Toni’s Corner

Quarantine and Cook

Aug 19, 2020

It’s been quite a while since I updated Toni’s Corner. Right before the world turned upside down I’d written about a snow day filled with boredom and a very badly made chocolate cake. That snow day somehow morphed into a very interesting 6 months of uncertainty and limited hours at work. We’ve still been able to get frozen meals out to our EMM clients and recently started adding fresh salads to our weekly delivery. It has been great that we’ve still not missed a week of delivery, but we all know it’s not the same. Even though this has been a topsy-turvy time, this whole season of the pandemic has taught me many life lessons. It has also reignited a spark for cooking.

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you would have noticed that I’d gotten myself into a bit of a rut with food. I’d just plumb stopped liking to cook in general. I think I’d even started to resent my ability TO cook. It felt like that gift was all anyone ever wanted from me. I was saying yes to some caterings I didn’t want to do and just feeling pulled in different directions all having to deal with Me cooking and other people consuming…then COVID-19 came bursting onto the scene of our world. Our entire planet was tossed into disarray and we were all shuttered inside…I was forced to just be inside and focus on me.

The early months of quarantine consisted of a diet of mostly fast food after work. I was gripped with fear of people most of the time and didn’t feel like being creative or cooking fun things. I ate for a convenient survival. After a few months, a switch clicked and I started having the spirit and energy to create again. I fell in love with the slow process of making a really good cup of coffee and then making elaborate dinners for myself. No longer did I carry the burden of hosting and catering. I was Little Toni, tapping back into her childhood curiosity, creating with her Easy Bake Oven. I fell back in love with my creative mind. I also began to become very introspective on why food and cooking had become such a source of my anxiety. I’d allowed myself to get overwhelmed, now I was just making things for the fun of it.

A trip to Trader Joe’s was the catalyst to my renewed love. If you know me, you know I LOVE Trader Joe’s. Being in there just makes me happy. I did some research into why, and it was fascinating to learn just how intentional the leadership of the company is with customer experience. On this particular day, I hadn’t been shopping for fun food in months and went on a whim. I started dreaming of dinner ideas as soon as I hit the produce section. I found blueberries and thought of Lamb Chops with a Berry Compote. Then I saw Shishito peppers and thought of pickling them to go with Lemon Pepper Chicken. I picked up all kinds of bips and bops. I spent more than I wanted to on specialty items, but my desire to create made up for it. I was Back!

Since that trip in April, cooking regularly is just my way of life. I like it, but it’s also not required of me. I still order take out, but tend to reserve most of the time after work to cooking something. I also make really fancy adult lunchables when I don’t want to heat up the house in the summer. I’m keeping my brain going for when we do go back to cooking full-time. I just Feel different about everything. I actually am getting back to liking to cook for other people again. I would rather this pandemic end swiftly, but in the meantime….I’m back to my passion roots, back to just making food for the heck of it.