So here’s the thing: I know nothing about the weather. On Monday I was freaking out because I didn’t know which way the storm would go. Would it be a hurricane Irene repeat, or would we actually have a problem? I think the reason I was so hung up on Irene was that its the most familiar. I don’t know anything about hurricanes, I’ve never lived through one before. I had no idea what we were in for, so I downplayed the storm in my mind and I think am still a little bit shocked by what occurred.
We were lucky here in Park Slope. We have a few downed trees, but our area didn’t lose power or have any serious water damage. That meant that I could watch the devastation unfold on my tv and on social media. I saw all the pictures as they came in and watched the storm reporters lose their hats to the wind and wade through the rising tides. My friends in lower Manhattan lost power and signed off facebook for the night. I kept my phone plugged in the entire night on Monday, watching the lights flicker and waiting for my turn to be without power. We filled our bathtub, we held our breath, and we got very lucky.
Now we’re in the “aftermath.” We have no subway service, which is the worst part for me. I spend about a third of every day on the subway. I can’t get out of Brooklyn without it because apparently buses don’t run over the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridges (if anyone knows otherwise, please tell me). Also, since there is no train service, the streets are packed with cars. People in Brooklyn can’t get a car service to pick them up and my mom just called and said that it has taken her 3 hours to get into the city and she’s still not at work yet (this is a 45 minute drive). Since I do have power, the lack of transportation is the thing I am worried about the most, especially since the MTA is saying it could take as long as a week for any trains to come back. Ugh.
The one thing that the news reporters try and do in the “after” is compare the tragedy to a tragedy we all know well. Its almost like they are trying to get us to calibrate our emotions and understand just how sad we are supposed to feel. The tragedy everyone keeps tip-toeing around now is 9/11. I’m not a huge fan of anything being compared to 9/11 and frankly, if I can avoid feeling what I felt on that day, I prefer it. 9/11 was a cataclysmic event that shook New York to its core. The emotional impact was as large, if not larger than the physical impact. Its now 11 years later, and we are still recovering from the wounds of that day. Hurricane Sandy was a storm. The impact was felt differently across the city and I imagine the recovery will be very different for the city on the whole. Some people lost family members, or all of their belongings, or their house, or their car. Some of us lost nothing. For the media to compare Sandy to 9/11 disrespects the thousands of people who lost their lives on that day, the population of New York City who survived, and also the victims of Sandy. This is their tragedy. While I will help out in any way I can providing food, a place to stay, a shower, but I would never say that I understand what they are going through. Just like someone outside of the city could never understand what 9/11 was to those of us who were here that day. We should focus on this event and fixing the now.
Originally I thought this post would be detailing my adventures through the non-storm of 2012. I wish it could be. I’ll tell you about my cooking spree another time, but I’ll leave you with this recipe for pumpkin muffins today. I’m going to make these for my students because they are a favorite at work. Many of my students live in zone A (the evacuation zone) and were no doubt displaced by this storm. I haven’t seen them yet, but really hope to see them tomorrow. When I do, I want to give them something to make them smile and take away some of their stress, if even just for the time it takes them to eat the muffin.
In honor of Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen release party being cancelled (they say postponed, but I’ve looked at the tour schedule and I don’t know when she’ll have time to come back!) this recipe is taken from her site. I’m not fixin’ anything that ain’t broke!
Adapted from the American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.
Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.
Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.