Coronavirus, Protests, Hurricanes...and Cooking?

Coping Mechanisms Can Come In Many Forms...And Flavors


One of our shelter-in-place rituals has been to see how many Netflix series we can get through in a short period of time. As "Anne With an E" continued to play out on the screen last night, life continued to play out on the downtown streets below.


This is not uncommon when you live in an urban setting like we do...street noise including voices, sirens, the bass of a stereo and the occasional smell of someone smoking (something...?) on a nearby balcony are part of the texture of this lifestyle. This time, although all of those familiar elements were there, it was different. The news stories from earlier in the evening in Minneapolis, LA, and even across the bridge in Tampa, were happening live on the street just below our balcony. (Hit the pause button!!)


Although I care deeply, I don't have a political bent on what this world is dealing with right now. I just need to know how to navigate it. Or maybe I need to know that someone else knows how to navigate it. For the first time since I can remember, the "to-do" list is unclear. And there's only so much wine I can drink to take the edge off the anxiety.


So what do I do (because I don't always know what else to do)? COOK. I cook for an elderly friend, my parents, a neighbor who lost his job, my husband. I take a favorite cookbook like Barefoot Contessa "Make It Ahead" and close down my Zoom schedule for the day in time to prep every recipe in it that sounds good. I take a new cookbook that's a gift from a close friend and stand in line (6' apart) at Trader Joe's for all the ingredients for all the dishes I think I can pull off. I revise and rewrite the recipes I have already shared with family members last Christmas. And I gain weight.


And now...HURRICANE SEASON! Woo hoo!! Tropical Storm Amanda in the Gulf? Can this Roasted Vegetable Lasagna or Goat Cheese Baked Mashed Potatoes be frozen? Or better yet, canned??


We Floridians know what to do to prepare for a hurricane. And what date the season officially begins and what date it ends. As for the other societal challenges that are gutting us to the core right now, not so much. So we hold on to our humor, our families, our faith, and our food. In the immortal words of my WV-mountain-born grandmother..."we'll get through it, we just won't look like much."