The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2022

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SEPT 2022 Issue
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The Interconnectedness of Making Ice

I will begin making ice any day now. After all, New Orleans and the region are approaching the most active part of hurricane season—August. The information begins flowing at the end of May, shortly after another season of spring festivals, which finally commenced this year with joyous participation.

I will begin making ice any day now. The oversize headline in today’s paper (July 27) was a direct message from the local power company. It announced Category Four … prepare for twenty-one days without power, and Category One up to seven days, and so on with two and three. I remember three and four very well. It was Zeta in 2020 and Ida, just west of New Orleans, in 2021. Both brought hurricane conditions to the city of New Orleans, resulting in a loss of power for an extended period.

Major storms are a part of nature. We are connected to nature and dependent on it, even as it occasionally disrupts by destroying the systems, the objects on the landscape and the relied upon conveniences, such as appliances.

I will begin making ice any day now. I grew up with the annual ritual of making and storing ice. I would fill plastic gallon jugs and other large containers and then find or make room in the freezer. Frozen food will last for three days. The addition of ice will make it last longer and is necessary for the refrigerator to extend the life of more perishable items.

But before I can make ice, enough ice to make a difference for several days, I must make room in the freezer. Storing ice is an economical approach in saving food stock and time in the immediate aftermath, when one is attending to needed repairs. The lines and the availability of ice create a tedious and often unrewarded situation due to emergency demand.

I will begin to make ice any day now. Not an easy task. I have an unintended accumulation. It will be an act of discovery and a diary of sorts. Containers of shrimp stock for etouffees or gumbo, roasted duck stock for gravy after sautéing wild duck breast, fresh okra from the country, whole figs from my tree for preserving later, Calamondin Spanish sour oranges for processing, Louisiana pecans, a quart of Dooky Chase Gumbo Z’Herbes from Holy Thursday, whole wheat pie crust, smoked pork Tasso from Lafayette, stale French bread for future pudding, crawfish tails and the unknowable.

While taking inventory I spotted a seasonal gift from a friend. A clean and ready-to-prepare wild goose.

When in doubt as to where to begin with thinning out the contents, begin with the goose. It is larger, takes up valuable room, and is rarely the feature on a summer menu.

I have prepared many things from the bounty of Louisiana. Some were and might still be considered exotic, such as grilled nutria, alligator sauce piquant, etc. But I do not remember preparing a wild goose. I realize that a holiday goose is not considered exotic, but it is my first foray.

So the activity of looking through my extensive cookbook collection, including wild game, and searching online was in order. After much more time than I wanted to devote I called a friend who was also the recipient of a wild goose, and who was as perplexed as myself. She did prepare the goose, but was not at all satisfied with the result. Another friend offered a recipe that was a days long process of defrosting, marinating for twenty-four hours, stuffing, and hours of cooking. I don’t mind losing myself in the process of cooking as a fruitful, healing, well-intentioned escape, and I can often predict the outcome using tried-and-true recipes, even with a bit of spontaneity.

So now the wild goose is currently defrosting in the refrigerator. Then it will be marinated as recommended, in a buttermilk bath for twenty hours to tone down the gaminess.

I now have room in the freezer to begin the process of making ice.


Elizabeth Shannon

Elizabeth Shannon is an artist. She lives in New Orleans.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2022

All Issues