Let’s face it, we’re probably going to be stuck at home for another year. Shouldn’t you put your lockdown to good use and enhance your future with some knowledge that they should have taught you in school? Buckle up for the year of stocks!

What are shorts? They seem to be all the rage these days with the kids and Wall Street types alike. Essentially they are gambling that a given stock will drop in price, and you can make money off the new lower price. You pay a small fee to “borrow” those stocks, sell them to someone else, and pocket the difference. When the time comes to give them back, you can buy them for the lower price and hand them back. Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am! Michael Lewis writes a book about the whole thing, and Christian Bale gets an Oscar-nod for playing you.

The key to a consistent, well-performing stock is a healthy supply of gelatin. Boiling the bones, especially ones with heavy cartilage, for long periods will help release the special secret to any pan sauce worth its weight in deglazing liquid. That’s the key difference between a stock and a broth. But don’t be shy. Throw any leftover meat you have in that stockpot and simmer until it’s reduced to your liking.

Diversification is the key. Celery, onions, and carrots are going to be solid performers and there is no reason not to have some low-risk options. But explore some riskier choices like fennel or parsnips. Don’t be scared. As long as you don’t build your portfolio around them, you’ll survive a crash. No matter what position you end up taking, you’ll never be able to have enough garlic.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the dozens of new vocab words that will start to enter your everyday conversations: options, ETFs, fumet, cryptocurrencies, mirepoix. These will become second nature, like having a gallon-sized freezer bag of discarded chicken wing bones you collected from a tailgate last football season.

“You want these bones?” they asked. “Like the ones I’ve already eaten?”

Yes, Patty, and do you know why? I’m going to make a kick-ass chicken stock that I am going to put in mason jars and freeze until I get a cold and make the most bitchin chicken noodle soup in the world. Is that enough information for you, Patty?

Trading stocks isn’t going to be popular among most of your friends.

“I don’t know the first thing about all that stuff,” they’ll say as they drag that last piece of baguette through the pork glaze you whipped up like it was nothing. “How do you even trade something like that?”

I’ll tell you how. Get in your car and drive 200 miles to meet a guy named Paul at the Utah border. He’ll have a cooler with a quart of beef stock the color of dark chocolate and smells like leather. He’s getting into vegetable stock, and you’re the only person who has been able to make something that tastes like the Garden of Eden this side of the Mississippi. He’s the one that found you on ReduceToSimmer forums and asked if you’d be interested in a swap. You pull this trade off and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. The food bank! Your braised beef short ribs are going to make a lot of very hungry people feel as good as a hedge fund manager checking his Bahamian bank account balance.


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