musings: cooking in 2020


Pizza, salad & wine take-out
Takeout from Delancey Pizza in Seattle with a sweet friend

2020 has been a much different year than anyone anticipated. We left 2019 with big hopes for the new decade, from the big – those who had weddings planned, babies due, graduations eminent – to the small – gym memberships, birthday parties, and sunny vacations. Then the brooding villain, Coronavirus, enters stage right, and everything changes. It isn’t sudden. We’re aware of its presence but write it off as full of empty threats. We keep dining out and going to concerts, blissfully unaware of the upcoming terror.

    Then terror reigns, almost overnight. Hundreds of deaths grow to thousands as we take cover in our homes, trying to protect our loved ones and our fellow citizen. Our hopes and plans for the year are put away, as we marry quietly, bring new life into the world alone, and grieve passing life in isolation. Gym memberships are traded for virtual classes, birthday parties are hosted on video chats, and vacations turn into extra time on the couch. It takes time, but we adjust. We spend more time in the kitchen, excited to finally have the time to take on that laborious cooking project we had been putting off for so long. Making breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home is welcome and fun.

    Until it isn’t. The months truck on with Coronavirus as powerful as ever, with deaths now in the hundreds of thousands. So we continue to wait in our homes, trying to muster up the energy to drag ourselves into the kitchen for the third time that day. Dishes continue to pile up, no matter how many times they’re washed. We find ourselves reaching for the phone far more than the spatula, eager to give our saved vacation money to any restaurant that is willing to open its doors. Poor cooking is left like a sorry ex, being dragged behind in the swing of our emotions, from complete infatuation to total abandonment. 

    Me? I’m currently at the bottom of the pendulum, where even the thought of standing over the counter to prepare something exhausts me. My food inspiration feels drained, as I force myself to make myself something for work. I feel the good stay-at-home habits I developed fall by the wayside as I pack little more than snacks to be gone for three days. 

    And that’s okay. The foodie in me wants to shame me for being unhealthy, frivolous, and just downright lazy. But the human in me won’t buy into the lie. I’m not and never will be a constant-cooking-machine, and I’m making the choice to give myself grace for that. It’s okay to order takeout (and support local businesses!), it’s okay to eat cereal for dinner, and it’s okay not to have anything about cooking to say.

    It’s okay.

    It’s okay.

    It’s okay.

So I leave you today with just that. No recipes or meal prep or gadget recommendations this week. Just encouragement to give yourself grace and to cut yourself slack, in whatever area of life you may need it. You aren’t defined by what you achieve or how well you do it. You are enough. Don’t let the villain win, and don’t let Coronavirus twist your narrative. It’s changed our circumstances, but it’s up to us to rise above it and make something beautiful out of it. Maybe 2020 will leave us better than we thought after all.

Biscuit breakfast sandwich from Argonaut Cafe
A seriously mind-blowing breakfast sandwich from Argonaut Espresso Bar & Cafe in Leavenworth, WA
Baker's dozen + 1 of donuts
When your crew member brings Winchill’s Donuts for your flight back from San Diego
Mountain Berry Magic plant-based, vegan ice cream from Frankie & Jo's in Seattle
A lunchtime date to Frankie & Jo’s with this sunshine gal
Pizza, salad & arancini balls from Nina & Rafi's
Nina & Rafi’s takeout in Atlanta with my sister
Fityr Saj takeout from Yalla Arabic in Seattle
Biscuits & eggs and brioche french toast
One of our first patio meals at a restaurant, brunch at Oddfellows Cafe in Seattle
Waffle cone with Oly-Fog & Cardamom ice cream
Some incredible gelato from Sofie’s Scoops Gelato in Olympia, WA

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