By Isabel Lerma
Reminiscent of pre-pandemic days, back when I was still attending physical classes on Taft Avenue, I remember blasting a rotation of three playlists to get me going every morning. Waking up at 6 a.m. was, and still is, quite a difficult task. My only saving grace, the perfect opportunity to break the silence encumbering my bedroom the last few hours, was by always, and I mean always, kicking off the soundtrip with D’Angelo’s “Cruisin’.” Somehow, this kind of music always made me fantasize about being in the kitchen, an apron tied around my waist, cooking breakfast as the morning sun poured so generously through my windows. If in the evening, I would envision the city lights glistening outside. It was a perfect scene in my mind, but the only problem was that it wasn’t me.
I never had time to cook back then. Being an avid sleeper, I never even had time to eat breakfast. I strategically planned out the number of hours I could spend in slumber by eliminating morning activities I deemed “unnecessary” to me. Moreover, the possibilities of cooking dinner were even slimmer, because of the fact that I was simply almost never home early enough to do so. Kitchen activity seemed more and more like something so out of reach, as silly as that may sound.
Around a year may have passed since getting into the groove of this routine then, lo and behold, the pandemic hits. Who would have thought that it would take a global phenomenon to get me to learn how to operate a stove? (Disclaimer: I tried using one in my early teenage years and it combusted, leaving me traumatized. It’s not something to be proud of.)
Kicking off the soundtrip with D’Angelo’s ‘Cruisin’,’ always made me fantasize about being in the kitchen, an apron tied around my waist, cooking breakfast as the morning sun poured so generously through my windows.
I can vividly recall the very last day before lockdown was implemented across the whole metro. Almost somewhat clairvoyant and foretelling, as if I had known I would be having so much more time on my hands from then onward, I sucked up my deep-rooted fear of the burner and cooked.
I made some Hungarian sausage pasta, a pretty safe and beginner-friendly dish, to add to dinner for me and my family. They enjoyed it. The outcome was nothing close to the way my mom does it, but it was good enough. Needless to say, it went well. Let’s just not include the fact that I was so immersed in not only doing the task but also listening to my handpicked selection of neo soul music, that I did not hear the doorbell nor my sister knocking outside the front door to let her in. Well, at least I cooked her a pretty nice meal, right?
Since then, I have gotten more acquainted with kitchen equipment and cooking strategies. I have found a newfound love for the hobby, though I am not at all claiming that I’m good at it. I am just happy I finally can do it. I guess these things are the little silver linings to having to go through these difficult times. Perhaps these are the things that allow us to stay sane through all of the chaos.