A Loveletter to all that I care during the Covid19 outbreak, or so they surged
The second month in quarantine from San Jose. How are you doing? The Planet Lockdown has put two things in shortage — fresh produce, and human contact. This puts us in the two corresponding challenges — how do I swallow the frozen veggies cooked by myself everyday, and is the person I miss missing me too?
Yes, they do. Our emotions are stripped to the bare core now that we send supplies and messages to those who we really care about. When it was bad in China, my friends and I bought masks somewhere there online and sent them to our parents and grandparents. Today my mom and her friends are Fedexing masks to us.
Know that dealing with yourself, the void in the room is much easier than dealing with the other person in the room who you happen to dislike in a lockdown with No Exit.
So, let’s see how we can deal with the lesser ones of the issues.
Fresh produce. We mostly don’t have fresh produce but the closest thing we have is frozen veggies and fruits. The fast frozen locked in the nutrition. They last. They are economical. They fit the situation.
Veggies, fruits, and love, three things known to boost immune and mood, like sunshine in the east coast – fictional fairyland existence to busy city hustlers. We don’t lower our bar for anything ingenuine even in a time like this. No bottled vitamin supplements or Vitamin D milk as antidepressants.
An inch a day, a mile south tomorrow. With that much of an open mind, we will be licking milk from the floor at the year-end.
By the way, this is a long ride. The virus mutation waves and the social-economical impact of it shoot up to December. I’m planting two types of potatoes and butter lettuces in the backyard.
The Labour Department reported on Thursday that 10 million people filed for unemployment insurance over the past two weeks, an 8.5 million increase from what you’d call a healthy situation. And more are falling.
Santa Clara is pretty high on the Covid19 most infected area list. Saw that coming, I told friends around me one month before the shelter-in-place order to store up. Buy frozen veggies and fruits. They last, and they are unemployed-friendly. Or very carefully supply your provision with mask and gloves on is ok, only if you are 6 feet apart from other Kamikazes. Soap the packages, hot water the fruits, cook the veggies, or just leave them alone for two weeks.
So that is pretty cool. I removed the ice maker from our fridge, emptied the Baroque ceiling to cramp in frozen greens for two months. End time mode on. Been preparing this over the course of a month like a Squirrel when Santa Clara is dead silent in sleep. Because news is always late to the events formulating underneath; it’s a Beethoven’s shocking accent in a Schubert’s Serenade. An aftershock. Ain’t serene anymore!
Why Paella? A friend cooked that for us in a home banquet once. He roasted Spanish short rice, salmon, chicken sausages in a pan. Dinner was served with red and white wine and salad. Business starting, blueprint forming, bank accounts are afloat, enough budget for time and finance to go wrong in trials, at that time.
Paella is loved by Europeans, Middle Easterns, and Asians across the continent. We love FISH and RICE~! FISH and RICE~~! it’s a melting pot of seafood and sunshine, perfect healer of the situation we are in. It’s easy to cook and hard to get bored with. Just swap the ingredients when you do.
Here I present, an easy and lavish, restyled, Spanish paella, cooked in one pan. I hold many of my friends at heart for these special days, who’ve been surfing life with food deliveries and restaurants. I don’t know how they are pulling through this. So I’m writing this as dumb-proof as possible. Here is what we use for this Mediterranean love signature.
- Forbidden rice from Amazon, because that’s the only organic rice left online after Amazon Wholefoods and Fresh delivery slots went grey.
- Peas, frozen, good with rice.
- Salmon, frozen.
- Sausage, freeze it.
- Colorful peppers, frozen.
- Carrot sticks.
- Brussel sprouts. (easily swappable)
- Pink Himalayan salt (tastes better).
- Whole black peppers.
- A porcelain art you created (optional) This is Artisan paella by artists.
- Organic, everything organic.
Usually, chefs pan-fry fish first to solidify the shape, then follow with a stew. Not today, not in a lockdown, if I have to do this every day for two months and also tend to my wellbeing. (It’s a lockdown, not a breakdown.) I will not pan fry the fish and cook the rice in a separate rice cooker.
So here we go, rinse and clean the rice. Rub, rinse, polishing, whatever. Drain the water. Pour in new filtered water to three times higher than the rice level. Purple rice is hard to cook. Set in low heat, so you don’t need to touch it again before it burnt to the ground. Then go write.
Thirty minutes later, wake up from a writing flow, or block. Good, the rice is not burnt to carbon. Now the water has vapored much, the rice is flapping in the moist like stranded fish, you pour in the oil. Three stroke.
Oh hastily chop up the fish, sausage and carrots. Did you wash them? and the black peppers? ok dump them in. Stir the pot.
Forgot the salt! a pinch.
When the fish turns paler, add in soy sauce. I only have soy sauce for sauce now. Stir.
Make sure they don’t dry up and bbq. Throw in peas, sprouts, peppers, things that are easy to cook through. Heat kills the virus and we don’t eat anything raw without applying some sort of heat to it now.
Sample, cool it and taste. Low in salt, another pinch. Stir.
Done. Confession time: I think what Paella really needs is shrimp. We can style it exotically but it essentially needs shrimp.
So, paella is the cure to a bored palate. What is the cure to emotional isolation? Creation.
I thought of this a year ago, two things that give your life an anchor or meaning — Create or Procreate. So Art, or Love. They both are love and creation.
You’d be warmed knowing that the person you are missing is missing you too.
Stay productive. Love you all.
— A Writer in the Bay