I cried in front of Bob, of Red Mill fame, yesterday.
Bob was at the Berkeley Bowl, the second greatest grocery store chain of all time. Team Red Mill was passing out little coupon cards for bags of flour and grain and whatever the hell else Bob gets up to down at the ol' mill. Bob's shit is expensive, and the coupons they were giving out made the products like 50 cents or something. I don't know because I was crying about whatever was the last thing I read about the coming demise of American democracy.
It might have been the refugee ban or the border wall, it might have been Trump's entirely false claims about voter fraud, it might have been his plans to launch some kind of Gestapo Weekly, a regular compilation of what the administration will claim are crimes committed by immigrants.
I remember standing there staring at Bob's wall of flour, and a woman is trying to hand me a coupon asking me if I want to meet Bob, and I'm just, the government is preparing to publish bald propaganda intended to foment the kind of fear and resentment the Trump administration needs to convince the Good, Real Americans that the camps—we're calling them "detention centers" nowadays, I guess—will Keep Us Safe and can you not with the fucking flour coupon, lady.
I kept telling her I didn't want the coupon, and she kept telling me how cheap it would make the flour, and I kept telling her I didn't want the coupon, and I could barely see through my swimming eyelids because I was trying not to cry at her but finally I just took the fucking coupon and here comes Bob, in his red vest or maybe it was a jacket, looking at me and the other people in the aisle, all of us holding our coupons, like what a beautiful sight it was to see a bunch of people giving a shit about how much his flour costs.
There will be journalists and data nerds who will help Trump compile the Gestapo Weekly and they'll think it's an interesting project and hey, if you can't beat them, join them. They'll have nice degrees from good schools and they'll be excited about Making America Safe Again. They will be repulsive, disgusting people and they will feel OK about it.
I did not buy any of Bob's flour.
I did find the Berkeley Bowl's amazing bargain closet (it's a real closet, I'm serious), where the store puts the sort-of-on-the-outs produce for sale at a deep discount. I bought about 80 pounds of almost-too-squishy, ugly tomatoes for $2. Tomatoes are my favorite things, and I love the almost-too-squishy, ugly tomatoes. They deserve just as much love and care as the pretty tomatoes.
I figured I would make some marinara sauce with them, because what else do you do with 80 pounds of fresh tomatoes?
Well, it turns out that what you do with 80 pounds of almost-too-squishy, ugly fresh tomatoes is make soup because you don't actually know how to cook fresh tomatoes, and you didn't bother looking up a recipe for fresh tomato marinara sauce because you overestimated your own cooking prowess.
If you can't beat them, don't join them. If you can't beat them, make some fucking soup.
fuckload of tomatoes, quartered. Truly, I don't know how many tomatoes I used for this recipe. I would say probably 12 good-sized tomatoes. Who's counting tomatoes while Donald Trump destroys our country on Twitter? Not this lady.
cup of white wine
some water, I guess
orzo or some other little piddly-ass pasta
half a cup of fresh basil, julienned
quarter cup of fresh oregano, chopped
half an onion
8 tablespoons of butter (that is not a typo, and don't fucking make some bullshit light version of this recipe without 8 tablespoons of butter, or if you do, don't fucking tell me about it)
Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a big-ass dutch oven on medium, and when it gets hot, put in all your tomatoes. Take turns letting some of them get kind of browned on the bottom of the pan. When they're all a little mushy (eight minutes? I don't know, I was thinking about all the asshole political journalist bros I know who would totally go work for Gestapo Weekly), pour in your white wine and scrape up the bottom frondy bits. Burn off the alcohol and pour in enough water to about three-quarters or half fill up to the level of tomatoes. I use already boiling water from the kettle for this because I hate waiting for shit to boil. Bring the business to a barely boil, you don't want to assault your tomatoes.
Add eight tablespoons of butter and half an onion. Don't chop up the onion, you're gonna take it out later. (If this sounds sort of Marcella Hazan-esque to you, that's because it is.) Keep the pot hot enough to pretty severely simmer but not so hot your tomatoes burn, and cook for 45 minutes.
At this point, I am guessing you will have an orange soupy thing. I don't know for sure, because this is Whoops It's Soup, not This Is Definitely Fucking Soup. If it's soupy, cool. Take the onion out, throw in your basil and oregano, and use a hand blender to smooth out the texture. Put the onion back in, and toss in some orzo, like half a box of orzo, which is probably eight ounces of orzo, maybe. This will thicken your soup right the fuck up. Cook until the orzo is al dente, and serve. I added some sauteed hot Italian sausage and garlic and topped with grated parmesan, because life's little pleasures are swiftly dwindling away, much like our freedoms.
I like to eat the onion separately myself, but you can throw it away if you want. Live your life, eat an onion or not, just don't go write for Gestapo Weekly.
Resistance Kitchen is a blog about food, rage and politics at resistancekitchen.tumblr.com. Andrea Grimes is a journalist for hire, Bloody Mary expert and Texpat living in the Bay Area.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Resistance Kitchen"