There’s a lot to hate about this coronavirus lockdown, but there’s also a lot to like.
You may disagree with me, but it’s true. Despite the virus ravaging the bodies of many and slamming the brakes on the economy, like all tragic events, it’s giving humans abundant chances to prove their goodness toward others and themselves. It’s also given us a chance to get a bit more grounded and enjoy life’s small pleasures. Some of the positives I see in this mess …
It’s cool that medical professionals of every level—not just doctors—are now recognized for their genuine value. Same for truckdrivers, grocery store workers and produce and meat processors who make life-sustaining food available to us. Who’d have thought people would take the time to thank to produce stackers for showing up to work at the supermarket? Want to find some heroes around town? Visit a nursing home when all this is over and ask some caregivers about this year’s adventures on the inside.
I’m blown away at the drive, vision and passion for feeding people demonstrated by chef José Andrés. Here we have one of the most talented chefs and restaurateurs in the world who’s all but walked away from his main operations to create World Central Kitchen. The non-profit not only feeds hungry people following catastrophic tragedies, it feeds them well. This isn’t MRE stuff, it’s good wholesome food made by hundreds of volunteer chefs. (Check out this 60 Minutes Overtime story on his work.) Given his heavy Spanish accent and the speed at which he thinks and speaks, my one interview with him years ago was like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded. I never knew where he was going with his comments, but I didn’t want him to stop talking.
I’m not at all surprised by the generosity shown by so many local restaurateurs. Though always operating on razor-thin margins and working long hours, these operators somehow find the time and food to prepare many meals for free. That’s heart and head teaming up to put food in stomachs. Love on them anyway you can right now. They need the emotional and financial support.
Like many, I’m appreciating nature more than ever. I’m blown away by the azaleas and flowering trees in my neighborhood; the intricacy, texture and color of their flowers and the bees busily at work within them. It confirms to me that no human creation can top the beauty of God’s self-renewing Earth.
I’ve enjoyed watching people applaud Gov. Andy Beshear’s efforts to keep us informed. That most Kentuckians agree their governor is doing a good job in a difficult time is practically miraculous. I’m not sure when that last happened. (Sadly, if history is any indication, the amity won’t last.)
I love seeing so many people walking and biking—especially the little kids wearing outsized helmets while furiously pedaling their teeny bikes. I hope they’ll continue that physical activity when things return to normal. Heaven knows we all need it to shed the weight we’ve gained.
Which reminds me … I saw this funny on Facebook: “How y’all summer body lookin’? Mine be lookin’ like I have a great personality.” That’s what I want out of social media these days. More humor and fewer self-appointed epidemiologists and political analysts. And in the spirit of that wish, here’s one more: “My dog is looking at me like, ‘See? This is why I chew the furniture.’” I hear you, Rover!
That I enjoy cooking more than ever is one of two root causes of my “great personality” body. I’ve made dozens of pizzas for family, friends and condo neighbors over the last several, weeks, but that’s depleted my 50-pound stash of bread flour by only about half. Now I need to get serious about bread baking. My past loaves, while tasty when blandished with butter, might score a D at a culinary school or awarded the yet-to-be-used black ribbon at the state fair. I want to make some A+ stuff like some friends are doing at home.
At least my smoked meats achieved a B- in March. That happened after my used smoker was stolen by some fool who only got the top two pieces. (He surely knows by now Weber doesn’t sell the bottom part separately.) When I replaced it with a new one of the same type, the most helpful piece that came out of the box was the owner’s manual. No kidding. For $446, I learned in 5 minutes what I’d been doing wrong for the past year. Pricey lesson, but delicious long-term results.
I love the fact that my wife works at home every other week. We work at opposite ends of our condo, out of sight and speaking range, but it’s still nice knowing someone else is there to interrupt needlessly and shatter the boredom of working alone.
And speaking of my wife, she’s applauding my improved cocktail-making skills. Hell or High Water Speakeasy got me out of my eight-cocktail rotation when it sent local media a make-at-home list of recipes. Now gin gimlets, real daquiris and a different twist on the Gold Rush are in the rotation. Yeah, I know any real bartender reading this is mumbling, “Easy stuff, boy, easy stuff!” Trust me, I’ll resume buying the fun ones from you when Warden Beshear pardons us all from corona prison.
And speaking of adult beverages, one last Facebook funny: “Adulthood has shown me that you don’t need fun to have alcohol.” A lot of truth in that, but also a sound warning: consume responsibly, people. Lots of livers out there celebrating the postponement of the Kentucky Derby for good reason. Meantime, make a real mint julep and enjoy what Churchill Downs will never serve you.