Storm cellar curry


On Monday night, Toronto had its ass properly kicked by a gang of vicious, snarly weather gods. At about 4:30-5pm I looked up from whatever it was I was doing (it was so compelling that I have no idea, 48 hours later, what it was) because it had incredibly quickly become as dark as midnight outside. No rain or thunder or lightening yet–that would come, dealing destruction, soon–but it was clearly trouble.

I immediately contacted my husband and forbade him to ride his bicycle home. I then took this low-res but, I think, very evocative photo from the safety of my front door:


After that, of course, I took to Twitter and joined the chorus of the worried, the fascinated, the drenched, the stranded, and the both literally and figuratively powerless.

My husband and I were crazy lucky. He got home on transit before things went really haywire–although the most badly affected parts of the transit system aren’t in our neighbourhood anyway. And while our power did flicker and threaten quite a bit, we didn’t end up going without. Given that 300,000 people in the city lost power–including, literally, all but two of our friends–we were unfairly lucky. One friend had to walk down 64 flights of steps to leave her place of employment; another took something like 3 hours to walk home from his gym (normally a 15-minute streetcar right or a 45-minute walk). Our Basement of Bad Dreams flooded a little, but not so much that the drain couldn’t handle it.

Just stupidly lucky–in part because I got to make dinner. My powerless friends were generally confined, once they got home, to weeping quietly while dining in the dark on once cold milk and cereal. The dinner I made was a limited sort of dinner because getting to the grocery store never happened. It was one of those dinners tossed together from all the limp scraps left in the fridge combined with any and all available pantry items. But it was like the food you eat while camping: more delicious than physics, or any other science, can possibly account for. Here’s what it comprised:

storm dinnerI called it storm cellar curry because while I was cooking, I was thinking long and hard about the beginning of The Wizard of Oz and what I’d do if my house got really battered and I woke up wearing ruby slippers and conversing with weepy lions.

Chickpeas, kale, collards, garlic, coconut milk, onions, carrots, celery, red curry paste, salt, lime juice–all over brown rice. (I threw in some small green peas at the last moment, because I didn’t think this meal was green enough; also, I’m in a terrible loop with the frozen peas. I keep using them, when I shouldn’t, in order to get rid of them…but then, because I’m apparently insane, I buy more. And the terrible cycle begins again.)

The storm cellar curry was pretty good, but not flavourful enough. (I think I’m ready to take my curry paste to coconut milk ratio to the next level. This is an incredibly exciting epoch in my culinary journey.)

We also enjoyed the world’s most pathetic salad as a side; each plate featured approximately six leaves of spinach and 2 tablespoons each of red pepper, cucumber, and radish. I admit it made me a little fearful of devolving back into the horrid salads of my childhood. But I was so engrossed in looking at photos of the storm on the internet, not to mention just a wee bit hysterical, that the tiny-salad didn’t hurt and shame me as much as it could have.

Speaking of photos on the internet, here are the best collections that I’ve found chronicling Monday’s shitstorm. They’re all from blogTO, of course:

There’s a lot going on in those photos…but when I saw my first pic of flooding inside buses, I knew we were experiencing something entirely new to me, and even worse than I’d imagined.

The cats totally didn’t give a shit of course; they just washed their fat faces and continued being smug and happy.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I am not sure what is going on. It looks like the north is stealing all of Texas’ angry storms and tornadoes. I received a text from a close friend in Cleveland today. She told me she was bunkered down in the basement because of tornadoes. The local river was flooding too. I don’t recall any of that growing up. Here in Texas, I can’t remember when it last rained. I think the weather is broken.

    1. Colleen says:

      I think you’re right and that the weather is, indeed, broken. A lot of the flooding here is the result of development and the constant re-routing and blocking off of myriad rivers and tributaries that used to make sure all this stuff ended up in Lake Ontario. Now, there’s just nowhere for any of to go except into our basements and all over the roads. Also, urban planners weren’t thinking and built major highways directly next to massive rivers that tend to burst their banks anyway.

      I hope your friend in Cleveland made it through alright!

  2. Alex says:

    So glad you’re safe. The pictures made it over here and The Bears were very worried about you. We have (unfortunately) had to get used to flash floods here in the UK over the past few years. I even got caught up in a tornado and the floods that surround that. But what you experienced was really awful.

    1. Colleen says:

      A tornado! My god, woman; don’t be so cavalier. :p

      Thank the sweet bears for their concern. We really did come through it well; it was just an incredibly interesting obsession for a brief time; others really had their lives disrupted. Luckily no one died; the last time we had anything remotely like this, a guy died trying to save his dog who got swept away by a bursting river.

  3. Seems to be changes in weather patterns everywhere, usually here we don’t see rain for all of July and August and in the last week we keep getting what feel like tropical rainfalls in the late afternoon. I am sure there is a meteorological explanation, it just all feels very unpredictable, who knows what the day might bring. I hope everyone in Toronto is recovering ok.

    1. Colleen says:

      It does feel really unpredictable, I agree. We had more rain in *one hour* on Monday than we normally get for all of July!!

      Where are you anyway? I’m trying to imagine a place that gets no rain at all in the summer and I’m drawing a blank!

      1. Aix en Provence in the south of France, just inland a little from Marseille and there’s something about the weather pattern here that means it rarely rains, but this last year has been very untypical.

  4. Stefanie says:

    I heard about your deluge and was wondering how you came out. Glad all is well!

    1. Colleen says:

      Very well, thanks! I always wonder what happens to people’s gardens with so much rain….has anything like this happened since you began gardening?

      1. Stefanie says:

        We’ve never had quite that much rain at once so I can’t say. We had a long rainy and cool spring and I can tell you I will be lucky if I get even one tomato. And the bell pepper plants are stunted and haven’t even flowered. We have sandy soil in my garden so, good drainage. I know other people who have clay and this spring killed many of their plants because they got waterlogged.

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