The Greatest Feat

It’s awesome when folks band together to affect a positive outcome. For you non-Californians, let me relate the events which recently led up to a very positive outcome for our state.

In early September the weather report warned that temperatures throughout the state were to rise to outrageously high numbers (here in Glen Ellen our temperature got to near 110 degrees). That was followed by an emergency cell-phone alert, asking Californians to cut their electrical use between 6 and 9 pm that night.

Yes, I was confused as to why we were to cut the usage in the evening – when the temperatures would start to fall. La duh. It turns out that California has enough solar panels feeding electricity into the grid to keep things going during the day. But come evening all that ends – yet homes in the early evening still have their AC cranked up, and folks just home from work and school are using lots of appliances and lights and TVs and computers.

Solar panels in California’s Mojave Desert. Andy drove by this on his way from Chino, CA, to Colorado and says it’s mind-boggling in its size.

According to an article in September’s The Atlantic about this episode and California’s electrical grid, “within 45 minutes of that alert going out, the state had cut more than 2,000 megawatts of electricity, roughly as much energy as it normally takes to power more than 1.5 million homes. And the grid was fine.”

This is what a large-scale solar battery storage plant looks like (this one is in Oxnard, CA). Those batteries helped keep the grid going (They’re also problematic. An enormous one at Moss Landing in CA has had a multitude of problems with fires.)

The Atlantic article continues with an analysis of what needs to come next in regards to the grid, since “electricity is the lifeblood of technical society.” FYI: Two decades ago, the National Academy of Engineering ranked electrification (“stringing up the world’s power grid”) as the greatest engineering feat of the 20th century, outranking the automobile (No. 2), the airplane (No. 3), radio and TV (No. 6), computers (No. 8), and the telephone (No. 9). Recently a Stanford researcher, Michael Wara, commented that electric cars may be just what’s needed for the future of our “old and rickety” grid because their use will force growth in the electrical industry, which has been stagnant.

8 Tesla and 2 “universal” charging stations for electric cars have been installed at Sonoma’s Community Center on East Napa St.

There’s a caveat to electric cars helping us and the grid out: If electric cars are all being charged in the early evening, the grid will be even more challenged. So charging has to take place during the day or after 11 pm.

In thinking about electricity, and the grid going down (especially if it’s dinner time) – as may happen before all this needed growth occurs, we could go back to our blog about the apocalypse and remind you of the kinds of food to have on hand. Clearly, you’ll want peanut butter and cans of beans. But what about meat or fish, if you’re not vegetarian? How about cans of tuna and…yes…SPAM?!

We’re going to bank on the good people of California tempering their electrical usage when the next grid-preservation warning goes out. But just in case the good people of California have a bad day, we’ve got recipes for Spam hot and Spam cold – and for tuna hot and tuna cold.

Our Cardigan Corgi, Wynn, isn’t sure she wants Spam, especially while it’s still in the can

And speaking of Spam: please note the “convenient” pull tab on the Spam lid in the photo above. Andy has lots and lots to say about such conveniences in today’s Andy’s Corner. Suffice it to say, he’s not pleased.

So here’s to the grid and your electric stove functioning and to enjoying HOT, fried Spam (I should add that California – as of January 2023 – is requiring new homes to be “electric ready.” A cook’s concern – environmental issues aside – is that the use of gas ranges in new construction is being discouraged and in some areas, not even allowed).

A delicious recipe with Spam from our grandson Moss (of Japanese Cheesecake fame), using a gas range and helped out by his friend Nathaniel – a real foodie – who rates the recipe 8 out of 10. It’s a winner!

Moss's Spam Go-To Recipe

Moss, our grandson, created this recipe.

  • 4 half inch thick slices of original spam
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sugar (or a little less, if you’re not “into” sweet)
  • 2 T canola oil (divided)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee is a good brand)
  • Cooked (preferably day old) rice
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of Diamond kosher salt
  • Fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • Kimchi (Sinto Gourmet Kimchi is a good brand) – for crunch (optional but delicious)

Add soy sauce and sugar into a pan on med-high heat. Let sugar dissolve then add spam. Cook spam flipping once every minute until caramelized or “brown”.

Add 1 T oil to cleaned pan on medium-high heat. Add garlic, let fry until fragrant and add rice. Add oyster sauce and mix.

Add 1 T oil to pan on high heat. Add your eggs and a pinch of salt. Cook eggs until crispy and done.

Assemble rice, spam and egg and top with fresh tomatoes and kimchi.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

And here’s a recipe for Spam straight from the can – for when your electric stove is not functioning.



Ham works just as well as Spam, should you not be a Spam enthusiast.

  • 1 can spam, crumbled or diced (or substitute diced ham)
  • 3 eggs, hard boiled and chopped (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 T finely minced onion
  • 1 T ketchup
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 3 T sweet or dill relish (your preference)
  • 3 T mayonnaise – or enough to moisten
  • sliced cucumbers and lettuce for serving (optional)
  • bread of your choice to complete the sandwich (Dave’s thinly sliced whole wheat bread is especially good, as is a toasted buttered hamburger bun or English muffin).

In a medium bowl mix together the first 8 ingredients. Spread on the bread of your choice, adding the cucumber and lettuce, if desired.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

Back in 2004 our daughter Sara published a cute and handy little cookbook entitled Picnics. We took the liberty of using this no-electricity-required recipe which appears in it. Sara’s acknowledgement in the book’s preface included this: “I can never say enough to Dad, the dishwasher, and Mom, my silent partner, who developed, shopped, cooked, and tested ten variations of a peach crisp before we decided on a nectarine tart!” The sandwich in front is this Pan Bagnat.

Pan Bagnat with Tuna, Tomatoes, and Olives

Adapted from Picnics by Sara Deseran

  • 2 1/2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 4 crusty French rolls, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • Diamond kosher salt
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into thin slices (optional)
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
  • One 6-7 oz can or jar of tuna
  • 16 pitted kalamata olives, pounded flat (4 per sandwich)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced and divided into rings
  • 16 large basil leaves

For the dressing: combine the vinegar, capers, anchovy paste, sugar, and olive oil and whisk well. Brush both sides of the bread with the dressing. Rub the cut garlic over the cut and dressed bread.

On the bottom half of each piece of the cut bread, place a layer of tomatoes – and lightly salt them, then top them with the sliced, boiled egg, slices radishes, about 1/4 of the tuna, 4 olives, some red onion, and 4 basil leaves.

Top with the remaining pieces of bread. If you have time on your hands, wrap each sandwich with plastic wrap, press the sandwich with something heavy, and let sit for an hour or so – so that the bread absorbs some of the juices.

Serve and enjoy.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

More tuna cold:

Easy White Bean Tuna Salad
Tuna Nicoise Salad Bowl

AND tuna hot:

Wynn-R Tuna Pasta and Spinach
Mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole


    • theRaggedys says:

      Good to hear from you. We don’t recall if we’ve had spam at all in our half-century-plus marriage (until our blog). Like Velveeta cheese, we feel a little self-conscious putting it in our shopping cart here in Glen Ellen.


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