I’ve been staring at the same blank page for two weeks now, resisting the urge to tell people to eff off whenever they chirp, “You must be getting so much writing done.” What I am getting so much “done” is cocktails, cooking and eating. I have also discovered the joys of baking. (FYI there is no reason to fire up the oven for chocolate cake. It is god’s perfect creation raw, right out of the bowl.)
Last night we had Driveway Happy Hour with our neighbors Robyn and Steve. It’s a simple concept. Bring your booze and glasses to the end of someone’s driveway while they have their booze and glasses at the opposite end of the driveway and you stand around drinking and shouting at one another down the length of a driveway. Lest this sound too hillbilly for y’all, Ernest Hemingway once did the exact same thing when his little boy had highly contagious whooping cough and he spent several weeks in self-isolation with the sick toddler, his wife, the nanny, and his mistress.
Summering nearby, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald would pull up to the Hemingway residence in their Duesenberg each evening for a roaring twenties version of Driveway Happy Hour. By the end of the summer, which was the duration of the Hemingway’s quarantine, the Fitzgerald’s had stuck their empty liquor bottles on the white picket fence running the length of the sprawling estate the Hemingway’s occupied. The fence stretched for miles in either direction, bottles lined up as far as the eye could see. My question is what did they eat???
Right now, I have a second window open on my laptop so I can peruse the recipes that are trending on the New York Times Cooking app while I am simultaneously writing trying to write eating homemade chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. Indian food is delish and labor intensive—an excellent combination for these long days in captivity quarantine. Alas, my pantry is lacking in mung beans, pigeon peas and paneer.
I wish there were an app where you would enter all the crap you’ve got in the kitchen and it would spit out recipes using those ingredients. I would love to know what I could make with black beans, mandarin orange slices, cream of mushroom soup, sweet and sour beets, wonton sheets, four dozen cans of solid white tuna and a craft fair jar of pickled asparagus that expired in 1998. (If you know of such an app, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org) (Lo and behold, Pamela Vidovic, a reader in Croatia, sent us this link: coolinarika.com. And Nan Teske from Milwaukee sent this: Supercook.com) Thanks, ladies!!!
In addition to new cooking terms (bard the bird with bacon) I find myself using words and phrases that have only entered the daily lexicon since the coronavirus pandemic. Pandemic is one of them. So is coronavirus. I bet in my whole entire life until now I said or heard those words maybe a dozen times total. Today, they pepper every other sentence.
The expression “conscious uncoupling” made me throw up a little in my mouth each time I heard it. I am no fonder of the phrases ‘social distancing,’ ‘shelter in place,’ ‘makeshift morgue’ and ‘the president said.” But here we are, forced to deal with all the above…and for those of us “lucky” enough to be consciously coupling during the quarantine, i.e. being confined with family living with loved ones, I have begun to collect words and phrases that reflect current events in our home.
What is that sound you make while you eat?
What is that sound you make while you brush your teeth?
What is that sound you make when you breathe?
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Estimated delivery time: 12-72 weeks.
Same day chocolate delivery guaranteed.
Clairol Root Touch-Up.
Hair dye allergy patch test.
Contact dermatitis home remedies.
And this is only week two. God knows which words and phrases will develop in the coming weeks, but I am gonna go out on a limb and suggest the following:
Will the remote work from up your ass?
It’s nice, eating dinner all together like this every single night. Breakfast and lunch, too. Snacks even.
I envy squirrels.
Did you really spend $500 on resistance bands, kettlebells and Spanx?
What’s Drizly and did you really spend $1000 on it?
I laughed when I saw @mom_needsalife’s tweet this week, “Gwyneth Paltrow said in an interview we should take this time to learn a new language or write a book. I just shook chip crumbs out of my bra & I don’t know what day it is. I’m fairly certain I’m not going to attempt either of these things.” Clearly, we need distraction from the horrors of the daily news whether it’s cooking, eating, having cocktails behind the garage or simply staring out the window thinking calm, sane thoughts and praying for the best possible outcome and a quick end to the pandemic.
In the meantime, there is one phrase that should be our mantra; Better safe than sorry.
Visit CDC.gov for up-to-the-minute guidelines meant to keep you and all of us safe and healthy.