I have to share this piece of writing with you. It’s a Reddit post about how a foreign resident in China is dealing with food and cooking during the lockdown because of the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.
National Public Radio (US) has an article on how the lockdown is affecting the lives of Chinese residents. NPR reports that families in Wenzhou (a coastal city in China) have been told to stay indoors, and only send one person out every two days to pick up groceries.
The Reddit post does so much in a relatively small space. Redditor u/mthmchris explains how he and his partner are restricted to the apartment, and how the constraints in finding ingredients and the luxury of time have contributed to better cooking. There’s a brief reverie about the degeneracy of modern cooking, that he attributes to perhaps lack of time, especially now that he’s been living through a period of deprivation (although, not starvation) for the past few weeks. And then there are the dishes he’s made.
I suppose I’ve always been morbidly curious about “Robinson Crusoe” scenarios. So, it teases my imagination – what would I do if we were locked down on our farm with a COVID-19 outbreak in town? The post moves my sympathy for people who really are in the situation, it educated me, and taught me new things about the human experience. These are the things I would love to see my fiction writing do for people.
And in addition, I was inspired to try the fried steamed bun trick. I happened to have some ridiculously past-sell-by-date steamed buns in my fridge (three pork buns and two pizza buns). I sliced one into six slices (we have six people around the breakfast table, two who are semi-vegetarians, so feeding them the heels with almost no meat really worked out). I dredged them in a large egg, and fried them in a combo of olive oil and sesame oil. They were so delicious hot! I wish I’d thought to put some oyster sauce on them. (My husband came in late, when the last remaining slice was cold, so he just ate the other two pork buns zapped in the microwave.)
For lunch, I’ll have the pizza buns fried with a drizzle of packaged Neapolitan spaghetti sauce (and that means pizza toast for lunch tomorrow!).
I doubt my stories are going to feed hungry people in countries around the world, but maybe I can do a little bit to bring some pleasure into other people’s lives. Maybe even some foreign resident in China, feeling a little homesick and weary, will read one of my shorts, and feel a bit better about life. Wouldn’t that be a nice full circle?
And since I’m spouting clichés (since I can’t really spout anything meaningful in the face of something like the coronavirus outbreak), every dark and terrible cloud can have a silver lining; every foul and nasty breeze can blow some good. I hope the whole thing is contained quickly.
(Link from caption: https://virus.stanford.edu/uda/.)