Food & Drink » Glenda Bartosh on Food

Food and drink: Rock, stock ’n’ barrel

How to keep rockin’ when the food stops rollin’



Long gone are the rocks — and the intrepid rockers who partied on at the barbecue championships, the Logger Sports Show in Squamish and at the clubs and party houses that wouldn’t, couldn’t let a good pun down.

The boulders themselves that crashed from the flanks of Highway 99 last week have been blasted to smithereens and pushed into Howe Sound (how sound was that?). Now all that remains are the memories of inconvenience and panic in the face of shortages real and imagined. Yes, there were issues with missed flights and meetings and a lack of fuel supplies, but when it came to real food supplies, reaction outweighed reality.

“It was a real mental case — people thought they weren’t going to have food for five days,” commented one local grocery store cashier. But in fact, the food distributors’ trucks rolled on and on, with suppliers even bucking up loads of milk and bread and meat together to make sense of the 7- or 8-hour trip from Vancouver through Hope and Lillooet and up over the Duffey Lake Road.

Whistlerites are nothing if not intrepid — and ingenious — so now, in the calm of the aftermath, is the perfect time to consider what the heck you would do if the food stopped rollin’ in.

Given the long distance from our collective hunter/gatherer or even relatively recent pioneering past, we can barely imagine food that doesn’t come from a store shelf. Maybe James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, the originators of the 100-mile diet, come closest in recent memory when they ground 100-mile grain for their own flour to bake bread. But that’s a rarified exception. Most of us wouldn’t even know where to buy a hand-operated flour mill, let alone which is the business end.

So not to encourage stock-piling — lord knows we have enough of that in our shopaholic world — but to plant a seed or two in the brain-chambers of eaters everywhere, here are a few tips on food that might get you through an unexpected shortage:


All hail the biscotti

“Biscotti” means “baked twice,” originally from the French “biscuit,” also meaning “twice cooked.” Along the same dried lines, there are rusks from the Dutch, mandelbrot from Jews, zwieback from Germans, and biskota and paximadia from the Greeks — all made to last.

The idea of drying out biscuits so they’ll keep from getting stale or mouldy was a very good one in pre-IGA times when long journeys, war or simply an extended trip to fish on the Mediterranean without refrigeration or an Igloo cooler entailed using your imagination and some time-tested techniques to keep supplies edible and safe.