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Pandemic Reflections From a Foodie
Guest Contributor Deema Elshourfa
Insurance Defence Lawyer, Evangelista Barristers & Solicitors
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or someone who loves food, the pandemic’s been a rollercoaster. We all remember the banana bread and sourdough craze of the early months. Those of us who were able to work remotely found ourselves with more time and flexibility to explore baking and cooking. Recipes were passed around and people started tackling increasingly more difficult meals and methods. But as the novelty wore off, people abandoned their sourdough starters and started looking elsewhere for inspiration. We experienced a general feeling (with ebbs and flows) of exhaustion related to meals and food. The mere thought of having to figure out what to make for dinner each night could send you in a tailspin, let alone the idea of constantly having to clean the kitchen. For those who never liked to cook, there was an indulgence in takeout and delivery, with restaurants offering delicious menus and cook-at-home meal kits. We all experimented with food as entertainment one way or another. At this stage in the pandemic, most of us have settled into a routine, with food still playing a big role. We’re seeing an explosion of millennials gardening herbs, fruits and vegetables, using fresh ingredients in their cooking—it’s been a source of real pride and accomplishment for many young people. Others, like myself, still use recipes and cooking as a way to connect with others, like my mom's Fattoush recipe. I try to be purposeful and thoughtful in how I approach mealtime. Most of our meals are whatever I feel like putting together at the time, but each week I try to pick one meal that I research and get excited about. It makes it feel special and gives me the flexibility to not put too much pressure on the other meals of the week. Sometimes, it’s not a meal but a dessert that can be a reward for a particularly stressful week. Like a lemon ricotta cake topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit, pictured here. Other ways to get excited about food include taking advantage of the wonderful farmer’s markets in your city or town. They highlight when certain produce are in season and why it’s best to eat them during those times. Being able to buy directly from local farmers and sellers will help you feel connected to your community. It’s also a nice outing for everyone, whether you go alone or take a friend or family member. The fresh seasonal fruit on this lemon ricotta cake, for example, all came from our local farmer’s market. Something I like to do with friends is a brunch or dinner club where each person volunteers to make a meal for the rest of the group. It’s a great way to reconnect with food and explore different recipes. It also gives you an opportunity to taste different cuisines you may not be that familiar with. If no one in your group likes to cook, you can have brunch or dinner clubs at various restaurants—each person gets to pick the restaurant on their day. As a society, we tend to go to extremes and then inevitably, we burn out or get bored. With food, there are so many ways to celebrate it and use it as a way to connect with yourself, your community and your loved ones. It’s not only about the banana bread!
Each week I try to pick one meal that I research and get excited about. It makes it feel special and gives me the flexibility to not put too much pressure on the other meals of the week.
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