Hola, fellow isolateds!



Well, I assume that you are self-isolating. I imagine you are, as recommended by everyone in the universe.

So you are now in your not-so-happy hidey holes, waiting out the plague, as am I. And like everyone, we are gloomily viewing nasty possibilities of economic repercussions of the shut-down. Efforts are gathering steam here to prevent food deprivation among the projected needy. Our little town is not there yet – but the outlook is not pleasant. We feel it may be a while, so on a personal level we’re doing our part to beat the dreaded Covid19. And we hope you’re not scooting about sharing a cuppa or carelessly breaking bread or bending elbows with a group. You surely are taking care of yourself and others, wearing a mask, and washing…. washing… washing… those hands. Ooofff.


Denial isn’t going to work. But you have to swing your thoughts away towards the positive. Yes – how to act as if you’re having fun. And maybe have some fun… some delicious fun.


Like many who have hunkered down into safe hiding mode, I’ve followed my nose to the kitchen cabinets.  I’ve fingered my lush supply of aromatic spices, flipped the cookbooks open.  And happily, I came up with a mouth-watering diversion.


Forget calories – you get a pass on those today.



Powdered-sugar-dusted almond Mexican Wedding Cookies.

But we have taken liberties. These are generously enhanced with ginger and experimental CHINESE 5 SPICES.  We used almond and coconut flours so they’d be gluten free.  Ooooo they are spectacular.  I mean! (The original recipe lists wheat flour.)


The basics:

2 ¼ C Flour,

1 C softened butter,1/2 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

¾ C chopped pecans or other nuts you like. Almonds? Walnuts?


They have also been known in kitchens and the marketplace as Russian Tea Cakes and Pecan Sandies.


But even more – we also raised a loaf of cinnamon-topped gluten free bread. Red Mill flour mix found its way into my pantry at Christmastime. It got there via a thoughtful son-in-law; he never could imagine that just a few months later it would become an important diversion in a Covid19 escape. Today was the day to try it out. It’s a Good Thing, people.


Just hours ago my helpers and I held our breaths as we watched it slowly puff to the pan top, expanding in a most satisfying way… and exhaled when the timer dinged the ninety-minute baking time. It was golden brown, aromatic, and gorgeous.


Shuttered up in a Mexican lockdown, my little domestic staff and I have more than once giggled at our mistakes while rattling pans in the kitchen. In the past, I have turned to putting life adventures to paper. Now, the cocina, corazon de la casa, is where my muse has dragged me.


Necessity and my kitchen goddesses, Vita and Lorena, go well together. With the help of these face-masked ayudantes enthusiastically attending me with cloroxed shoes and frequently-washed hands, I have also jinked up this :


Make-do sweet and spicy pickle relish

(sorry Vlasik – we ran out)


Because cukes were at that moment unavailable- we made it with finely chopped:





  • Anything stiff you can find in your crisper drawer will do, mostly – but not lettuce.


The mystique of electric mixers and choppers whir well in the back streets of our Pueblo Magico. Quickly a mix of raw veggies got minced and plopped into a pot of simmering sugar water and apple vinegar. We rushed to toss in spices: cloves, mustard (as paste and or seeds) celery seeds, bits of garlic…and whiffs of other spices at hand. (Sniff the product and if you think it would do, sprinkle it in.)


Peering at the roiling brew, flaring noses and squinting through eye-watering vinegary fumes, we crossed fingers as it bubbled to readiness. It begged to be sampled, and we did. Mmmm…. Consensus? Mixed with a scoop of mayonnaise, it would make a nice tartar sauce.


Then the scramble to find little jars…Of course I hadn’t planned ahead. Heck -spontaneity is the ticket to hilarilty.


Such fun to make.


My muse is drooling.