It’s not just food and drink that the body needs to survive, but in times of stress, food and drink are great comforters, and we know many turn to it readily at such times. One set of muscles that seem to be getting a workout with home confinement are those in the jaw. In our household, we’re aware of the risk, and, thankfully, we have a houseful of people capable in the kitchen. Of course, that’s a blessing and a curse. We eat nice things and we can make nice things from many simple ingredients. While people may be thrusting accolades on French or Italian cuisine, you wouldn’t be true to your Caribbean heritage if you dissed your own cuisine. At times like this, it’s great to not have to fret about whether you have the right kind of cheese, or if it’s single, double, clotted, whipped or another cream that’s needed.
Right now, our household is blending its Bahamian and Jamaican heritage, and that makes for a really nice set of outcomes and also puts our Bahamian visitors more at ease as they adjust to not being at home. It’s always interesting how missing certain food when you travel can be close to distressing. I don’t mean the way that Americans hanker for McDonald’s, but the well-documented way that say travelling teams perform better when they have their own chefs and can offer team members the food they like.
One of the prices that many people are worried they will have to pay after and during the pandemic is an expanding waist line and scales that say ‘No mas!’ 🙂 Many are trying to stay dedicated to exercise regimes, for a sense of normality but also as a good way to ward off the premature Santa Claus look. The number of virtual exercise classes is growing. A friend asked if her son–one of our elite swimmers–could use our pool; he’d not been in the water for four weeks, she said. We discussed how he was eating her out of house and home, as teenagers do, anyway, when being confined to the house all day. Our own teen is like her peers and grazes a lot, but now that school has resumed, it’s food hunting in between breaks and then real dinner and then midnight snacks–“Oh Hi, Daddy. Are you writing?” 🙂 We had a great late-night conversation as she raided the fridge. She’s an athlete and concerned about her weight and physique, so tries not to gorge. Let’s see how that progresses. One clear upside is she gets to have some close-up chances to learn about our food from her elders, which would usually be confined to holidays, but is now part of daily life (indefinitely), and she’s been a good assistant as well as an instigator in the kitchen.
We’re lucky to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables and we’ve long been people who cook and eat at home. So, eating is part of a normal process that starts with little or nothing and ends with something that most of us find wonderful.
What we miss most with home confinement is sharing food and meals. We’ve tried it a couple of times with what we think is good social distancing–friends came and sat near, but apart, about 5 feet away across the table. They brought a fresh homemade loaf 🙂
My mother-in-law and her sister made hot-cross buns for Easter. My wife–always generous–offered batches to friends; they came and collected from the front gate.
In Jamaica, sharing of food and fruit and vegetables is one of our normal traits, and it’s had to be curtailed a bit with home confinement but it’s possible. I’ve let friends come to collect Julie mangoes, which seem to be ripening early. I know a friend who continues to share his urban garden produce. I’ve another friend due to exchange tomato seeds with me soon. We have farmers sitting on surplus harvests as their prime customers, hotels, have closed. We’re now seeing that food chain redirected as food gets redirected directly to households at pickup points with ordering online. We’ve seen our major beer producer start to sell directly to households, while bars and clubs and places where people used to congregate are closed or have limited openings. So, the food business is changing not just in terms of home consumption but also in getting goods to markets.
Change is the order of the day, however you look at it.
Eat and be happy. Grow food and be happy. Trying to be happy is also the order of the day, to get through this crisis, but also in general. Don’t lose sight of that.