This is a departure from my usual style of blog. Usually I talk about food, books and theatre; I had to hop on and try to make sense of thoughts tumbling round and round in my head.
The country, nay, the world, is in the iron-clad grip of coronavirus. Scenes we have seen unfolding these past few weeks are reminiscent of a Hollywood movie, with characters decrying the end of the world as smouldering heroes save the day.
At the time of writing, there are 197,702 confirmed cases in 164 countries, with 7,954 deaths and no sign of the curve being flattened.
There are no heroes to save the day.
It’s a new virus that has sparked unprecedented, draconian measures, never before seen in peacetime UK.
It is safe to say that we are living in odd, disconcerting times. Switch on the television and images of supermarket shelves laid bare are now the norm.
See how quickly we acclimatise in the face of adversity? Bare Aldi shelves are now the norm.
People have been panic-buying supplies of toilet roll (why?) and non-perishables such as pasta and canned food.
This is important – it is great to have a well-stocked larder, but don’t be a div about it. Don’t load up your trolley with twenty packs of toilet roll. Firstly, there are other people on this planet too, who are more vulnerable, so let’s not be selfish. Secondly, toilet rolls are bulky and take up space. So, don’t be that person. Yes, if I see your loaded trolley with a gazillion items of the same thing, I am going to be (quietly) judging you.
Be sensible when you shop. If you’re panicking about the lack of pasta, how about trying to make your own? I made pasta years’ ago, and it was very nice.
It was fairly straightforward, and writing this now, I’m not sure why I haven’t made it again. (Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend?)
You could get the family involved in your pasta making adventure, or if you’re like me and cherish boundaries in the kitchen, just crack on and make it yourself.
Plus, if you’re making things from scratch, you get to control the ingredients and can, for example, tone down the salt. You are in control – doesn’t that feel good?
Digressing now, but I am going through an odd obsession with doughnuts.
No, I haven’t made any doughnuts yet, because I am terrified of large vats of oil, and the very thought of boiling oil makes me shudder.
My aversion to boiling oil is the reason I have only ever deep-fried a dish a grand total of once in my entire life, but more on that later.
Back to my doughnut fixation, and I am seriously considering having a word with myself and just making some doughnuts. If you want something cooking, you need to know how to do it yourself. Gazing longingly at photos of doughnuts at 10pm isn’t going to make the photo come to life (wouldn’t that be a neat magic trick?), and because my cravings kick in circa 9pm, it is too late to actually go out and buy a decent doughnut.
My point about this doughnut anecdote, is that if you want something so badly, you are self-sufficient to make it happen.
I am going to learn more cooking skills when this coronavirus is over (I have always felt I needed to learn how to fillet a fish and ice a pretty cake). How about you? What skills have you wanted to learn?
In these frankly dystopian times, learn skills that will make you even more self-sufficient. Apologies for the alarmist rhetoric, but in the event of the country being in total lock-down and fresh food becoming a scarcity, you need to be confident about your cooking and survival skills, because the two are inextricably linked.
I would love to know how you are finding coronavirus and living in a new world where rationing is as normal as reading a book.