Tag Archives: Cooking at home

Let’s eat!

I am always in love with food but during the pandemic I’m besotted. I know I’m not alone. You know how everything tastes like cardboard when you’re grieving? I’ve decided this is the opposite: everything tastes FABULOUS.

The TV pundits say we’re eating out of boredom. I dunno. I’m not bored. Many things but not bored. We comfort ourselves with food too. That’s long-standing wisdom. I am comforted by food but this isn’t mindless eating I’m talking about, where someone shovels things in without really even tasting it or even knowing quite what they ate. It’s pleasure, a reward for living, for doing what has to be done. Sleep, food and sex are life’s essential rewards, right? I mean it doesn’t say it in the Constitution but that’s how I see it. Some people consider one or two or all three of that trio bothersome. I don’t understand such people.😀

If you stayed with me during the quarantine you’d eat well. I’ve made salmon vegetable soup, bisquits, pancakes, crepes, pan and deep-dish “Grandma’s Pizza”, pumpkin raisin muffins, lemon bread, spaghetti, linguine with kalamata olives & artichoke hearts, salmon loaf with wild rice, ziti & tuna with green olives & garlic, twice-baked potatoes mixed with sour cream & chives, healthy cookies, sesame noodles, chickpea/crushed tomatoes/pumpkin soup with lemon juice & curry, and even johnny-cakes — these are made of cornmeal & boiling water and then cooked in a big skillet. I had a bag of cornmeal in the fridge with a “best by” date of Sept 2019. It looked ok to me.😊

The main thing I want and am not having are the big-ass salads that are mainstays in my “cuisine.” I just think lettuce is too iffy now. You can’t cook it or scrub it so I’ve tearfully eliminated lettuce for the time being. It’s not like lettuce, with its various recalls and E. coli outbreaks didn’t already have enough troubles.😕

I’m also craving shellfish and cheesecake. Not necessarily together. Those aren’t going to be happening either.

I’m fortunate to not be worried about food.

I think food should be front and center in life and too often its role is afterthought or even chore. That’s all wrong; we are nothing without food and it deserves to be lauded and celebrated. I’m on it.

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We have met the enemy and it is squalor

I am ok. You?

When you spend a lot of time at home (especially in multi-person households) it is easy to let everything go to hell. You have to figure things get grubbier than usual. The only other experience that compares for me is getting cooped up during a major snow storm but it’s a lukewarm comparison. I am keeping up. The stuff I’m avoiding: Stacked dishes in the sink, a funky ambience in the bathroom, piles of papers gathering, overflowing trashcans, unmade beds, loads of unwashed laundry. Living in squalor would just make it all worse.😐

I consider myself fortunate, well, in a number of ways, but in no small part because HOME is pretty much my favorite place. I absolutely love being outdoors in nature (and need to be) but I don’t want to live there. Being at home isn’t a huge change for me. Over the years, particularly during the time I’ve had this blog, I have really worked to make Home a good place to be.

It happened that my everyday food stockpiling coincided with the quarantining/pandemic. By happenstance I bought a lot of food in January and February. But for that I’d be a lot more anxious. Last March I blogged What does Colette eat? , a list of all the food I had on-hand. Why? I made the list for myself, in part so I could keep track of what I needed to buy at any given time but shared it because I thought it might be interesting or helpful. Last week I made a new list. It”s handwritten and not blog-ready but it is very similar.

I’m not a big fan of groups in the best of times (generally preferring the company of one other person at a time) so there again I am not struggling greatly but my connection to people, to humanity, is writ large. I feel very connected to other people; to other bloggers, to people across the U.S., to people around the world. Never have I felt in my decades, such a sense that to some degree or another, we are all experiencing the same thing. I am also thinking about all the people I’ve known and cared about. This doesn’t mean I want to “reach out” or anything like that; it’s just thinking and remembering.

I really feel for people in worse circumstances. I am impressed by all those whose jobs put them at risk. I’m sure they are frightened but still they continue their work. It was a small thing but I put a hand-written THANK YOU on the door when trash & recycling collectors came on their regular schedule. Think of how it would be if people weren’t still filling these and other roles (of many stripes) either out of sickness or fear.

The people who were nice before are still being nice and the people who were jerks are still being jerks.

I saw on on TV that people were putting up Christmas lights to cheer up their neighborhoods which I thought was charming (I guess so long as it doesn’t tax the power grid 😢). I put lights out too.

On a community Facebook group someone posted about putting teddy bears in the window for children to see (I don’t know if that’s everywhere). I don’t have a teddy bear (just two small stuffed animals whose fur might suffer from condensation 😯) so I collected a few friends to display. (My boy Gumby was previously seen here demonstrating tricks I do at the playground.)

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At times I tear up watching the news. The news about the postponed Olympics made me cry outright. Not because I think that’s worse than thousands dead and sickened but maybe because it shows just how big this is combined with a long-standing emotional response to the Games – I’m not sure.  When emotions are running high it’s hard to know what will trip them, even obscure or seemingly unrelated things. Anyone who’s gone through raw grief will likely recognize that phenomena as true.

