I’ve been gone a while. It took us two days to pack up the Budget truck for the North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City, North Carolina. We packed 350 pounds of alligator sausage, 200 pounds of shrimp, stuff to make jambalaya and lobster macaroni and cheese. We had over a thousand crab mozzarella croquettes and the makings for lobster cakes. We had lobster bisque and seafood gumbo.
I barely ate all weekend. In fact I think I lost about four pounds. It’s hard work, these festivals.
Surrounded by food, and spilling shrimp juice on my legs, I didn’t feel like eating.
We got home late last night and went to bed right away. This morning I woke up with the dog in my face. She’s a little (no, a lot) pissed off we left her for so long. I gave her a shin bone from the freezer that “Uncle Steve” brought over he being a butcher and all. Belle loves Uncle Steve so I put the “babysitter” on the deck and tried to fall back to sleep.
Cliff left for work at 6 am. God Bless him. We’re both incredibly exhausted and psyched we didn’t fight. You see, he has his way of doing things and then there’s my way. Hmmm. Figure it out because I know you all have experienced what I won’t mention here.
My stomach is growling and I know there’s nothing to eat because we’ve been gone since Tuesday.
I open the refrigerator anyway.
I open the freezer. More Uncle Steves wrapped in brown butcher paper. A couple of pot pies. One ice cream sandwich.
Something long wrapped in aluminum foil.
A bag of Sabrett’s and burger patties leftover from the softball party.
I open the pantry and see cans of chicken broth, pork and beans and some Stove Top Stuffing (don’t say a word, cuz I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have to do everything from scratch).
A few cans of black olives.
Beans, pasta, tomatoes,
A box of Uncle Ben’s rice.
Nothing to eat. I look at the dog through the sliding glass door. She sure is enjoying that meaty bone. I don’t feel like getting out of my pajamas to go to the store. I have clothes in the laundry that smell like Seafood Festival.
If you’ve never worked a seafood festival, you wouldn’t understand.
Trust me, you don’t want to.
Beans, pasta, tomatoes. Chicken broth.
Chicken broth and ditalini. Simple. No onions. No celery. No carrots.
I can’t even have a bowl of Captain Crunch because there’s no milk.
I put on a pot of water and open a can of chicken broth.
I look in the pantry again.
I open a can of tomatoes.
And a can of white beans.
I add some spice.
That long thing in the freezer wrapped in foil? The other half of garlic bread I made two weeks ago.
On goes the oven.
The bread is crunchy and I’m on my second bowl of cheating pasta fagioli.
If you ever find yourself without something to eat, look in your pantry. I’m sure you’ll find something truly delicious in there if you look hard enough. This should also influence your next trip to the grocery store. The beans were 79 cents. The can of tomatoes on sale for 59 cents. The broth was two for a dollar. Pasta on sale 4 for 5 bucks.
I didn’t share, but I could have.
Pantry Pasta Fagioli (pasta and bean soup)
2 cans chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. oregano
1 beef bouillon cube
½ tsp. chopped garlic
Pinch herbs de Provence
¼ lb ditalini pasta
Cook pasta according to package. Rinse in cold water and set aside. Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add pasta and simmer for 10 more minutes, longer if you like your soup thick. I like mine brothy. And I add more black pepper after.