What Covid shelter in place order has meant to me
I remember the very first days of Arizona's shelter in place executive order from the governor. It was a surreal site to look at empty parking lots at the mall, restaurants with 'closed' signs hung from their doors, and a bit of panic with respect to the unknown. But as Shirley and I settled into life without social gatherings, happy hours or a glass of wine with friends, we recognized that 'this to shall pass'. We weren't sure when, or what it would look like post event, but we knew that both of us could do anything for a brief period of time.
After taking my leave of absence from IBM (thank you Big Blue!) last September my days had been jammed with school, homework and secondary cooking classes. The middle of March the school ended, and with the onset of COVID shelter in place order I found myself wondering what I would do with the time. My additional cooking classes were canceled, how was I ever going to master the delicate technique of a Bearnaise sauce? I never imagined I would be standing in front of Safeway on a weekday morning at 6am in a line waiting for the doors to open on the off chance I would score a package of toilet paper! Or going to the grocery store to pick up my favorite Jasmine rice only to see the entire rice, bean and pasta aisle decimated and empty!
From butterflying a pork loin, to developing a new grilling marinade, I set to work cooking lunch and dinner. My lovely wife was so encouraging and supportive, not to mention head bottle-washer and clean up crew! We would sit at our bistro or outside on our patio with the plated meal and begin the critique. How was the presentation? Were the portion sizes correct? How many colors were on the plate? What was the aroma like? I was my own food critic. Not everything was a success, we rated the meals on a scale of 1-5. My wife's favorite saying was 'this is a keeper'!
As the restrictions started to lift and our time here in AZ is winding down before heading north to Idaho for the summer I reflected back on what this time has meant to me. You can always find the silver lining in things and make the best of a negative situation. Never be afraid to try something new. I learned new techniques that I can hopefully apply this summer in Idaho while working at Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch. I discovered the true meaning of living with someone 24x7, and at the same time develop newfound respect and admiration for my partner. I found myself becoming less dependent on the crazy news cycles, and found myself watching reruns of Emeril LIve or Milk Street. I had time to reflect on my experiences in the kitchen from all the years past and recognize those things that had a profound influence on myself and my family. Thank you Emeril for introducing me way back then to the kitchen and the art of eating with your eyes!
And yes, we did find that package of toliet paper, now if I could just score a decent pork tenderloin for dinner tonight!