We often underestimate time. How many times have we jolted out of our beds blitzing for that date? How many times have we overdone our daily checklist thinking the clock would be more understanding? That was before. Being quarantined changed all that. Suddenly, we are served with a deep bowl of hours and a large collection of minute cutlery that’s left for us to figure out what to do with. We’ve all been trying to find ways to cope. As for me, I found the joy of quarantine cooking to be my utmost restoration.
Rediscovering the vigor of wet markets
A ten-minute walk from my place is arguably the best wet market in the entire metropolis. Despite the glory of being a stone’s throw away from it, I end up in grocery stores after work, scouring through wilted herbs, overpriced vegetables, and whatever’s left in the protein section.
Nevertheless, I felt a smile growing wider and wider on my face the first time I went back to the wet market and after being in line for nearly two hours. Butchers hacking away with gunk on their aprons. Piled fish proudly displayed with bulging eyes. As well as the endless sea of vibrant green of the vegetable section. At this time, it was the loudest and liveliest I’ve experienced after weeks of silence.
I endured two days of sore shoulders and back pains after carrying pounds of products but I kept coming back.
Channeling nervous energy
Being an obsessive person, it’s natural for my mind to drift off fast and long. I worry about how my work would be after all this if there’s even anything left to go back to, wondering about when I can hear the slap of ocean waves and feel the soft sand underneath my feet. Also, I think about the future of my country. It’s a daily battle, and being in the kitchen makes me feel that my Kiritsuke knife and spices are my weapons to win it.
I try not to obsess about perfecting my chopping skills or if I’m able to remove all the bubbles to make a flawless steamed egg. Instead, I let myself get lost and along the way, maybe unlock a few nifty tricks.
For instance, instant ramen made better with some soybean paste and boiling your water with a bit of milk. You can also improve your one-pot pasta by letting your aromatics and vegetables cook in oil for a few minutes before pouring in the water and pasta. In addition, toasted nori as garnish deserves more attention. Finally, Befriend your peanut butter better. It can certainly take your broths and sauces to higher places.
Taking care of yourself
Even if the world is crumbling and every day feels like psychological warfare. It isn’t easy to get out of bed but every chance you get, may you find the strength to turn on your stove and whip something up for yourself. Fuck fancy. Screw expensive. Undoubtedly, you can nourish your way into a brighter mood with a few and affordable ingredients, .
We may not always know what day it is but knowing what to cook may just be our first step in finding genuine joy again.
Mona Mansfield is one of the main contributors of raw and unfiltered thoughts here at Filter No Filter. She also specializes in SEO and social media marketing.