Solo Celebration

Thanksgiving, a time of abundance, celebration, and above all else, togetherness, looks considerably different this year. Global pandemics really put a damper on group festivities, traveling, and essentially all the annual rituals we tend to associate with the holiday. The writing has been on the walls for months, but it’s only just starting to hit home now. No endless buffets of home cooked excess, no tight, endless hugs with mom or dad, no laughing over a dwindling fire about our embarrassing childhood stories. Instead, I’ll walk in the door to an echoing, empty home. A vacant dinner table. A cold kitchen.

Although I’m alone physically, I know my situation isn’t special. Everyone’s in the same emotional boat, flailing about, rowing frantically just to avoid capsizing. It’s hard, it’s awful, but it would be so much worse to get sick, or make someone else sick. Fighting the very human nature that calls us together as a community goes against everything instilled in us since birth. This Thanksgiving will be a test of endurance, though it doesn’t have to mean days, or weeks, of self-imposed suffering.

Let’s do this thing together, separately. What does that look like in practice? For me, it means paring down the bountiful feast to just the essentials. At bare minimum, it’s simply not Thanksgiving without:

Don’t go crazy. Don’t make enough for an army. Don’t even turn on the oven if it’s too much. You can easily fill out this menu with delivery or prepared dishes from the grocery store, at a fraction of the cost of the typical, enormous spread.

That’s all it takes. More importantly, don’t forget to invite everyone you know and love! No, don’t actually have them over, but get them on the line with Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook, WHATEVER. Throw their faces up on the big screen TV if you’ve got it, put the monitor right on the table with you, and pull up a chair.

It’s hard to be thankful when so many obstacles have been thrown in our path this year. Not a single person on this planet has gotten off easy. No one can claim to be unaffected. There’s still so much in life to be grateful for, and I know I’m going to make the most of it, no matter what. There’s nothing stopping me from enjoying the traditional foods I love for the holidays, or enjoying time spent with the people I cherish. Cheers, to brighter days ahead; let’s eat!

Quarantine Kitchen

Now more than ever, as the very earth seems to shift beneath our feet, we’re finding comfort and solace in simple pleasures. Drawn back into the kitchen, the heart of the home, even those who once claimed to despise the domesticity of cooking are deftly, urgently tying on their aprons. Exactly what is everyone cooking, though? What is it that speaks most to the soul in times of crisis, that nourishes physically and emotionally?

Google would like to weigh in.

Below is a list of the top ten most searched recipes on Google since quarantine conditions began around mid-March, followed by my personal suggestions for corresponding dishes found right here on little old BitterSweet.

What are you craving most?

Top 10 Recipe Searches During Coronavirus Quaratine

Stuck at home with scant entertainment and unsatisfying work, there's no better way to spend your time than a warm kitchen. Here are the most popular recipes cooks are making across the country right now, separated by physical distance but together in spirit.