they were plinking at one of those cast iron flip-over targets.

So I asked him how he liked his air gun, what it was, and so forth.

Turned out to be a Beeman Sportsman Model QB78-22 Air Rifle– which I had never heard of – so I went shopping on Amazon.  $120. Hmmm…

Our new goodie – with a case of CO2 cartridges and .22 pellets will arrive shortly.  So will the Red and Green Dot Sight Holographic Scope 1X40mm with 11-20mm Rail Mount for Airsoft which we hear will fit the Beeman.  Still, not a bad deal.  I’ll let you know on the sight mounting.

We’ve been using an old $29-dollar pump type for years.  the .177 pellet gun for pest control won’t kill a fly, but honestly, it has lousy groupings and by the time you take your eyes of the game (raccoons tearing up our screens) load, and pump,  the target is gone or already laughing.

If I get after ’em with one of the 9mm’s I figure I’ll rip the tree down with a hollow point…  There’s a balance to this stuff. I don’t like noise.

There are a couple of good reviews on the Beeman, including this one from Hard Air Magazine.

There’s a lot of game in the Outback that can be taken with an air gun and a little patience.  Sure, we could whip out the tactical shotgun, load up “rat shot” in the 9 MMs or the SKS…but seriously, who needs back to back 40 round magazines in the AK-47 to run off raccoons?  For emergency food gathering want to waste “reach out and touch” supplies? No way.

I don’t know if you remember in our earlier adventures at the ranch, but we did a “How many 12 gauge buckshot rounds to bring down a 3” pine report back in 2004, or thereabouts.  Worthless.  The shotgun tears up the wood so you end up with a 20-foot Q-Tip looking thing that is useless, so might as well saw from the git-go.

Got a rabbit problem starting on the “west 12”  Warrens everywhere and tearing up the pasture.

Our historian pro tem, Coy up the road, was telling us recently how “back in the day” there were actually rabbit drives in Texas and up through Kansas and Misery (still spelled Missouri by the slow to catch-on).

I was wondering “You mean fast like a SSD drive?”

I swear I heard him thinking “No, Jack Rabbit Drives like the ones up north of us:”

Oh, those kind.  The brer kind.

Been eyeing this problem in the same category as a good sling shot.

Oh, and speaking of which – have you seen one of these before?  Called the MoreFarther Superpower Stainless Hunting Slingshot Catapult (Kingkong Black) with Laser,4Pcs Replace Rubber Bands, 200Pcs Stainless Slingshots Ammo and sure it will run you $80-bucks, but the cool factor?  Why Q would be proud, James.

I would love to tell you more about Mr. Ure’s fairly good eye with slingshots.

Some of those “adventures” might involve windows and the prehistoric version of Clear Glass Marbles 1/2″ in Diameter 500 Per Package / 4.4 Lbs of Marbles.

Yes, back in the day, we knew that if you wiped down the marbles, and since they were glass which would break on impact with most windows…OMG, there’s an UrbanSurvival confession column starting and we don’t have all day to waste… how ’bout we don’t go there?

Are Houston employers going to dock people for taking time off to go camping with their families like this?  That would be the ‘Mercian way, wouldn’t it?  Insurance companies have monetized disaster, so why not everyone else?


Speaking of monetizing:

Why doesn’t eBay put up a special page so when people move back in, away, or whatever along the gulf coast when this Harvey deal is done, buyers of this and that (like you and me) can click Houston Recovery and give some spending preference to People who really need the help?

(And WTF am I coming up with this kind of obvious stuff for…how much are the PR goons making, anyway?  Fire half, give the dough to recovery…I might buy some shares…)

Write when you get rich,

21 thoughts on “Coping: Comfort Food, Asteroids, Puns”

  1. While I totally agree with your selection of ‘comfort food’ – can’t beat chicken w/mushroom soup, I’ve had family members who would have balked at the very thought of a ‘fungus’ as food. Although canned food is regarded by some as ‘old school’, there are still a wide variety of foodstuffs in cans – meat, vegetables, and fruit. Not only that, but some classic dried foods that don’t require refrigeration . . . even a poor cook such as myself can figure ‘something’ out – :).

  2. You might want to look into ordering some match grade heavy ammo for that airgun, most of the cheap stuff will give a horrendous group. A good scope (not the one that comes with it) helps also. I use a .22 cal airgun for woodchuck work around here out to 75 yards.

    • Did you ever find how how much wood they chucked? I mean if they could chuck wood, and all…

      • YES.. A woodchuck would chuck all the wood that a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

  3. They’re pretty expensive but have you looked into the high powered air guns that they have now? They’re not new. Louis and Clark took one along that totally mystified the natives due to its ability to fire multiple rounds. It was certainly a rife way, way ahead of its time. These new rifles are much more accurate, very quiet and throw a slug that is capable of taking a deer if you’re a good shot. You don’t need a suppressor when you put a .357 round downrange almost silently.

      • Ok, trying to type as fast as I could before I got out of the house yesterday. Thanks for the correction. I’ve just recently been able to keep falling afoul of the spell checker when typing out Loisiana. Louisiana. Got it.

