Axel Koester / The New York Times

March 17, 2020

Somewhat Sober | Comfort in Food during Uneasy Times

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This article was originally supposed to be about how quesadillas are the perfect late-night, post-drinking snack. But, given the global health crisis, it’s really not the most important thing to be writing about, is it?

First, I really hope everyone is taking this crisis seriously and is practicing social distancing. Please do not congregate in large crowds and avoid being in public places — such as restaurants, bars or cafés — as much as possible! Taking this seriously is very important to limit the exposure of those who are at the most risk. Especially with many of us traveling, social distancing is vital to limiting the spread of this disease. If we look back on this and think “wow we overreacted,” then we definitely did it the right way. So, please take this seriously!

That leaves many of us at home, far from some of the people that we care deeply about. In these stressful and anxious times, I’m reminded of the massive comfort that food can bring us all. Food brings us psychological comfort since it’s such an essential part of our lives. We all have tender memories of special dishes and meals. My recommendation is to recreate that meal and relive those fond memories.

At the end of the day, cooking itself can help take our mind off this crazy situation and help us relax a little bit. So, make the time-intensive recipe you promised yourself you would try. Cook with the people that are in isolation with you. For the last two days, my roommates and I have made meals together to fill the time, and it’s helped calm our nerves so much. If you are completely alone, schedule a Skype date with a close friend or family member. Make the same dish and eat it together! I truly believe that food has the power to help us stay sane in these strange times.

The most important take-away of all this is that we need to take the time to check in with each other. Most of us will not directly face the consequences of this pandemic. But, it will be incredibly difficult for many of us. So, check in with your friends and neighbors and lend a helping hand whenever and however you can. Humanity has always gotten through  difficult times by the collective strength of peoples’ characters, those willing to share the burdens of stress. As long as we continue to support each other, we will get through it. This too shall pass.

 

Murali Saravanan is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at mms396@cornell.edu