April 4, 2020 Leave your thoughts
Are you hole’d up at home right now? If you’re a conscientious human (who has the privilege to socially-distance), there’s a pretty good chance you are, in fact, slowly losing your mind in your house, apartment, or boat with 40 of your closest friends from the animal kingdom. Have you watched all of Tiger King in less than 24 hours yet? Baked a “rustic” banana bread? Explained Zoom to a well-meaning Boomer? If so, cool, glad we’re all on the same page.
I don’t want to talk about how horrible this global pandemic is, because that’s all everyone is talking about and I’m a #hipster who is #notlikeothergirls. Bottom line: this sucks, unless you are some white ulta-billionaire living in a gigantic house with a built-in movie theater and Olympic-sized pool. So it sucks for most of us. Especially for marginalized communities, older folks, and those who work in healthcare. And let’s not forget the people whose homes are unsafe, or those who don’t have a home at all. It’s a dumpster fire out there.
Rather than ramble about how terrifying things are or incompetent our government is in the face of crisis (I’m looking at you, “President” Cheeto), I want to do my best to impart some kindness and good feelings to those reading this post, because that’s what we need right now, not more headlines and press briefings.
I think it’s important to remember that we are being asked to be productive, adaptable, high-functioning individuals in the midst of collective trauma. And the thing about trauma is…it’s destabilizing and debilitating! Our day-to-day lives have changed essentially overnight, and everyone has something to worry about, from protecting an elderly family member to paying rent when you’ve been laid-off or furloughed. It is okay to not be okay right now. You don’t have to work on your “summer bod,” or write a book, or start a podcast with your cat: getting through each day is enough. Please have some compassion for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not being as efficient, present, or spritely as you are normally: these are not normal circumstances! All we can ask of ourselves is to show up every day and do our best, and sometimes, our best is getting out of bed and moving to the couch. That’s enough.
Now, that being said, here are some suggestions that have helped me, a neurotic individual with crippling anxiety, get through the past few weeks.
- Limit your media exposure. As much as I love my New York Times app, constantly reading, watching, or listening to the news will only make you more stressed out about a situation you have very little control over. Once a day, take a look and see what’s up in the world; the rest of the time, watch old seasons of Love Island on Hulu or scroll through cute puppy pictures on Instagram.
- Move your body. If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, go for a walk outside. There are approximately three billion online yoga classes right now, many of which are free or donation-based. If money is tight, turn up your five favorite songs and DANCE! This is not for the goal of fitness: I guarantee that you’ll feel better if you get up and do something semi-active for even five minutes a day.
- Cultivate a routine. I love structure. (Maybe it’s all of the Taurus in my natal chart.) It might be fun to space out all day and eat peanut butter with a spoon, but soon, you’re going to feel pretty unsettled. You don’t need to schedule every hour, but try and find a routine that you follow at least Monday-Friday. For me, I get up and do a yoga class with my dad, then take a shower, put on clothes that aren’t pajamas or sweatpants, and get to work. Around 5:30 or 6:00, my family takes a walk together before we have dinner. I try to read for a half an hour or so before I go to bed. It’s not super exciting and I miss my spontaneous trips to The Strand, but it’s consistent, and it works.
- Distract yourself. Stewing over how miserable everything is isn’t going to help you. To stop your mind from spinning, you need something to redirect it.
- Start a new show: may I recommend Parks and Rec, Gilmore Girls, Queer Eye, Big Mouth, Mad Men, or The Great British Baking Show? No? Watch a movie. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and will 10,000% pull at your heartstrings. Eighth Grade is relatable and excellent if you haven’t seen it. Waves was also exceptional, even though the guy I took to see it with me constantly checked football scores during the movie!!! (Needless to say I never saw him again after that.)
- Read a book: how about A Scheme of Heaven by Alexander Boxer (history of astrology!), Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (plants! and indigenous traditions around them!), or Wordslut by Amanda Montell (an intersectional feminist take on linguistics!)? Sorry, I’m a nerd and read a lot of non-fiction. My mom has written several cozy mysteries if that’s more your jam!
- Listen to a podcast (I love Just Break Up by Sierra DeMulder and Sam Blackwell) or some music. I’m currently very obsessed with Dua Lipa’s new album, Future Nostalgia, and Phoebe Bridgers’s new single, “Garden Song.” Or how about Brol La Suite by Angèle? When in doubt, Lizzo. Always Lizzo.
- Do a puzzle.
- FaceTime a friend and talk about your middle school crushes.
- Paint your nails.
- Write down a list of ways to dismantle the patriarchy.
