Toilet Paper Hoarding
I went to Costco yesterday during geezer hours arriving just as they opened at 8:00 AM and was surprised to find the parking lot 2/3rds full. The entry protocol was well managed. I made a modest buy for ourselves, immediate family, and a friend in quarantine. People were respectful and distanced as best they could. I had no idea there were that many of us over 60 in Vermont!
In the checkout line, I was surprised to see the procession of slow-moving toilet paper skyscrapers. Carefully balancing their loads, folks pushed their teetering loads slowly forward towards the checkout aisles.
I must admit to being stunned by the massive national hoarding of toilet paper. Having struggled with food issues all my life, I’m more inclined to stock up on my favorite substance, food. How will toilet paper (TP) sustain my life in a crisis?
When I asked a few folks why they were buying so much toilet paper, I got only an annoyed shrug … and indeed, none of my business.
When my curiosity is returned and I’m asked why I’m not stocking up on TP, I answer, “we don’t use it,” which elicits a confused look and further distancing.
It’s not, of course, wholly true. We use maybe six rolls a year.
Many years back, when I traveled in India, I got used to using the water spigots Indians use. Similarly, traveling in France, I discovered the bidet. Both made so much more sense to me than paper-smudging.
Though, when we were young growing up in Morrisville, several outhouses I visited had last year’s Montgomery Ward catalogue in the two-holer, available to peruse and then tear off a page or two for outhouse hygiene. The bible-stock, ultra-thin pages were ideal for this secondary use. The bucket of woodstove ash and scoop on the floor were used instead of flushing to reduce odor and accelerate composting. But in retrospect, I still prefer the water solution.
When I bought the home we’ve lived in for 25 years, I bought a kitchen sink pull-out dish spritzer for each toilet and plumbed them in under the toilet paper dispensers, which we left for confused guests. We call them the “Maharajah’s fountains” and swear by them. We use TP for drying only.
But none of this relieves my worry for neighbors who, if this pandemic causes further critical shortages, will be left with a house full of toilet paper and no food. So, I’ve been researching recipes for TP and must tell you, they’re few and far between. But I have found a few that may prove helpful if the shit hits the fan, so to speak.
Pig in a Poke:
Take seven feet of single-ply toilet paper and lay it out on any available kitchen work space. Spread a thin layer of Crisco over the whole and then squeeze a sparing line of ketchup the full length. Evenly brush the whole to cover all the TP. Add green relish or mustard to taste. At one end, place a large pepperoni sausage and roll it the full length of the prepared TP. Cover the roll with Velveeta or Cheese Wiz if you have it. Place the whole in a Pyrex dish and nuke for proximately four minutes or until the poke is nicely and evenly browned. Serves four.
Combine two cups flour or whatever you have left, some baking powder or soda in a bowl. In a blender combine an end roll of TP, any oil, and some road salt. Blend thoroughly. Combine TP dough and flour dough, knead generously and fry in oil in a frying pan. Serve with butter if you have any. Serves six.
Blend quarter roll of TP with sour milk, three cooked beets and whatever else you can find. Serve cold. Serves eight.
Hopefully, these desperate measures will tide you over until you come to your senses and go shopping for groceries.