Butternut and Barley Salad

I guess I should talk about it, right? I think I’ve been putting it off because I’m not sure how to say what I think I need to. And I’m not sure what I could say that everyone hasn’t already heard a million times this week. That Sandy, what a bitch.

Unless you’ve been living under a very large and soundproof rock, you’ve seen pictures of the devastation that Sandy wrought last week. Living in New York City, theoretically I was in the center of it. The pictures coming out of lower Manhattan and Hoboken and Staten Island and, maybe the worst, Breezy Point, are heart wrenching; heartwrenching and terrifying. And yet, here I sit, on the edge of Queens, with not a scratch, not one moment without power, not one drop of misplaced water, not one second without highspeed internet. I am so lucky.

If you’ve never had a city you love undergo a major catastrophe, you may not fully understand. For me, first there was New Orleans and Katrina. Once a vibrant, magical place, Katrina turned it into a ghost of it’s former self and from my apartment in New York City, my heart wept for what I still thought of as my home. Now, seven years later, I have a new home and yet another force of nature has made her bleed. And again, I can feel my heart break a little.

I don’t think this hurt is as bad as the first for me. I think this is because unlike the first time, I’m not stranded half-way across the country, helpless and numb while I watch the news reports. This time I’m in the thick of it; it’s my friends’ apartments underwater and without power. It’s all of us without gas. Yes, I’m a lucky one, but I’m neighbors with everyone who’s not. They’re part of my city and I, theirs. I know the tristate will be fine, but I doubt it will ever be the same. But that’s how life goes, I suppose. Forces bigger than yourself come along and shape your future, regardless of whether you’re a powerful city or a girl from Missouri. I keep learning this lesson, but I’m not sure that I’ll ever get used to it.

Butternut and Barley Salad

Oh, I’m supposed to be talking about food here? This salad was indeed hurricane food and it’s just as good as it looks with its pepitas and farmer’s cheese and lightly-pickled red onions. You should head over to Smitten Kitchen and make it exactly as she says (or, do as I did and sub barley for the farro and farmer’s cheese for the ricotta salata). I hear there’s a nor’easter on its way.


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