- Sign up for a COOKING CLASS!!!!!!!
Which leads me to my big announcement: starting on Saturday, April 18th, I will be teaching LIVE baking classes every Saturday afternoon through Allergic to Salad, the awesome organization where I’m program officer! The first session from 2:30-3:30 P.M. will be for teens, the second from 4:00-5:00 P.M. for adults. It’s $20 for a drop-in or $150 (25% off!) if you register for all ten weeks. If you or your teen is keen to take the class but can’t afford it right now, drop me a message at email@example.com. We’ll be making everything from homemade sourdough starter to cinnamon rolls from scratch, and along the way, I’ll be sharing tidbits of food history, tips for substituting ingredients, groan-worthy bread puns, and more!
For the rest of our online programming, please see our calendar. This page will be updated frequently, so check back often for new classes!
A little about Allergic to Salad: we’re a youth culinary program that brings cooking to over 150 classes a week across New York City. We teach a fully vegetarian curriculum and make everything we can from scratch, from sweet potato pierogies to veggie tacos with homemade tortillas. During class, we talk about food science and history, all while building important life skills like food safety and correctly handling knives. We cover all ages, from toddlers to adults, and the vast majority of our students participate for free.
I oversee about 50 educators, most of whom are women (#whoruntheworld), all of whom are some of the most kind, creative, intelligent human beings I know. Our small admin team of four (myself included) have been working around the clock to transition our programming to an online platform (keeping in mind that we are education and humanities folks, not computer scientists). By participating in our classes, you’ll not only walk away with a delicious meal and some new culinary chops, but also help to continue making cooking classes accessible and affordable to thousands of public school students, not to mention supporting an incredible team of educators, artists, parents, and healers.
So, here’s a sneak preview of what you’ll get if you sign up to bake with me. (Sorry, no cannabis involved.) Want to know how to make it in real time? Well, you’ll have to join my baking class to find out!
Is your favorite deli closed down? No need to fear, homemade bagels are here! Don’t be intimidated: this recipe is fun, doesn’t require complicated ingredients, and tastes amazing. Sign up for my cooking class to learn more!
Total Time 2 hr
Yield 8 bagels
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry-active yeast
4 cups all-purpose or bread flour (use AP for a light, fluffy bagel, and bread flour for a denser, chewier version)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup everything seasoning (or use a combination of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion flakes, etc.)
1 egg, beaten, or 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 quarts water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Let stand until the yeast are bubbly and frothy, about 10-15 minutes. If the mixture looks the same as before, your yeast may be dead! In this case, take a fresh packet and start over.
Combine the flour, salt, vegetable oil, and yeast mixture in a large bowl. With a wooden spoon, spatula, or your hands, mix together until a sticky ball begins to form.
Lightly dust your work surface with a little more flour. Dump the dough ball and knead until smooth and barely sticky to the touch, about ten minutes — or three songs on Spotify. (I suggest Truth Hurts by Lizzo, Gone by Charli XCX, and Overnight by Maggie Rogers.) You can also do this with a dough hook in the bowl of a stand mixer, but it’s a lot more fun to do it by hand.
Clean out your big bowl and lightly grease it with a little more vegetable oil. Return the dough ball and cover it with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Let proof until doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes, depending on your climate. (My dough practically tripled in size in my parents’ Florida kitchen!)
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Cut it into eight equal pieces — you can use a scale, but you should be fine as long as all eight dough balls are roughly the same size. One at a time, take a ball and knead it a bit to form a sphere. Using your thumb, punch a hole right through the center. Using your pointer and middle fingers, stretch the hole out until your dough ball resembles a typical bagel shape. Make sure that hole isn’t too small — your dough will keep expanding, meaning it might close up!
Place the newly-formed bagel on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Cover the baking sheet with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let stand for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the 2 quarts of water to a boil with the baking soda and brown sugar. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a wire rack next to your stove.
Once the water is boiling, add the bagels, one at a time, cooking each for 1 minute total, turning halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bagel from the solution and repeat with the remaining bagels.
Transfer the boiled bagels to the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each with egg wash or coconut oil, if you’d like to keep it vegan.
Pour the everything seasoning into a shallow bowl or onto a plate. One at a time, dip the top of the bagel in the seasoning, being sure to tilt it so the sides are covered. Return it to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining bagels.
Bake the bagels until golden brown and crisp, about 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool before eating with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and your favorite veggies! Bagels will be good for three days, or cut in half and freeze for up to 3 months.
Be safe and well, everyone. We’re going to make it through — together.
All my love,