Eating Your Way Through a Pandemic
Overall, this social isolation thing has gone pretty well. I'm a hermit by nature so, being solitary is fairly easy. I do miss my friends. Spending weeks without their smiles and hugs has been heartbreaking. And no amount of zooming or face-timing can replace the in-person warmth of another human being.
As it has been through much of my life, food, in any and all of its configurations (fast, slow, savory, sweet, cheap and costly, healthy and not-so-healthy) provided comfort and some unintended, but not unexpected consequences. These include an expanded waistline and the exact opposite of solace, a deepening depression.
But in all honesty, I can't place all the blame on the pandemic. Just like everyone else, there is a lot going on in our lives and on our unhinged little planet right now.
The ways in which we deal with these life stressors and anxieties, is, in part, (I believe) genetic predisposition and family history. If you're anything like your parents (and, for better or worse, I am), you may deal with life's difficult intricacies in some of the same ways they did.
I have always loved to cook and bake, but, with a galley kitchen the size of a suitcase, I rarely do much of it, until two months ago. In that time frame, I have made two bundt cakes, (one lemon, one chocolate-orange marble), chocolate brownie peanut butter banana bread, Potica bread (a Slovenian, butter and walnut-filled dream), an Apricot Jello cream cheese pie in a chocolate crust, and right now, have a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in the fridge, ready to bake.
I have made and consumed mountains of pasta, old and new, including one of my Italian dad's favorites, "Spaghetti e Uova" (spaghetti with eggs-a kind of simplified carbonara, minus the pancetta or bacon).
I threw together what can only be considered as one of the worst casseroles of all time, due to the fact that I topped it with some "well-beyond-their-expiration-date" Pillsbury Grand biscuits. The first mouthful left a "did I just lick a monkey's butt?" aftertaste, which resulted in the entire top of the concoction landing in the garbage.
After that disaster, I made homemade garlic and cheese biscuits (similar to those addictive Red Lobster ones) and vowed never to go the refrigerated biscuit way again!
None of this onslaught of kitchen activity has deviated into the super fancy, however. Even though I am a New York Times food recipe box owner and subscriber, I have yet to try anything like their Macerated Peaches with Chamomile Ice Milk, or their Slow-Cooker Creamy Kale with Fontina Cheese and Bread Crumbs, or even the fishy Pissaladierè (a sort of French anchovy pizza).
But there is still time, this coronavirus thing isn't over yet. . .