Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard lots about COVID-19 this past week. I had scheduled a vacation with my boyfriend to go to Table Rock Lake (pictured above), so we left town on Tuesday for a little jaunt into the country. Little did we know that in the span of a day, our primary employer, Washington University in St. Louis, would decide to send all undergrads home for the semester and cancel large events.
As we played shuffleboard and mini golf and watched the sun set over the lake, we discussed the pandemic and how it was playing out across the world. The topic of conversation kept shifting back to coronavirus, because honestly, how could it not? The outbreak seemed to ramp up overnight. I felt no small amount of anxiety returning to St. Louis, where the first case was recently reported and sadly, family members of the person with the virus decided to go out into the world and run errands and get their nails done despite a quarantine order.
It goes without saying that these are complicated times. Everyone has to make difficult decisions. Restaurants and coffee shops are grappling with how to best serve customers, facilities for the sick and elderly are trying to deliver the best care to vulnerable populations, and healthy people are figuring out what measures they need to take to stay that way.
I, for one, decided to adopt social distancing. For me, this means that I won’t see anyone in my family who is vulnerable to the virus, and I will go to as few crowded public places as possible. The gym is out, as is yoga or going to the grocery store during peak hours.
I thought this would be difficult for me, but honestly, it has been kind of liberating. I woke up yesterday, went to the stores early to beat the rush, stocked up on some food and toiletries, and then spent the rest of the day reading, watching movies, cooking, and doing exercise videos in my living room. It kind of felt like an extension of the vacation I was just on, except without the beautiful scenery and springlike weather.
I’m sure I’ll get sick of it soon and start craving human interaction. But as one of my friends recently posted on Facebook, there are lots of ways to stay connected during uncertain times. We can FaceTime, text, Skype, and plan activities that we can do together from a distance like watching movies or cooking. The silver lining to all this is, we live in very connected times, so there are multiple ways of staying in touch.
My friend in DC tweeted the other day about COVID-19 and I retweeted him because I agree. He said, “it’s okay to be anxious. it’s okay to purchase groceries. it’s okay to not know what tomorrow will bring. it’s also okay to be perfectly calm. really weird for people to be shaming others considering the scale and novelty of the situation. let people process the way they want to.”
In the midst of the worst public health crisis in recent memory, we should remember that judging others only worsens the problem. People have a right to react the way they want and cope with the situation as they see fit. Of course, this doesn’t mean going out and coughing in someone’s face if you’re sick. But staying calm is just as reasonable as feeling anxious. I think it’s important to feel the way you feel, and to let others do the same.
I tried to highlight some lighthearted stories this week along with ones that focus on COVID-19. We should be informed, but we should also find humor and lightheartedness in these trying times. Without further ado, here is Dimanche:
I read this article about bread baking a couple weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it. Many bakers in the U.S. are creating “the approachable loaf,” or sliced bread made out of mostly whole wheat that’s familiar and affordable enough for mass audiences. The movement comes as bakers are trying to make more healthful loaves that appeal to younger generations. I, for one, wish this had existed when I was little. Read more in the New York Times.
Imagine having your ex-boyfriend date Lady Gaga. I loved reading this editorial from a woman who is dealing with that exact situation. Read the full op-ed in the NYT.
In a typical French move, “La Peste,” or “The Plague,” one of Albert Camus’ most famous novels, is selling really well in the country with the advent of COVID-19. Go figure. Learn more about it in this BFM TV article.
Are you at home practicing social distancing? You should probably try one (or all) of these Indian food recipes. Food writer Tejal Rao created a list of ten recipes and I can’t wait to try the aloo masala and roti. Get the recipes in the NYT.
This article about stress baking in the time of COVID-19 is spot on. I stress bake throughout the year, but it’s particularly comforting when something really bad is happening. It distracts me from my misery, anxiety, etc. Check out this Eater story for more on “quarantine baking,” which is definitely a thing.
Speaking of cooking during a crisis… I’ve made two excellent recipes this weekend that I’ll post on the blog soon. One is Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for greens, meatball, and orzo soup, and the other is for the best waffles I’ve ever made in my life. Stay tuned for the recipes this week.
I discovered a great roadside attraction on the way back from Table Rock Lake. If you’re driving down Route 66 past Cuba, MO, I’d highly recommend stopping at Bob’s Gasoline Alley. It’s basically a collection of old gas station signs and paraphernalia. It’s super creepy but in the best possible way. Here’s one pic to give you an idea. Learn more here.
I can’t stop thinking about this very well-written article about COVID-19. Not sure I’m a fan of the title (“You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus), but the article is well-researched and informative. It details some of the efforts to develop a vaccine and how the crisis is playing out across the world. Read more in The Atlantic.
Don’t forget that a great resource during the COVID-19 pandemic is the CDC. Do I trust the government? No. Do I think that the CDC has the most up-to-date information and instructions during a pandemic? Yes. Read more on their website.
Last but certainly not least, this article about a 103-year-old woman making pie in Virginia is the story we all need right now. Mary Fannie Woodruff and her daughters are making pie in a sandwich shop and pie cafe that was once a gas station and convenience store run by Woodruff and her late husband. I hope I can be like Mary Fannie one day. Read more in The Washington Post.
Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.