My father’s parents (long dead) were from northern Italy and came to the U.S. as young adults, only to later return to Italy with their first four children, including my father, only to again come to the U.S. but despite being half-Italian, I claim no true connection to the region, which has been so hard hit by the virus. I honestly don’t know how to think about it. There is this: you keep hearing about all these old people dying (in Italy and elsewhere) and there can be a tendency to think, well, they’re OLD. But old people have had plenty of time to touch many lives, they probably have friends, children, grandchildren, maybe great grandchildren. They leave behind people who will mourn them, who wouldn’t want a demise like this virus for them but a peaceful, family-gathered, or “quietly dying in their sleep” end. I relate from that view.

Is it weird or what to see VP Pence looking and acting more presidential than the president?!

I take comfort from certain leaders and certain people in the public eye. I have been surprised that TMZ is striking the right note for me, a mix of information, genuine emotion, humor and even a little dishing.  I enjoy Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest together. Before this I didn’t habitually watch their morning show, Live With Kelly and Ryan, and had very little interest in their interviews but liked the first ten or so minutes of the show where they banter and share news, personal and otherwise, when I happened to catch it. Now that they are respectively self-quaranteened and doing the show, I find them and the show very relatable, including the celebrity interviews. Maybe it’s because I believe the affection between them? I find the Dr Phil show very formulaic (and pandering to ratings with its content ) and usually avoid it but the man himself has been compelling since I first saw him long ago. He says things that help me, going way back. I still have notes I took after Sep 11, 2001 about the suggestions and advice he had for people on how to cope. Anyway, he’s gone to a podcast style of his daily TV show and I expect to watch. He makes sense and has a crackerjack mind.

It is always so interesting who comes into the spotlight at crisis points. That Dr Fauci is rocking it. So are some governors including mine. Regular people online make a big difference too if only to distract us with humor. I am grateful to all.

I am here on the blog to distract myself in part, and hopefully to offer a little distraction. If all goes well I expect to be blogging more. I think it’ll help me. I want the connection. I think I will write about the typical topics I do, deliberately. I don’t want to focus only on the virus and its effects. I hope that is okay.

We are requested to stay home where I am but not yet ordered to.  My work has little contact with people and I can stay 6′ away so I can work some which is good on several fronts. The numbers of infection are still rising. I just don’t want to get sick but I felt that before. All winter I was working to not get the flu.

I would say I have a low grade level of agitation.

People are cooking & baking at home, they say. I was already doing that and am just trying to keep up good habits. Even so, I crave foods I wasn’t going to be having anyway, whether because they are too expensive – a huge plate of steamed shellfish – or not a usual thing I let myself eat – bags of chips and candy.😐

There are not bombs falling on my community or soldiers in the streets.  It IS scary but not the scariest, not at all. Perspective. Isn’t that what everything, always, is about?

There wll be scholars writing about this time for years to come. There will be crackpots ranting. There will be movies. It will be taught or mentioned in school curriculums. The worldwide pandemic of 2020.

Remember a few weeks ago? The impeachment, Harry and Meghan, the Australian wildfires? I haven’t heard a peep about any of them. Gone. (Although the absurd Kanye/Kim/Taylor thing got renewed steam in the last day or so. Way to rise to the occasion!😕)

I feel badly for the kids missing proms and graduations – I remember what a big deal everything associated with school and my friends was to me when I was in their place – and love that some jurisdictions promise to do these events for them later.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to have real problems or concerns now that are in addition to the pandemic fears, people with cancer or advanced stages of diseases.  They have to fear/wonder if they will still get the treatment and medications they need and if they will contract the virus further compromising their original illnesses.

Illness and disease have been wiping out populations for a very long time. I think that we’re taken aback that it can still happen independent of how prosperous or technologically advanced a society is. Money and advances will help but they can’t prevent every bad bit of business that comes along. We grow so accustomed to our structures and routines in western countries, so assured in our worlds. Events like weather and pandemics are equal opportunity.

Update on my New Year’s “kinda, sorta resolutions”

At the start of the year I set a few kinda, sorta New Year’s resolutions. Basically I had simple goals for 2018: to make 10 new recipes, to read 20 books, and to visit my local lake/park 10 times. I have already revisited my progress in March. I’m back to say I’VE READ 20 BOOKS!! Go Colette, go Colette! Fifteen were nonfiction; five fiction. I like memoirs and read several. My favorite book of the twenty was a very funny memoir, You’ll Grow Out of It by Jesse Klein. I also was very impressed with Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. My page-turner novel was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (I subsequently watched the movie; it lacked something as compared with the book).

What reading twenty books in seven months has made very clear to me is how little I’ve been reading – in any kind of depth or quantity – for years. The internet, and life to some lesser extent, totally screwed up my ability to read (a book) and I had to get it back. Reading requires a different gear, one that had become somewhat unfamiliar. It’s like meeting up with an old friend and falling back into step together, ultimately wondering why you ever drifted in the first place.

I’ve exceeded my recipes goal, doing most of my cooking in winter. I haven’t made any new recipes lately.

After knocking out several in winter, I have slacked on lake visits. I got busy in the spring and it slid off my priorities. Which is kinda odd, considering lake visits are actually the easiest of the trio, requiring nothing, per my goals, other than merely going there. I have a few more to make my goal of ten.  I went this past Saturday and took a few photos for the blog. I can only take credit for framing these shots; my tablet has a bunch of “filters” and I opted to use the litho one on these for an interesting effect.

 

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Check out the Litho Squirrel!

 

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Dragonfly dead center on top of the blade of grass

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