  4. One of the tastiest meals I ever had was based on rabbit meat salad (made like the tuna type). My farm friends were experimenting at that time with raising rabbits for meat. Absolutely delicious, but I would have had difficulty killing the cute little fur balls.

    Anyway, if you round up or shoot your pests, be sure to use that tasty meat.

  5. Those ‘Cup-O-Soup’ ramen noodle quickies taste much better if one mixes in two or three packets of Coffee Mate, PLAIN, non-sweetened variety. Makes them fake your taste buds into thinking it is creamy chicken noodle soup. Works for me.

  6. George, regarding enjoyment of your lunch fare with a chicken, Cup O Soup, they are much tastier as creamy type soups. Since we are eating dehydrated, try adding a couple of scoops of powdered Coffee Mate-plain, non sweetened. Adds a bit of thickening and improves flavor a lot.

  7. Most boys of an earlier time used a simple .22 with CB or shorts for their quiet shooting around the house. The early .22 single shot rifles had long barrels and a CB is just a quiet as an airgun. Still works for me at 68.

  8. NPSS is the best, if you can find one. NPSS stands for Nitro Piston Short Stroke and is a gas-hybrid spring piston technology Crosman developed in about 2005, for making an extraordinarily quiet, hard-shooting air rifle. The NPSS was 100% made in USA, and marketed in both .177 and .22 as a Crosman, and also as a Remington, from ~2009-2012.

    In 2012 Crosman began manufacturing the piston in China and came out with a new designation, the NPS. That same year, Gamo licensed the Nitro Piston tech and began using the pistons in their higher-end rifles. For 2013, Crosman dropped Remington and began using the piston across their various brands (like Benjamin.)

    ALL air rifles, regardless of manufacture, which advertise “Nitro” or “NP” in their name or their features are now licensing/using the Crosman piston.

    The reason I specifically mentioned the US-manufacture of the NPSS piston is, in doing my research, the shooters reported typical quarter-dollar sized groups @ 30m/100ft with the NPSS, after break-in (typically 1000 rounds), versus >half-dollar sized groups with the NPS, and also that the NPS piston begins to weaken after 3000-5000 rounds, where the NPSS piston was within new spec after 20000 rounds.

    {Can you tell I researched this extensively, and over several months?}

    The NPSS is not an Olympic-caliber rifle, but did have near world-class performance. It also didn’t cost in the (many) thousands of dollars, like the elite competition air rifles, and it’s not fragile.

    It is also not easy to buy. The people who own them don’t sell them. I own two, a .177 and a .22. I bought the .22 off a gun forum in 2014 (I joined about a dozen gun-trading forums, specifically to acquire an NPSS) almost immediately after completing my research (and finding the rifles NLA, even though places like AZ-Guns and WalMart were still advertising them.) My .177 came off of eBay, after a 2+ year search. I wanted a .177 because it is supersonic using standard 7.4gr pellets (not a big deal today, with air rifles that throw .45cal and .50cal slugs) and I wanted the combination of velocity and longevity.

    Two things George: First, had I not been able to acquire an NPSS, I had a short list of Benjamin, Gamo, Umarex (Ruger & Browning) and RWS air rifles from which I was going to purchase, once certain price point parameters were met. For an exhaustive air gun research experience, visit

    Second, ALL the really experienced shooters tell folks to buy an “airgun-specific” scope. Recoil on modern air rifles is significant, and the recoil attack/decay pattern is SO DIFFERENT from that of a firearm that using your Leupold on a Gamo will destroy the scope in short order.

    p.s. When your Beeman arrives, have fun!

  9. Back in the day there were more “Rabbit” joints in SW Misery than there are Mickey D’s now.

  10. For a quick, easy, tasty lunch, you can hardly beat a can of assorted Progresso Soups. Add some cheese and crackers and you are all set.

  11. Ditto on using regular Coffee Mate to add a creamy overlay to other food staples. As a lactose-intolerant individual, I especially like it in my instant oatmeal. Just mix it in but let it sit for a minute or two to absorb.

    And if you have a problem with Cream of Mushroom, there’s also Cream of Chicken, Celery, Onion, Shrimp, Potato, Asparagus, Cheddar Cheese, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, and Campbell’s Liquid Shave Crea … Uh, ignore that last one; I think it’s a red herring.

    George, I wouldn’t mind that recommendation on Rocket Stoves, when you have room on the TO DO list.

  12. A cold comfort recipe for quantum leap follows. Chinese media entity “Global Times” has published a report of a successful quantum communication test as part of China’s plan to create the first military quantum communication network that will be wholly secure. The academic behind this test, Xianmin Jin, has previously featured at the globalists’ World Economic Forum in Davos. However, his faculty listing at The School of Physics and Astronomy on the Shanghai Jiao Tong University website is rather sparse. Save for an honorific mention as “Distinguished Researcher”, his picture frame and research interest description is blank.

  13. What were the weather folks thinking when they named a hurricane after a very large 6′ 3 1/2″, white pooka rabbit — known to cause nothing but trouble?

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