Before covid-19 hit the brakes hard globally on health and our social lives, the last social meal I had with several people was the last day in February. At lunch, I hung out over sizzling stone bowls of bimbap with egg, at a popular Korean restaurant with 3 other employees from another department.
In fact, our conversation did light upon briefly on Wuhan, China, the first epi-centre struck hard by the virus. I shared with them, about another employee in my department, who was stuck in Wuhan with her parents for 3 weeks in her annual visit. Then she was one of the lucky Canadians on the first airlift back to Canada.
No Meals Beyond Virus-Free Social Bubble
Since then, my only other shared meals, have been with Jack who was part of my virus-free bubble. Still, meals together are special as ever in our carefully planned bike rides to Granville Market, favourite local patisseries for take-out gourmet cake slices and grocery stores.
Since late February, I haven’t had any other social meals outside of the people mentioned above, except for one friend. Pretty boring and dry.
Nor have I, like many others, been allowed to sit alone in any restaurant with people milling around. With restaurants and cafes gradually opening up next week in our city for up to 50% seating occupancy, it will still be eating with the slight shadow axe of coronavirus threat unseen.
While some of us, finally clued in for some family members, preparation or an offer of food, is an expression of love, other people have gone extreme gangbusters to do more home cooking and baking for themselves and family, while shut in at home.
Cooking, Meal-Sharing as Therapy and Just Good Living
That’s great to discover therapeutic cooking buzz and eating together. However, that hasn’t been a new discovery for anyone in my family nor myself. I’ve always found cooking a simple, good meal satisfying, in a somewhat mindless way — far from brain cobwebs of work or study.
While some families go on vacation and do stuff together for memories, for myself, it’s still pretty straightforward: my happiest memories are eating with family members and good friends, either altogether or with each individually.
Even for trips faraway from home, at some point I remember the architecture, unusual vegetation, vistas …and food. Tasting local specialities shared usually with Jack or another good travel companion.
For all the craze in the 21st century for the photo shooting frenzy over food dishes indulged by alot of people, including myself, now those photo moments are not just about food, but about us, social creatures bonding over food meant to be enjoyed and as a backdrop as we chat to release, learn and share experiences of just being human together.